Can we have a real discussion about women in advertising?

24Feb11

I remember reading Jean Kilbourne back in college… and shooting holes in her thesis back then. So I’m a little surprised that she’s still around and that people still believe her rants.

Jean tries to argue that today’s advertising is pushing women to try and be perfect – and that’s why they wear makeup, buy expensive beauty products and do crazy things to their body. Except she must have forgotten that back in Elizabethan times, women also wore tons of makeup and wigs, and did crazy things to their bodies with corsets. Was Photoshop to blame back then?

She also apparently thinks that something as simple as cropping a photo means advertisers are objectifying women in a way that leads to violence.

It’s all so over the top that it kills any real points that she might have – like the fact that advertisers have pushed the envelope to ridiculous levels in our quest for perfection. There are definitely problems with how advertising portrays both women and men, but most of what Ms. Kilbourne claims simply isn’t true. It’d be nice to have a real discussion about it without sinking to hyperbole.

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One Response to “Can we have a real discussion about women in advertising?”

  1. 1 Fonduzzi

    You may enjoy when Penn and Teller tackle the issue of pornography in their B.S. Series. They have a few talking heads who com form this woman’s camp.



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