Jean Kilbourne Summary

Words: 506
Pages: 3

Why is the harassment and exploitation of women continuously perpetuated and intensified in our society? Jean Kilbourne, an EdD and award-winning author, asserts that the submissive way that women are portrayed in advertising bolsters and preserves sexual stereotypes about women. Encouraging men to value power over passion and sexual intimacy over an emotional connection, advertising is moving society’s mindset about women backwards instead of allowing normalized stereotypes to dissipate. Through multifarious examples, she reveals how companies pointedly market their products to falsely lead men to believe that they can achieve their deepest desires if they only possessed the product being advertised. She advocates that as women are more frequently …show more content…
Foremost, she references a perfume ad in teen magazines which depicts a young girl with the words, “Apply generously on your neck so he can smell the scent as you shake your head ‘no.’” Why do companies believe this is an effective way of advertising? Kilbourne argues that in our society submitting to a dominant male is not only something that makes women feel attractive and desirable, but also encourages men to strive to be hostile and indifferent so they can illustrate their masculinity. Society regards this mindset as normal. This type of advertising, however, only perpetuates and justifies young men raping women and assuming they don’t really mean no. The same theme of domination is seen in an unsettling newspaper ad for a bar showcasing a cocktail and the caption, “If your date won’t listen to reason, try a Velvet Hammer.” Kilbourne argues that this emboldens men to manipulate and deceive women, in essence, raping them when they say no to their sexual advances. Because we often see so many of these types of advertisements, most people have grown numb to the horrifying fantasies and stereotypes these types of ads promulgate. Evidently, some of Kilbourne’s examples have been criticized as being cherry-picked and exaggerated, however, these two specific examples undeniably encourage the rape