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Jean Kilbourne's article and gender theory

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With regard to the article, "Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt", by Jean Kilbourne, I am wondering what her exact thesis is?

Also, I am looking for examples from advertising from one product (beer, perfume, cigarettes, cars, etc.) that would support an agreement of the thesis and what the negative effects of each ad might have on consumers or society.

How do the overall effects of such advertising affect Kilbourne's idea and the concept of sexism in the media?

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In the first place, you might remark how Jean Kilbourne's article, "Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt," seems to present a strong thesis about gender and power dynamics. For example, she argues how advertising and media images of women often promote such blatant issues of sexism, which further subjugate women socially, sexually, emotionally, educationally, spiritually, economically, etc.

You might also add how she further maintains how overall effects of such advertising actually perpetuate sexism in the media and also in life. She emphasizes how sex in advertising is all about power. She clarifies how that power overwhelmingly resides with males. She also argues that sex in advertising is quite pornographic and dangerous not only for women but also for men and overall society in general.

She further supports her article by deconstructing an advertisement that portrays men as violent and aggressive "bad boys." She also argues that popular culture and the media ...

Solution Summary

Jean Kilbourne's article is briefly responded to using reader response and gender theory.

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Ad and Ego video analyzing the effect of advertising on consumers.

We live in a consumer culture, saturated with mass media images. Much of our physical and informational space is for sale - billboards, TV, magazines, newspapers, even the area behind home plate - all of these spaces pitch products promising to improve our lives. We are all, sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously, affected by this advertising, often in very subtle ways.

The Ad and the Ego explores what critic Leslie Savan calls our "ad ad ad world." The film examines the power of modern advertising. It goes beyond an analysis of individual ads to ask how living in an advertising-saturated environment influences the way we see the world - and ourselves.

After watching the film (see below for links), discuss the following questions.

1. Do you agree with Jean Kilbourne that "advertising is a system of education that is powerful precisely because it is not considered education?" What is the difference between the effect of one ad and living in an "advertising infused environment?" Where can we still go where there's no advertising?

2. What does Kilbourne mean that advertising "sells more than products; advertising sells values...and concepts...perhaps above all, of normalcy"? How do you know what is normal? What does advertising tell you "you should be"? How is this different for males and females? Use examples.

3. Do you believe you are personally affected by advertising? If not you, then who is influenced? Why do companies pay millions of dollars to advertise?
4.Define "salvation." What does McGrane mean when he says: "The purpose of modern advertising is to generate anxiety and doubt...and then offer the entire world of consumer goods as salvation"? Do you agree that advertising's chief strategy is the "production of discontent"? Why does McGrane say, "One message you'll never hear is, 'You're OK', you don't need anything, you're fine just the way your are"?
5. What does Kilbourne mean when she says "there are tremendous penalties for women" who don't conform to culturally accepted standards of beauty? How true is it:

- that ads for women's products "make women feel incomplete, anxious, and insecure"?
- that "women have been conditioned to feel like failures" if they don't meet advertising's definition of "normal" standards of beauty?

- that "men have been conditioned to feel like failures" if they don't have a beautiful-looking woman on their arm?

6. Finally, how is the class system sustained by advertising?
Videos:

http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-1of4-1313337136
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-2of4-1313414312
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-3of4-1313414409
http://www.videosurf.com/video/the-ad-the-ego-4of4-1313414406

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