Soc112-X221- Killing Us Softly Essay

Submitted By JHASS0610
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Justine Slater Professor Greene
November 4, 2012 Soc – 112-X221

Killing Us Softly

The lecture “Killing us Softly” gave focuses on how women are portrayed in advertising and our role in society. Her delivery was filled with warm remarks and quick wit. Everything she stated generally came across as very likable to the audience. However her viewpoint is a very specific one, and I think there are other ways to look at the issue. During the speech I found key quotes that I will elaborate and give my interpretation to.

Ms. Kilbourne clearly states in the being of her presentation, “The first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty, so we all learn how important it is for a woman to be beautiful, and exactly what it takes.” Kilbourne says this sarcastically: what she’s really doing here is objecting to the use of ‘ideal female beauty’ and that it is important for a woman to be beautiful as advertisers suggest. By using women with these “ideal” figures exploiting their bodies, centering attention to specific areas to sell merchandise. Though Ms. Kilbourne made solid points; how does she know that advertisers meant to play the ‘ideal’ women card? Her motive being clear makes me wonder. I was taught that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My time working as a model I’ve learned that women in a whole are picked apart like meat at a factory. Judged by our frame, color, and texture of our hair, which cases a ton of despair amongst young women. True enough I suspect, that she should have given credit to some companies who used a variety, that the beauty of the women displayed are the eyes of a vast majority of beholders, and used by advertisers for that reason? After all, she describes them as possessing ‘ideal female beauty.’ What advertisers are doing, of course, is using models they feel will be attractive to most viewers; which is somewhat true but a tad bit shallow at times.

In other words, the question of which came first, the ‘ideal female beauty’ in my mind (including Kilbourne’s) or the advertising depicting it, is fairly easy to answer. We all have an innate idea of what is attractive about women in the first place, and advertisers merely use it to their advantage. Researchers know fairly precisely what this ‘ideal woman’ consists of, with measures of attractiveness including hip-to-waist ratio, symmetry, skin complexion, all of the above. It turns out that these things are mostly objective rather than subjective standards of beauty, and the closer one’s partner approaches perfection, the more attractive they will generally be found.

KILBOURNE: “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence towards that person.”
Kilbourn also stated in her lecture “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step towards justifying violence towards that person.” My first thought was what was she thinking when she actually made that comment. Throughout this video I was agreeing with her but at this statement changed my entire thought process. What I gathered here was that she was saying that women being objectified in general can and does lead to violence toward us. In actuality it seems to be true but as a whole statement and proving that’s why domestic cases happen, I’m not so sure. But is bringing any extra attention to those torso-shaped perfume bottles’ be wrong? Or any of the other products or art pieces which celebrate or depict the female form. I can totally agree to disagree with this. But…