Jean Kilbourne Killing Us Softly 4 2:50 Thank you so much, Sandy. And thank you, Sut. And thanks to all of you for being here. It’s really just wonderful that you came and that you’re willing to put up with all these restrictions. As Sut said, this is a film. I am going to do a presentation and that you are a captive audience. It will be over - you will be out of here by 6:30 don’t let him frighten you – it’s not going to go on longer than that. But if you are in the Witness Protection Program, it’s probably not a good idea for you to be here, just so you know about that. And a film is slightly different than a lecture. I’m going to do my best to do this in one take, but I might stop at some point and have to retake something (I hope not). And I might linger on one ad, whereas in the film there’ll be many examples. And in a couple of instances, I’m going to mention a TV commercial, but I won’t actually be showing it. So those are some of the ways it’ll be a little bit different. There will be time at the end, there’s going to be a brief Q & A at the end, but if you feel later on that you’d like to get some further information, I do have a website, and there’s an extensive resource list on this website with all kinds of organizations and places to get further information. So I urge you to visit the website if you’d like to do that. 4:08 I started collecting ads in the late 1960s. Many aspects of my life led to this: my involvement with the Women’s Movement – which was just taking off then – my interests in media, some experiences I had as a model. I didn’t intend to create a career, let alone launch a field of study, but that is what happened. I was just paying attention to ads. Ads like these: - “Feminine odor is everyone’s problem” - “It’s difficult to say what first attracted me to her, but I do remember her earrings” - “Made for a woman’s extra feelings,” which presumably are located in her armpits - “It sure is a load off Roy since I lost 59 pounds” - Or this version: “I’d probably never be married now if I hadn’t lost 49 pounds,” which one woman said to me was the best advertisement for fat she’d ever seen. - “If your hair isn’t beautiful, the rest hardly matters” - “Why aren’t your feet as sexy as the rest of you?” - These are all real ads. “Honey, your anti-perspirant spray just doesn’t do it” - “Your guy: another reason for Midol” - “My boyfriend said he loved me for my mind. I was never so insulted in my life” - “She’s built like all our products: heavy where she has to take the strain.” This was an ad for construction material. And “Keep her where she belongs.” 5:45 So these are just some of the ads that I noticed and saw out there, so I cut them out and put them on my refrigerator and eventually I had a kind of collage of ads, and I started to see a pattern. A kind of statement about what it meant to be a woman in the culture. And eventually I bought a camera and a copy stand and I started to make slides of these ads and give a presentation about it. In 1979, I made my first film, Killing Us Softly, advertising this image of women. In 1987 I remade it as Still Killing Us Softly, and then again in 2000 as Killing Us Softly 3. Now how many of you have seen Killing Us Softly 3? Just so I know. Okay I should also let you know that this is – there’s going to be a lot thai is going to be very familiar to you, but what we’re trying to do is to add newer images to some of the things because what’s most amazing to me is how much it stayed the same; how much of what I said way back in 1979 still applies. It’s much less radical and shocking now than it was then, but it’s still true. Sometimes people say to me: ‘You’ve been talking about this for 40 years. Have things gotten any better?’ And actually I have to say, really they’ve gotten worse. So much for my career! But of course there have been some positive changes, but many things have stayed the same of gotten worse. The biggest change is that I’m no longer alone. That there are now countless books and organizations, websites, films, other people who are working on these issues. Also when I started, ads were mostly in magazines, television commercials, billboards. Now of course there has been an explosion of advertising. Ads are everywhere – the Internet, Facebook, videogames, in our schools, our public spaces, on airplanes, snowboards [shows slides] 7:33 Now, I focus on advertising because I’ve always considered it to be a very powerful educational force. It’s an over $250 billion a year industry, just in the United States. The average American is exposed to over 3,000 ads every single day, and will spend 2 years of his or her life watching television commercials – just the commercials. The ads as you know are everywhere. Also, just about every aspect of popular culture is about marketing. Most people don’t know that the primary purpose of the mass media is to sell audiences to advertisers. Everything else is secondary. WE are the product. To illustrate this, I’m going to show you a couple of ads now from advertising age, the major publication of the advertising industry. And what these ads will show you is how the advertisers advertise to each other, and to corporate executives. We’re not meant to see these ads; this is what goes on behind the scenes. “Hey Coke, want 17.5 million very interested women to think diet?” What’s happening here? Here the Ladies Home Journal is advertising itself directly to the executives of Coca-Cola as a terrific place to put their Diet Coke ads, and what they’re promising them is a magazine that will make women obsessed about their weight. A magazine that will make women think diet. Now this ad comes as a real surprise to most people because most of us have never been educated about advertising, so we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. How could we? And we don’t know the central fact about advertising and the media, which is that we are the product. What’s being sold here isn’t Diet Coke, or even really the Ladies Home Journal. What’s being sold are the readers of the Ladies Home Journal made to feel anxious about their weight, and then sold to the diet industry. 9:18 The primary purpose of magazines, newspapers, television programs, websites, everything is to capture an audience to be sold to advertisers. [shows slide] This says “Capture your audience,” and here the eyeballs are in a net being delivered to the advertisers. Advertisers sometimes refer to television programs as “renting our eyeballs” because the purpose of the program, the magazine, the website, is to round up a target audience, sort of like fly paper as they say in this ad, to lure us in so we will be the captive audience for the ads. Here, Seventeen magazine says to advertisers, “She’s the one you want, she’s the one we’ve got. Seventeen: it’s more than a magazine. It’s her life.” So this is what goes on behind the scenes. There’s more advertising than ever before. *takes water* Advertising is more sophisticated and more influential than ever before. But still, just about everyone feels personally exempt from the influence of advertising. So wherever I go, what I hear more than anything else is “Oh, I don’t pay attention to ads. I just tune them out. They have no effect on me.” Now I hear this most often from people wearing Budweiser caps, but that’s another story. Advertisers want us to believe that we’re not influenced, because that makes it all the easier for them to manipulate us. Our guard is down, they can get beneath the radar. Another reason we believe we’re not influenced is that advertising’s influence is quick, it’s cumulative, and for the most part, it’s subconscious. As the editor in chief of advertising age – again the major publication of the advertising industry once said – “Only 8% of an ad’s message is received by the conscious mind. The rest is worked and reworked deep within the recesses of the brain.” So it’s not just that we see these images once, or twice, or even a hundred times. They stay with us and we process them mostly subconsciously. They create an environment – an environment that we all swim in, as fish swim in water. And, as Marshall McCluen famously said, “We don’t know who discovered water, but we know it wasn’t a fish.” It’s very difficult to be conscious of one’s own environment, so one of my goals with my work is to make this environment visible. To make us conscious of these images. The particular ads that I use won’t be familiar with everyone of course, and ads become outdated almost instantly. But the images, the themes will be familiar to all of you. You’ll easily be able to find your own examples. People often say to me after they see the films that they never look at ads again in the same way, and I hope that will be true for you. 12:13 The ads may be trivial, but their influence isn’t. Just as it’s difficult to be healthy in a toxic physical environment, if we’re breathing poisoned air for example, or drinking polluted water. So it’s difficult to be healthy in what I call a “toxic cultural environment” – an environment that surrounds us with unhealthy images and constantly sacrifices our health and our sense of well-being for the sake of profit. Ads sell more than products. They sell values, they sell images, they sell concepts of love and sexuality, of success, and perhaps most important, of normalcy. To a great extent they tell us who we are, and who we should be. 12:52 But what does advertising tell us about women? It tells us as it always has that what’s most important is how we look. So the first thing the advertisers do is surround us with the image of ideal female beauty. We all learn how important it is for a woman to be beautiful. Women learn from a very early age that we must spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and above all money striving to achieve this look and feeling ashamed and guilty when we fail. And failure is inevitable because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness. She never has any lines or wrinkles. She certainly has no scars or blemishes. Indeed, she has no pores. And the most important aspect of this flawlessness is that it cannot be achieved: no one looks like this, including her. And this is the truth no one looks like this. The supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” She doesn’t. she couldn’t. Because this is a look that’s been created through years of airbrushing and cosmetics, but these days it’s done through the magic of computer retouching. Now computers have been used to alter images for quite some time. Way back in 1989, Oprah Winfrey’s head was put on Anne Margaret’s body for a TV Guide cover. Neither women gave permission, by the way. And in 1990, this was the ad for the hit film Pretty Women, and you may think this is Julia Roberts – well it’s her head but it’s not her body. Her body wasn’t good enough, perhaps not thin enough to be in this ad, so they simply used another woman’s body. A body double, as they did in the film. Whenever she was undressed or partially dressed, that wasn’t Julia Roberts – it was somebody else. 14:38 And this happens all the time. So we might be looking at a TV commercial and think we’re seeing one woman, but we’re really seeing 4: one woman’s face, another woman’s hair, another woman’s hands, another woman’s legs. Four or five women put together to look like one perfect woman. No wonder it’s so depressing. These days, Photoshopping is infinitely more sophisticated. Body doubles aren’t necessary because the body itself can be altered. Even in the loveliest celebrities are transformed by computer. Kiera Knightly is given a bigger bust. Jessica Alba is made smaller. Kelly Clarkson – well this is interesting: it says “slim down your way” but she in fact slimmed down the Photoshopped way. And note that the copy also says, “total body confidence.” It’s kind of sad. Men are Photoshopped, too, but they’re usually made bigger. Andy Rodderick laughed when he saw the bulked-up arms on this cover photo, and suggested they should be returned to the man they belonged to. In fact, however, they are his arms, just enhanced by computer. There are countless examples. Cameron Diaz, Nicolette Sheriden, Penelope Cruz. You almost never see a photograph of a woman considered beautiful that hasn’t been Photoshopped. A recent video on Nytimes.com featured interviews with some people that do the Photoshopping and who agree it can create a problem. The Dove commercial called “Evolution” dramatically illustrates that the image is constructed…it is not real. So the image isn’t real; it’s artificial, it’s constructed. But real women and girls measure ourselves against this image every single day. It’s an impossible ideal for just about everyone, but it’s absolutely impossible for women who aren’t white. 16:26 Women of color are generally considered beautiful only if they approximate the white ideal. If they are light skinned, have straight hair, Caucasian features – even Beyonce had her skin lightened for this [shows ad]. But how often do we see an image like this: [shows ad]. Black women are often featured in jungle settings wearing leopard skins as if they were exotic animals. An even bigger problem, however, for people of color in advertising is invisibility. Not that we see a lot of negative images, but that we see no images at all. What George Gerbner, a renound media researcher called “symbolic annihilation.” This means that one sees no reflection. That there’s really no reflection at all. I have some ads in my collection – quite a few, actually these days – featuring blacks, Hispanics, some Asians, but none or almost none featuring Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, Native Alaskans or American Indians. Other groups also suffer from symbolic annihilation. The disabled, lesbians and gay men, the elderly, the poor. So when people say that advertising just reflects the society, it’s a very distorted reflection that leaves out huge groups of people. Now the research is clear that this ideal image of beauty effects women’s self esteem. How could it not? And it also influences how men feel about the very real women they are with. When men are shown photographs of supermodels in studies, they then judge real women much more harshly. We all grow up in a culture in which women’s bodies are constantly turned into “things” and “objects.” [shows ad]. Here she’s become the bottle of Michelob. And this is everywhere, in all kinds of advertising: pornography, music videos, billboards, websites, everywhere you look, women’s bodies turn into “things” – into objects. 18:31 Now of course this effects female self esteem. It also does something even more insidious: it creates a climate in which there is widespread and increasing violence against women. I’m not at all saying that an ad like this directly causes violence – it’s not that simple. But turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person. It’s very difficult…I think it might be impossible…to be violent to someone we consider an equal human being, but it’s very easy to abuse a thing. We see this with racism, we see it with homophobia, we see it with terrorism. It’s always the same process. The person is dehumanized and violence then becomes inevitable. And that step it already and constantly taken with women. So the violence, the abuse, is partly the chilling but logical result of this kind of objectification. Now women are objectified in many ways: a Heineken commercial turns a women into a keg of beer. A frat boy’s dream! In this ad, she becomes a part of a videogame. Women’s bodies are dismembered in ads; hacked apart. Just one part of the body is focused upon, which of course is the most dehumanizing thing you could do to someone. These legs apparently belong to Victoria Beckham. And the dismemberment is for all kinds of products. Here for credit cards. Everywhere we look, women’s bodies turn into things and often just parts of things. Reebok has an entire campaign based on this kind of dismemberment. Now often a whole man is shown in an ad with just a part of a woman’s body. Never her face, just a part of her body, but I’ve actually never seen this the other way around. 20:15 Most often when the body is dismembered, the focus is on breasts, since we are a culture obsessed with breasts, and breasts are used to sell absolutely everything. [shows ad] “The most dependable fishing line in the world.” Fishing lines, cameras, women are constantly told we must change our lives by increasing our breast size, and the stakes are high: “Does your husband wish you had larger breasts?” And if he does, the implication of this ad is very clear: you better change your body. As opposed to changing your husband. This is an old ad, of course, but the message hasn’t changed very much. 30 years ago or so, we were told to use creams and breast developers that were of course completely worthless in ads like this: “I really wanted a fuller bust line for summer.” One wonders what she’s supposed to do in the fall. And then we were told to change our underwear – to wear uplifting bras such as Wonderbra and others in ads like this: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it. If you don’t, create it.” So we were encouraged to create the illusion of having larger breasts. 21:15 Now imagine if men were supposed to play this game: “Wonder jock! The strap for the bulge you’ve always wanted!” It becomes obviously absurd. Nowadays, we’re supposed to have surgery. “Meet the artist that create the designer faces” and one thing that’s increased dramatically in recent years has been the amount of cosmetic surgery. 91% of cosmetic procedures are performed on women. Men I guess are less likely to want a designer face. There’s even a hit TV show about cosmetic surgery – Nip/Tuck. Breast implants, of course, are extremely popular and they’ve been increasing dramatically. The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on people 18 or younger more than tripled in the past decade. Breast augmentation increased nearly six-fold. I’ve heard of places in the country where parents give their high school daughters breast implants for high school graduation presents. Now most women who have breast implants lose sensation in their breasts, so their breasts become an object of someone else’s pleasure, rather than pleasurable in themselves. The woman quite literally moves from being a subject to being an object. But women learn very early on that our breasts are never going to be okay. This ad ran in lots of women and teen magazines quite some time ago, but its message is sadly current. This is the whole ad, and I’ll read you the whole copy: “Your breasts may be too big, too saggy, too pert, too flat, too full, too far apart, too close together, too A-cup, too lopsided, too jiggly, too pale, too padded, too pointy, too pendulous, or just two mosquito bites. But with Depth Styling Products at least you can have your hair the way you want it!” It ran in Teen Magazine, so 12-year-old girls were getting this message. And of course, according to this ad, there is no way to have acceptable breasts. And girls are getting the message these days so young that they need to be impossibly beautiful, hot, sexy, extremely thin, and they also get the message that they’re going to fail. That there’s no way they are going to achieve it. 23:24 So the research is clear that the self esteem of girls in America plummets when they reach adolescence. Girls tends to feel find about themselves when they’re 8,9, 10 years old, but they hit adolescence and they hit a wall, and certainly part of this wall is this terrible emphasis on physical perfection. Men’s bodies are rarely dismembered in ads. More than they used to be, but still it tends to come as a shock. This ad ran quite some time ago in Vanity Fair and many other other magazines – all of these images are from the national mainstream media – and this ad, which ran maybe 15 years ago was the first time that an image like this ran in a mainstream publication. Prior to this ad, images like this ran only in gay men’s publications, but Calvin Klein brought this into the mainstream. But at the time when this ad ran, it was so shocking that the ad itself got national media coverage. It’s a good thing it got some coverage, I suppose. 24:30 Reporters called me up from all the country and said, “Look! They’re doing the same thing to men they’ve always done to women.” Well, not quite. They’d be doing the same thing to men they’ve always done to women if there were copy with this ad that went like this: You’re penis might be too small, too droopy, too limp, too lop-sided, too narrow, too fat, too pale, too pointy, too blunt, or just two inches. But at least you can have a great pair of jeans. It would never happen and nor should it and believe me, this is not the kind of equality I’m fighting for. I don’t want them to do this to men anymore than to women, but I think we can learn something from these two ads – one of which did happen and one of which never would. And what they show us, very vividly, is that men and women inhabit very different worlds. 25:19 Men basically don’t live in a world in which their bodies are routinely scrutinized, criticized and judged whereas women and girls do. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t stereotypes that harm men, there are plenty of stereotypes that harm men. But they tend to be less personal, less related to the body. Men, in general, don’t experience the emphasis on appearance that women can never escape. And as men grow older, what really matters is the size of their bank accounts. “Need we say more?” And we all recognize this as the sort of cultural cliché, but one that is quite true. We all know that when men are very young it matters how they look but as men grow older in America, that doesn’t matter at all. Then what matters is how much money they make. 26:09 We all know that when men are very young, it matters how they look, but as men grow older in America, that doesn’t matter. Then what matters is how much money they make. And relationships between men and women are often portrayed as financial transactions, as in this ad. And this, of course, is insulting to everybody – men, women – and it also doesn’t make for very good relationships. Now, for women. For men, it doesn’t matter so much again, as they get older. We know that rich, unattractive old men can have lots of beautiful young women but for women, the emphasis never changes. As women grow older no matter what else we do, we’re judged first and foremost by our looks, our clothes, our bodies, and that never changes. 26:53 So, girls learn early on that they’re going to be judged first and foremost by how they look. This ad from a teen magazine said, “He said the first thing he noticed was your great personality, he lied.” So girls get the message, it’s never going to be their great personalities, it’s going to be how they look in jeans. “Raising your hand is only one way to get attention in a 300 seat lecture hall.” 27:28 Basically, we’re told that women are acceptable only if we’re young, thin, white, or at least light-skinned, perfectly groomed and polished, plucked and shaved, and any deviation from this ideal is met with a lot of contempt and hostility. Women who are considered ugly are ridiculed in advertising campaigns such as this one for a premium light beer, “Beer Goggles #2.” And the point of this ad is that the beer is only 2.9% so there’s less danger that the man will hook up with an ugly woman. A Bacardi campaign suggests that women should get an ugly girlfriend so they’ll look better by comparison. And Bud Light plays on this theme in a commercial: So these ads are meant to be funny but the message to girls and women is clear – if you’re not conventionally beautiful, you’re an object of ridicule and contempt. Your worth depends on how you look. You’re going to be, “Graded on a curve.” 28:22 This contempt for women who do not measure up is waiting for all of us, of course eventually, as we age. So no wonder there’s such terror of showing any signs of aging. And there’s a real double standard of aging. Men can be attractive in a variety of ways, such as the handsome young man, the rugged man, the mature, distinguished older man. For women there’s only one way to be considered beautiful and that is to stay looking very young. We’re surrounded by images of celebrities looking impossibly young for their age, thanks to the wonders of surgery or photoshop. Of course, you can be a cougar if you look like Courtney Cox or Demi Moore. Countless ads offer women ways to stay looking young – most of them using extremely young models. When an older model is used, she’s transformed by photoshop, as Twiggy was recently. Twiggy, the famous fashion model from the 60s, who really launched the whole thinness ideal, is in these ads for Olay anti-aging products with the slogan, “Love the skin you’re in.” But this is what really what Twiggy really looks like today. She looks fine but we’ve been conditioned to read older women’s faces as exhausted, unattractive whereas we don’t do this with men’s faces. But clearly this is a very different image. But it creates this illusion that somehow a woman of 60 can look like this if she just uses the right products. And this fear of aging starts so early: “Who knew that by the age of 15 your skin had already retired.” How sad that it’s all downhill after 15. 29:58 This attitude towards aging causes enormous stress for women, of course. And when a culture devalues its older members it loses out on a wealth of wisdom and experience. These days the greatest contempt is for women who are considered in the least bit overweight. And pop culture delights in ridiculing and mocking celebrities who’ve gained weight. The basic message to girls is the one in this ad, at the top it says, “the more you subtract, the more you add.” What a powerful message. Now this is a fashion ad, they’re talking about simplicity in fashion but she’s also incredibly thin and look at her boy language, she looks as if she’s trying to disappear. And I think this is the message that girls get when they reach adolescence – that they should disappear. 30:50 On the deepest level, the obsession with thinness is about cutting girls down to size. Now what could say this more vividly than this relatively new size in women’s clothing, size 0 and size 00. Imagine a man going into a clothing store and asking for anything in a size zero, but our girls are taught to aspire to become nothing. 31:14 So no wonder we have an epidemic of eating disorders. And where could this come from, this crazy obsession of obsessive thinness for women except at least in part from the media images that surround us and that tell us in order to be acceptable we have to be painfully, unnaturally thin. 31:31 Yesterday’s sex symbols by today’s standards would be considered fat. This, of course, is Marylyn Monroe – look at her, she’s got a tummy, she’s got hips. Compare her with today’s celebrities and sex symbols, such as the ones on this cover of People magazine. Now each one of these women – Nicole Ritchie, Kate Bosworth, Keira Knightley, is dangerously thin, possibly ill. And People seems to be saying that, but I think what they’re really doing, by putting them on the cover, is glamorizing it further, making it more likely that women and girls will starve themselves in an attempt to achieve an impossible ideal. 32:15 I’ve been talking about this for a very long time and I keep thinking the models can’t get any thinner, but they do. They get thinner and thinner. This is Anna Karelina Reston, who died a year ago of anorexia weighing 88 lbs. And at the time she was still modeling. So the models literally cannot get any thinner. So photoshop is brought to the rescue. Recently there was a lot of publicity about the fact that this ad was photoshopped so that the model’s head is actually bigger than her pelvis. It is an absolute anatomical impossibility but brought to you courtesy of Ralph Lauren and photoshop. 32:59 Even some of the editors of fashion magazines have become concerned recently. Alexandra Shulman, the editor of British Vogue, recently accused some of the world’s leading designers of pushing ever thinner models into the fashion magazines despite rising concerns about eating disorders. What she said is that the designers send clothing that’s so small, size double zero (00), that most models – even thin models – cannot fit into these clothes and so they have to use extraordinarily thin models and in fact, she said, Vogue sometimes has to retouch photos sometimes to make the models look larger than they actually are. 33:40 Recently there was a huge response to this tiny photo in an issue of Glamour Magazine – this tiny photo of a woman who has a little bit of a belly. And the editor of Glamour said that she was flooded with emails from women filled with joy at seeing a woman like this in a fashion magazine. Because basically the body type, the only one, that we see as acceptable or desirable is one that fewer than 5% of American women have. This is genetic; you can’t diet yourself into this body type, at least not for long, any more than you can make yourself taller. The models are very tall, they’re genetically thin, they pretty much have ‘V’ shaped bodies, broad shoulders, narrow hips, long legs and usually small breasts. When the models have large breasts, almost always they’ve had implants because this is a body type that doesn’t usually come with large breasts. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s a body type, but it excludes about 95% of all women. Most women are more pear-shaped, heavier through the hips and thighs but we literally never see that body-type as acceptable or desirable in advertising or anywhere in the popular culture. 34:50 Some ads today seem to encourage unhealthy attitudes, even eating disorders. “Exercise was her appetizer, fast food her main course.” And compulsive exercising is often a sign of an eating disorder. And certainly exercising in order to eat junk food is a sign of trouble. “Beauty knows no pain.” This ad actually suggests that if you’re in pain because of squeezing yourself into tight clothes, the solution is to take a drug. And celebrities often makes things worse. Lady Gaga said recently, “It’s all about starvation. Pop Stars don’t eat.” Now this was Lady Gaga, she was probably being ironic but Kate Moss recently created quite a controversy when she said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” 35:37 There are exceptions, however. Kate Winslet has been outspoken about her refusal to allow Hollywood to dictate her weight. When British GQ magazine published this photograph, which was digitally enhanced to make her look dramatically thinner, she issued a statement that the alterations were made without her consent. She said, “I don’t look like that and, more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that. I can tell you they’ve reduced the size of my legs by about a third.” Bless her heart. 36:08 In recent years, eating has become a moral issue for women. Women have been made to feel ashamed of eating, ashamed of having an appetite for food. And language that used to describe sexual activity now describes eating. “Respect yourself in the morning.” This is a kind of amazing ad, really. If you look at this woman she’s unbelievably thin, you can see her ribs – I want to beg her to eat those croissants, she needs them. But the ad is clearly saying that if she does, she’s going to hate herself in the morning. It used to be that respecting yourself in the morning had to do with sexual activity, not with what you had to eat the day before but that’s all turned around. So if a woman comes back from a weekend these days and says she was bad we assume that she broke her diet, not that she did unusual sexually. The ménage-a-trois we’re made to feel ashamed of was with Ben & Jerry. 37:05 Now, the more guilty women are made to feel about eating, the more erotic the ads for food become. We’re made to feel disconnected from our bodies and then advertisers offer us food as a way to connect, as a way to have a kind of relationship. “Smooth, rich, and good for you, if it were a man you’d marry him.” Especially a romantic relationship. “Your lips look so lonely. May I keep them company?” And the copy says, “the most seductive cookie ever.” What is going on here? This is a cookie! “Watch TV with your arm around the one you love.” It’s not your partner, it’s your bag of cheez-its. “This is so beefy your husband might get jealous.” And if your husband gets jealous of the pasta I think you have bigger problems than this. “But after all no man will make you this happy.” 38:13 Sometimes food is sold quite deliberately as a substitute for sex. “You don’t unwrap it, you undress it.” Again, a candy bar. You could have a ménagea-trois with a cookie, I suppose. “How bad do you want it?” And, “If you were anymore satisfied you’d blush.” Pretty amazing, but I have hundreds of ads like this. So, the magazines, tv shows everywhere we see lots and lots of ads like this. Rich food, diet products, diet articles, etc. Thin models and no surprise… woah. (Break) 39:49 So the magazines, TV shows, everywhere we look there are all these diet articles, diet ads, sexy ads for food and of course, thin models and ads for diet products. Here is a fashion layout, but if you look in the far right corner there’s a box of Dexatrim diet pills. I can assure you that Dexatrim paid for this even though, really, it isn’t an ad. These products, these diet products are often dangerous, in fact they can kill you. And at best, they do not work. 95% of dieters not only regain whatever weight they lose within 5 years, they go on to gain more. Dieting is always a bad idea. 40:26 No I’m well aware of the fact that obesity is a huge problem in our culture. A third of Americans are obese, two thirds are overweight. The rates for kids are skyrocketing. But the solution isn’t to make our girls hate themselves and starve themselves. Obesity is a very complicated problem. There’s a huge genetic factor and there are many other factors as well – racism, poverty, the amount of time we spend in front of television sets, all of that. But the solution to obesity and to the obsession with thinness are related in that, they involve our need to transform our attitudes as a culture about food and about the way we eat. And among other things this means taking on a multi-billion dollar junk food industry that gets us used to huge portions, huge amounts of salt, and sugar, and grease. And the junk drink, of course, does the same. 41:17 And if we learn to eat healthy, natural, preferably local food with pleasure, with joy because eating should be one of life’s joyful experiences. And if we learn to exercise with pleasure, to use our bodies in a way that makes us happy, our bodies would eventually get to be the shape, the size, the weight that they are genetically meant to be. And the trick then would be to live with them and to love them. But that’s very difficult to do in a culture that teaches all of us, women especially, but men increasingly, to hate our bodies. 41:52 Now there’s been a myth for a long time that women of color are not affected by these images and don’t suffer from eating disorders. Although it’s true that there’s more size acceptance among people of color, the gap is shrinking. Other cultures do not encourage thinness as extremely as white culture but increasing numbers of women of color are developing eating disorders, including obesity. Increasing numbers of boys and men are also suffering from eating disorders. Estimates suggest that at least 10% and maybe as many as 20% of people with eating disorders, are male. We occasionally see very thin men in ads these days, almost always in upscale fashion and men’s magazines. And these ads seem to be targeting gay men. Although more boys and young men are suffering from body image problems than in the past, boys and men as a group, don’t experience the kinds of societal pressure to focus on their appearance, count calories, and watch their weight the ways that girls and women do. So I think the response of most men to an ad like this isn’t going to be to jump on a scale and have a salad for lunch. 43:03 Most male models in mainstream publications and most male celebrities are still presented as rugged. And I think this rugged image is more of a problem for most men than the extremely skinny models that you occasionally see. It no doubt contributes to steroid abuse and other problems – body dismorphia disorder – for boys and young men. So, eating disorders used to be considered problems that only affected young women, white, middle class and upper class women but these days we know that they affect women and some men of all races, all ethnic groups, all classes. They are also rapidly becoming an international problem, so we see this kind of thing happening now all around the world. 43:50 As the media and advertising become global, the American image of ideal beauty is everywhere, transforming cultural differences. So the modeling commercials and in ads throughout the world, is young, thin, white, and usually blond and blue eyed no matter what colors and shapes are the people looking on. Anne Becker’s famous study found a sharp rise in eating disorders among young women in Fiji soon after the introduction of television to the culture. Our popular culture seems to have the ability to make women anywhere and everywhere feel absolutely terrible about themselves. 44:30 But there’s far more going on than just an obsession with thinness. Cutting girls down to size also means silencing them. And girls are often pictured in ads, particularly in teen magazines, with their hands over their mouths or their mouths covered in one way or another or with copy like this, “score high on nonverbal skills.” Girls also learn that they can’t trust each other, that they must give up their friendships with each other. “This dress will make your friends insanely jealous. Which you have to admit is pretty much the goal.” “What the bitch who’s about to steal your man wears.” The body language of girls is usually passive, vulnerable, and very different from the body language of boys and men. Women are often shown in very silly poses, whereas men are generally afforded dignity and strength, even as children. 45:20 Women are told that it’s sexy to be like a little girl. And grown women are infantilized in many ways throughout advertising, fashion and the popular culture in general. So we often get grown women posed like this: Dressed like children or acting like children in one way or another. We also often see models who’s heads seem a little bigger than their bodies in a very childlike way, their eyes are very big so they have very childlike features although they might be on an adult woman’s body. In a recent fashion spread, Taylor Swift was posed and presented as a vulnerable little girl. In this ad, for Lee Jeans, I’m sure this model is over 18, but she’s certainly meant to look as if she’s younger and this is certainly meant to evoke child pornography with the man with the camera in the background, the popsicle, the whole thing. 46:23 There’s a problem of course with this infantilization of grown women so that women get the message that we shouldn’t grow up, we shouldn’t become mature, sexual beings. And the flip side is the increasing sexualization of little girls. And I started talking about this way back in 1979 in the first version of Killing Us Softly and this was one example that I used then: “Love’s baby soft because innocence is sexier than you think.” But these images have become much more extreme and much more commonplace since. So we have many, many ads featuring very young girls presented in very provocative, sexy ways. And this is happening in a culture in which at least one in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused during their childhood. Now this is a problem of staggering proportion we’re just beginning to realize the full extent. And images like this don’t cause this problem but I think they do contribute to it. They contribute to it by creating a climate in which it becomes increasingly acceptable to look upon children in this way, to see little children as seductive and of course often, to blame the victim. 47:31 Halloween costumes have become more and more extreme too, of course. This is Miley Cyrus’ sister, Noah, who is 9 years old and this is not a Halloween outfit, she was at a benefit, an AIDS benefit. So things have changed so dramatically. The sexy woman of the 1950s, as exemplified by Brigitte Bardot, in “When God Created Woman,” has today become a woman presenting herself as a sexy little girl. Padded bras and thong panties for 7 year olds are now sold in major department stores and the latest product is high heels for babies! Before they can even walk. Now not to leave boys out there are t-shirts for toddlers that say things like “pimp squad.” So boys are sexualized too although in a very different way from girls. Boy are basically encouraged to look upon girls as sex objects and also children are put into romantic situations these days much, much earlier than ever before. 48:33 At the same time that we allow our children to be sexualized, we refuse to educate them about sex. The United States is the only developed nation in the world that doesn’t teach sex education in the schools. And our children pay a very high price – we have the highest rates of teen pregnancy and the highest rates of sexually transmitted illnesses by far, in the developed world. You often hear people say, “well we don’t want our kids to get sex education,” but what they don’t realize is that our kids are getting sex education, they’re getting massive doses of sex education but they’re getting it from the mass media and from the popular culture. Children and teens are awash in sexual images and messages in films, TV programs, music, music videos, video games, the internet and of course, advertising. “You can learn more about anatomy after school.” And actually that’s quite true. They grow up surrounded by graphic sexual messages, images that used to belong to the world of pornography are now commonplace in our magazines, our TV commercials, websites, everywhere. This is an ad for jeans, although something seems to be missing. 49:42 So very, very graphic sexual messages running in places where very young people are the target. Abercrombie has these huge posters, of course, featuring a threesome, and they send catalogs into homes aimed at very young teenagers. … Featuring a threesome. Sex is also often presented as a dirty joke in advertising and throughout the popular culture. It’s a very juvenile approach to sex that we often see, through language like this or this, “Don’t feel bad our servers won’t go down on you either.” Or an international clothing chain that calls itself “FCUK,” something you’d think would be done in 4th grade. And here they have a little shopping bag for FCUK Kids. And at the same time that we have these blatant sexual messages throughout the media, there’s no emphasis on relationships or on intimacy and we have to fight to get accurate sex education into our schools. The problem isn’t sex, it’s the culture’s pornographic attitude towards sex. It’s the trivialization of sex and nowhere is sex more trivialized than in advertising where, by definition, it is used to sell everything. 51:03 Rice: “Whatever you’re giving him tonight, he’ll enjoy it more with rice.” I don’t think I’m particularly naïve, but I haven’t figured out yet what the hell you do with rice. Maybe it’s wild rice. Someone shouted out the other day she just hopes it wasn’t minute rice. Now this is an old ad, of course and one could argue, “oh, sex has always been sold to sell everything.” And to a great extent that’s true. But it’s far more extreme and far more graphic and pornographic today than ever before. Compare this ad for rice with a current ad, also linking food and sex. This new Burger King ad for the “Super Seven Incher.” Now, to me, her face looks like one of those inflatable dolls. You know people often say to me, “you know you’re reading too much into these ads,” I don’t think I’m reading too much into this. Or this either, for that matter. 51:58 And I think the ultimate impact of all these images is actually profoundly anti-erotic. The truth is that sex is both more important and less important than our culture makes it out to be. It’s more important in that at its best, it has meaning, and mystery and emotional power. And it’s less important in that it’s by no means the most important aspect of life or of love. But a visitor from another planet who just looked at our popular culture, would have to come to two conclusions. The first is really that sex is the only thing that matters. It’s the most important aspect of life. And the second is that sex and sexuality belong only to the young and beautiful. If you’re not young and perfect looking, you have no sexuality. So the very definition of sexy in the popular culture excludes almost everyone—the imperfect, the disabled, the middle-aged and older, especially true for women. Again, if you’re not young and perfect looking, you have no sexuality. And I think the ultimate impact of that is anti-erotic. Because it makes people feel less desirable. It certainly makes women feel less desirable. How sexy can you be if you hate your body? And I don’t think it does wonders for men, either. 53:28 Sex in advertising is also relentlessly heterosexist. Gay men barely exist outside of publications targeting them and the portrayal of lesbians comes straight from the world of porn. Two beautiful women, titillating each other, putting on a show, while waiting for a man to arrive so the main event can begin. And we see this in ad after ad. The internet has given everyone easy access to pornography. Pornography these days is not just accessible, it’s really inescapable. You don’t have to go to an adult bookstore in a seedy part of town, or get a plastic-wrapped magazine from behind a counter anymore. In fact 12% of all websites are pornography sites. And 25% of all search engine requests are for pornography. So this has meant that, again, that porn has become inescapable and therefore more acceptable. And the language and the images of porn have become mainstream, porn has become cool, edgy. Lauren Phoenix, star of scores of porn films, sells tube socks to teens in American Apparel ads and porn queen, Jenna Jamison, has launched her own fashion line. Young celebrities emulate the porn stars. Here we have Miley Cyrus doing a pole dance at a music awards ceremony. And then their fans in turn emulate them. Miley’s 17, but her fan base is much younger, as is the fan base of many other singers and celebrities. They are adored by many little girls and very young teens who want to be like them. So girls are encouraged to present themselves as strippers and porn stars, to wear thongs, which basically are g-strings, to remove their pubic hair, to send nude photographs of themselves to their boyfriends via their cell phones, to sexually available while expecting little or nothing in return. As girls learn from a very early age that their sexualized behavior and appearance are often rewarded by society, they learn to sexualize themselves, to see themselves as objects. And lots of ads these days show women looking into mirrors seemingly in love with their own image. Perhaps the saddest thing, is how many girls and young women have been convinced that dressing and acting like porn stars, and servicing boys and men without any expectation of mutuality, is liberating. They’re encouraged to see this as their own choice, as a declaration of empowerment. To reframe presenting oneself in the most clichéd and stereotypical way possible as a kind of liberation. 56:06 “You have the right to remain sexy.” But what this really is saying is the right to be an object, to be passive, to have your sexuality defined in a rigid, shallow, limiting, and clichéd way. When the culture offers girls and women only one way to be sexy, it can hardly be considered an authentic choice to choose it. Now I want to be very clear that there is nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive and sexy. Just about everybody wants this. What’s wrong is that this is emphasized for girls and woman at incredibly young ages to the exclusion of other important qualities and aspects. Being hot becomes the most important measure of success. And also the definition of attractiveness and sexiness, especially for women is so narrow and stereotypical that everyone eventually is a loser. And this extremely superficial and limited definition of sexiness makes most women feel insecure and vulnerable, and much less sexy. 57:12 Real sexiness has to do with passion and with vitality and what is most unique about each one of us, our confidence in what we have to offer the world. It’s not about what we buy. But sex in advertising, of course, is always about selling stuff. So these images cause real harm to girls and women. In 2007, the American Psychological Association released a report concluding that girls exposed to sexualized images from a young age are more prone to three of the most common mental health problems for girls and women—depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem. 57: 50 In spite of all the graphic sexual messages in the media that urge girls and young women to be hot and sexy, there’s still a powerful double standard with very different rules and consequences for females and males. Girls are constantly told by the popular culture that they should be sexy, but innocent, experienced, but virginal. As many of us know, this is tricky. This ad kind of exemplifies that. It’s an ad for BMW. There’s this very young girl, really. And the copy says, “You know you’re not the first.” Females have long been categorized as either virgins or whores of course. What’s new is that girls are supposed to embody both within themselves. And that even very little girls are encouraged to look sexy long before they have any real understanding of what that really means. This creates an impossible double bind. In the same way that the girdles and the corsets of the past have been replaced by an internalized standard even more suffocating, so the sexual repression of the past has been replaced by something in some ways even more demanding and constricting. The need to look sexually available without being labeled a slut, the need to run a business meeting while wearing uncomfortable underwear and shoes that will eventually cripple us. Women in business and politics have to walk a very fine line. If they’re considered too sexy or attractive, they’re not taken seriously, but if they’re considered unattractive, they’re mocked and ridiculed. 59:25 This cooptation of liberation seeing in this case conforming to a certain very narrow definition of sexiness as liberation is a cooptation of what real liberation means. And it’s been going on for a long time. Advertisers always find ways to turn any movement for radical change into just another way to push a product. S ome of the ads in my collection from years ago co-opted and trivialize the women’s movement. “Relax and enjoy the revolution.” This is an ad for flavored douches! “So you’re out to change the world. We can do it together.” And this is an ad for shoe polish. Most notorious of all was the Virginia Slims campaign with the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” And what we learned is that women who smoke like men, die like men. 60:13 Feminism is individual self-expression is more likely to sell baubles and botox, then it is to do what we set out to do so many years ago, which is to change the world. But all of these sexual images aren’t intended to sell us on sex, they’re intended to sell us on shopping. They’re designed to promote consumerism, not just in childhood, but throughout our lives. Whatever is eroticized in childhood, tends to stay with us, so when children are encouraged to link shopping with sex. And to think of sexuality as something that can be bought, the right underwear, the right cologne, they’ll be hanging out at malls for the rest of their lives. And they’ll also be likely to objectify themselves and each other. One of the major ways that advertisers accomplishes this is by linking sex and products, of course, but by sexualizing products. Not only are people objectified in ads, but products are sexualized. We’re encouraged to feel passion for our products rather than our partners. And people and products become really interchangeable in the ads. 61:22 This is an amazing ad that ran not long ago in some the upscale women’s magazines—Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar. This young man is kneeling in front of this extremely thin young woman—again we don’t see her face that’s irrelevant. Her pubic hair has been shaved into the Gucci logo. He is worshipping Gucci, she has morphed into Gucci. So this is a prime example of the way products are sexualized, people and products become the same. As is this. 61:52 Now another thing that has changed dramatically in recent years has been the increase in ads that objectify men. So we certainly do see many more ads, not nearly to the extent that we do with women, but we see many, more ads than we did before of men as sex objects. And sometimes this is misinterpreted as a kind of perverse equality, as if somehow this makes it ok. Whereas, of course, the truth is that objectification is bad for all of us, men and for women. There’s a world of difference when men are objectified and when women are objectified. When men are objectified, they generally are bigger, stronger, more powerful. When women are objectified, we’re more fragile, more vulnerable, less powerful. But more important there really aren’t consequences for men as a result of this objectification. Because men don’t live in a world in which they’re likely to be raped, harassed or beaten, or at least straight white men don’t live in such a world. Whereas women and girls do. 62:59 So for women, whenever there is objectification, there is always danger, there is always the threat of sexual violence and intimidation. And women live in a world defined by this threat, whereas men do not. A much more serious problem for men is that masculinity is so often linked with violence. So we have an ad like this featuring a gang rape to sell jeans and the woman is the victim, but the men are perpetrators. And boys grow up in a world where men are constantly shown as perpetrators of violence, as brutal, and women, of course, the victims. They grow up in a world in which they’re encouraged to be tough and insensitive. “You talkin’ to me?” Well this is joke of course, but this is also a baby and certainly boys still get the message early on that it’s not safe to be vulnerable, not safe to have feelings, that they need to develop at a very young age a tough guise, a tough veneer. And this is particularly true for young black men. 63:53 In general talking, communicating is seen as a weakness in men often. “Do you want to be the one she tells her deep dark secret to, or do you want to be her deep dark secret?” Well the ad is of course saying to the man you want to be her deep dark secret, but the truth is if you’re a man who wants an intimate relationship with a woman, and most men do, you better be the one she tells her deep dark secrets to. Because it’s impossible to have an intimate relationship, a successful one, without being vulnerable, without communicating. So this ad is actually a kind of blueprint for a disastrous relationship. The men who are considered sexiest in the popular culture are usually the ones who are the most disappointing and sometimes the most dangerous to women. 64: 35 So the image of men is certainly distorted too, but in a very different way from the image of women, but negative and distorted image of women deeply affects not how men feel about women, but how men feel about everything that gets labeled feminine in themselves. And this to me is a very important point. “You’re looking at my feminine side.” And he’s of course referring to the girlie tattoo on his bicep. But what the ad is saying to young men. This is a cigarette ad. It’s aimed at teenagers and young men. It’s saying to them, you better not have a feminine side, there better not be anything about you that could be in the least bit considered feminine. So what it’s expressing is not only contempt for women, but contempt for all things considered feminine. And human qualities, qualities that we all share, that we all need, that we all have the potential to develop get divided up and polarized and labeled masculine and feminine. And then the feminine is consistently devalued, which cause women to devalue ourselves and each other. And it cause men to devalue not only women, but all those qualities that get labeled feminine by the culture. 65: 45 And by that I mean qualities like compassion, cooperation, empathy, intuition, sensitivity. We may give lip service to these qualities, but they have very low priority in our society. And men are still very rigidly socialized to repress these very human qualities in themselves at enormous cost to all of us. And I feel that this contempt for the feminine affects every aspect of our lives from our sexual behavior to our nation’s political priorities to our contempt for groups that are considered powerless—children, the elderly, the poor, the damaged. We desperately need human beings who share the whole range of human qualities. Men and women who can be within each of us both strong and gentle, logical and intuitive, powerful and nurturent, and we all lose and we lose very badly when we’re told one sex can have only set of human qualities and one sex only the other. We obviously end up being only half or less of what we otherwise might be. And certainly this dehumanizes all of us, men as well as women. 66:53 Advertising is one powerful force that keeps us trapped in very rigid roles and very crippling definitions of femininity and masculinity. Now it’s one of many and I’m certainly not saying that advertising is solely to blame for this. We get these messages from everywhere, from birth. But there’s no aspect of our society that’s more pervasive or more persuasive than advertising. Now when you have this kind of definition of femininity – the passive submissive definition – and this kind of brutal image of masculinity, inevitably of course this leads to violence. It leads to violence in real life and it leads to violence. It leads to violence in real life and we certainly see a great deal of violent images throughout the popular culture. 67:47 There’s been a trend in recent years that I call the romantic stranger. In these ads the woman is outdoors, alone, there’s a shadowy figure in the background and always the idea is that a romance is about to take place. This one says, “Let the adventure begin.” Now, I think I speak for most women here today when I say that when I’m outdoors alone and there’s a shadowy figure lurking in the background, romance is the last thing on my mind. So what this does and what ads like this do, is they eroticize violence. The research is absolutely clear that violent images affect us, there is no doubt about that. These violent images make some people more aggressive, they desensitize just about everybody, they make most people more likely to blame the victim. And the most dangerous thing to do is to eroticize violence, when you link sex violence, that’s the most dangerous. And that, of course, happens over and over again. Often it’s hard to tell – is this an embrace? Or an attack? And, of course, is it coincidental that the man is black? There’s more of this than ever before as there are more ads that imply that women want to be forced to have sex. This ad ran in a teen magazine, it’s for a perfume called Fetish and the copy says, “Apply generously to your neck so he can smell the scent as you shake your head ‘no’.” So the ad is clearly saying that girls don’t mean it when they say no and also that boys are animals, that they can’t control themselves once they smell the scent. 69:12 Perhaps most dangerous are the alcohol ads that objectify women and that link alcohol with sex and violence because alcohol is so often linked with sexual violence. It’s not the cause, but it’s often a contributing factor. It’s not the cause, sexism is the cause, but it’s often a contributing factor. Many ads these days feature women in bondage, symbolic or otherwise. Some ads normalize and trivialize battering. And battering is the single greatest cause of injury to women in America. More women are injured every year by being beaten by the men they live with than by all rapes, car crashes, muggings combined. Now this is a terrible fact for all of us but until we face it we’re not going to be able to do anything about it. The truth is most men are not violent. Overwhelmingly most men are not violent but many men are afraid to speak out against it, are afraid to support women, are afraid to challenge other men. 70:08 Some ads even seem to depict murder and one third of all the women who are murdered in our country are killed by their male partners, their husbands. We also get a lot of violence in music videos and films including the slasher films and of course, in the video games. Grand Theft Auto, one of the most popular video games of all time, in this the gamer can steal a car, have sex with a prostitute in the back seat of the car, drag her out of the car and kill her in a variety of ways. This is an incredibly popular video game. This is not on the fringe. Grand Theft Auto 4 sold six million copies in its first week for a total haul of $500 million, ahead of all but 16 titles in the history of film. So, what can we do about all of this? Well the first step is to become aware, to pay attention and to recognize that this affects all of us. These are public health problems that I’m talking about. The obsession with thinness is a public health problem. The tyranny of the ideal image of beauty, violence against women, these are all public health problems that affect us all. And public health problems can only be solved by changing the environment. 71:21 We need a lot of citizen activism, education, discussion, media literacy, we need to work together to change the norms and change the attitudes. People often ask me what gives me hope given how long I’ve been doing this and how little has changed. As I said before I feel hopeful because I’m no longer alone. I’m also hopeful because scientific research has confirmed what I felt in my heart so may years ago. I just knew that these images were harmful, that they affected selfesteem, and I believed that objectification contributed to violence but there was no research then, no evidence but now there is plenty of it. And you’ll find some of the this research on my website and in the study guide for this film. And I’m hopeful because there’ve been some signs of progress around the world. Some things have happened that I wouldn’t have believed possible 30 or 40 years ago when I was first talking about this and trying to get people to talk about this and trying to get people to take it seriously. 72:14 In Madrid in 2006 the fashion industry said they would stop using models below a certain body mass index. And more recently Spain announced its updating and standardizing women’s sizes and taking other measure to help women be more selfaccepting. Brigitta, Germany’s most popular women’s magazine, announced that it is banning professional models from its pages and will only use real women from here on, real life women from here on. And very recently, politicians from the European Union have proposed a serious of measures, including labeling digitially altered models, encouraging diverse and healthy body sizes in all models, and teaching media literacy in schools. And it’s important to encourage and support such steps. Of course we need to teach media literacy in our schools but we also need to find other ways to disrupt the stories that advertisers tell us about ourselves and our relationships. Advertisers will never voluntarily change because it is profitable for them when we feel terrible about ourselves. This is not censorship this is more free speech. 73:32 One woman has created a very imaginative project called “Beautiful Just The Way You Are.” (beeping) 73:55 Of course we need to teach media literacy in our schools but we also need to find other ways to disrupt the stories that advertisers tell us about ourselves and our relationships. Advertisers will never voluntarily change because it is profitable for them when we feel terrible about ourselves. So we must speak out, protest, speak up, this is not censorship this is more free speech. One woman created a very imaginative project called “Beautiful Just The Way You Are.” If you go to this website you can order for free lots and lots of these lovely fliers, they’re one page, and then you can take them to newsstands and put them into magazines, or put them behind the magazines or newspapers or when you’re sitting in a doctor’s office, slide it into a magazine so someone is going to come across it while looking at the magazine. It’s a wonderful way to make people take notice of something that is generally kind of invisible. 74:48 Some groups have defaced ads in order to shock people into awareness. This was a billboard that said “Expect Everything.” And it was changed to read, “Expect Misogyny.” Of course, I would never advocate such a thing, you understand. Counter advertising is one way to fight back, it’s been extremely powerful in taking on the tobacco industry and in making huge changes in the way that we think about tobacco using ads like this: So counter advertising can be very, very helpful. It’s trickier with issue, but it’s not impossible. I know the Dove campaign is controversial, primarily because Dove is owned by Unilever, which also owns Axe, and Axe is known, of course, for its outrageously sexist and stupid commercials. Ads like this: This ad suggests that Axe can cure your hangover after binge drinking and scrub away the skank you slept with accidently. So that’s Axe. And it is owned by Unilever, which owns Dove. But the people at Dove have no say about what goes on over at Axe. And some of the Dove commercials are actually quite good. This one features a series of little girls, here it says: “Thinks she’s fat.” And the copy says, “So may little girls want to change everything about themselves, all we want to change is their minds. We can help every little girl see how beautiful she really is. “ So it’s very helpful to have counter advertising, helpful to have more positive images in advertising, such as a little girl who’s been active and powerful. And it’s important to applaud the positive images and to protest the damaging ones. But most important is to get involved in whatever way moves us to change not just these ads but these attitudes that run so deep in our culture and that affect each one of us so deeply whether we’re conscious of it or not. 76:45 The changes have to be profound and global and be able to depend upon an aware, active and educated public – a public that thinks of itself primarily as citizens rather than primarily as consumers. It can be frightening to speak out, to stand up in this way but as more and more do this – men and women – It can be frightening to speak out, to stand up in this way but as more and more do this – men and women – find the courage to do this, the environment will change. And whats’ at stake for all of us – women and men – is our ability to have authentic and freely chosen lives. Thank you very much. 77:30 Jean Kilbourne Q&A Session: Q: I was hoping you could explain this a little further, because I was caught thinking about it during the lecture. You said that often body parts of women are depicted solely without a face. So when the face is then shown, there’s a consumer model on the beach making a similar face-A: The model can still be an object, and often is, even if the face is shown. I’m not saying that if the face is shown that she’s not necessarily - she can still be a sex object, she can still be objectified. But it’s even more dehumanizing to show just one part of a body part rather than to show the whole person. Q: The world’s so cluttered with so many of these messages. What would your advice – aside from awareness – be to parents and to those who have younger boys and girls that are having to deal with these issues such as peer pressure and the other issues of society coming down on them to be as skinny as a board, to look or act a certain way? A: My little commercial here – you can buy my books: So Sexy So Soon. But that’s just one idea. I think that it’s extraordinarily important for parents to start talking with their children really early on. Advertisers and researchers have found that babies at the age of 6 months can recognize corporate logos, and that’s the age of which they’re now starting to target children. At the age of 6 months, and they’re using all kinds of sophisticated techniques. It’s important to start talking to children about all these issues and about ads and everything else with your children starting early on. And to create a kind of climate in which your child knows that he or she can ask about anything and you will do your best to give a response. But it’s really – one of the reasons I say this is a public health issue is it’s way beyond the ability of parents to be able to deal with this you know, individually. We can’t save our children child by child house by house. It’s really extraordinarily important that we work to create a safer environment – a healthier environment – for all children. Now some countries in the European Union, for example, totally ban all advertising aimed at children, and that would be something I could get behind, because the research has found that children cannot process this stuff. They are developmentally incapable of really processing and understanding this. It’s difficult enough for adults – children cannot – so it seems incredibly unfair to allow them to be targeted in this way. So that would be one thing that would help parents in their job. And another would be to teach media literacy, and accurate, honest, ageappropriate sex education in our schools. There is a resource list on my website as I mentioned, and there’s a whole section for parents. Jean Kilbourne Second Takes :39 I started collecting ads in the late 1960s. Many aspects of my life led to this interest: my involvement with the Women’s Movement, which was just taking off at that time; my interest in the media; some experiences I had as a model. I didn’t intend to create a career, let alone launch a field of study, but that is what happened. [messed up versions in between] 2:19 I started collecting ads in the late 1960s. Many aspects of my life led to this interest: my involvement with the Women’s Movement, which was just taking off at that time; my interest in the media; some experiences I had as a model. I didn’t intend to create a career, let alone launch a field of study, but that is what happened. 3:46 [probably the best of the three] I started collecting ads in the late 1960s. Many aspects of my life led to this interest: my involvement with the Women’s Movement, which was just taking off at that time; my interest in the media; some experiences I had as a model. I didn’t intend to create a career, let alone launch a field of study, but that is what happened. 4:26 The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on people younger than 18 more than tripled in the past decade. Breast augmentation increased by six fold. 5:12 The more guilty women are made to feel about eating, the more erotic the food ads become. 5:30 How bad do you want it? 6:09 Although more boys and young men are experiencing body image problems now than in the past, boys and men as a group don’t suffer from the same societal expectations about appearance that girls and women do. 6:56 Although more boys and young men are suffering body image problems now than in the past, boys and men as a group don’t suffer from the same societal expectations about appearance – the need to count calories to watch their weight – the way that women and girls do. 9:17 We see this kind of thing happening all over the world. 9:59 Women are told that it’s sexy to be like a little girl, and grown women are constantly infantilized in advertising through fashion, body language…. 11:19 This is happening in a culture in which at least 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused during their childhood. This is a problem of staggering proportion. We’re just beginning to realize the full extent. Images like this don’t cause this problem, but they do contribute to it. They create a climate in which it becomes increasingly acceptable to look upon children in this way. 12:18 This is happening in a culture in which at least 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused during their childhood. This is a problem of staggering proportion. We’re just beginning to realize the full extent. Images like this don’t cause this problem, but they do contribute to it. 12:57 A visitor from another planet – just looking at our popular culture - would have to arrive at two conclusions: the first is that sex is by far the most important aspect of life…is all that really matters. And the second is that sex and sexuality belong only to the young and beautiful. If you’re not young and perfect looking, you have no sexuality. 13:49 [comparing “is” versus “are”] This is happening in a culture in which at least 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused during their childhood. This is a problem of staggering proportion. We’re just beginning to realize the full extent. Images like this don’t cause this problem, but they do contribute to it. 14:25 In this ad for BMW, we have a very young girl, and the copy says, “You know you’re not the first.” 14:44 This ad for BMW features a girl who certainly looks very young, and the copy says, “You know you’re not the first.” 15:33 More important, there really aren’t consequences for men as a result of objectification in the ways that there are for women. Men don’t live in a world in which they’re likely to be raped, harassed, or beaten – or at least straight white men don’t live in such a world, whereas women and girls do. 16:19 Do you want to be the one she tells her deep, dark secrets to, or do you want to be her deep dark secret? And this ad is clearly saying to young men that you should be her deep dark secret. But the truth is if you’re a man who wants an intimate relationship with a woman – and most men do – you better be the one she tells her deep dark secrets to. You really can’t have a successful intimate relationship if you can’t communicate. If you can’t be vulnerable. If you can’t tell each other your secrets. 17:46 And this contempt for the feminine affects every aspect of our lives: from our sexual behavior, to our nation’s political priorities. To our contempt and disregard for those considered powerless: the poor, children, the elderly, the damaged. 18:38 We need men and women who can be within each of us both strong and gentle. Logical and intuitive. Powerful and nurturing. 19:51 People often ask me what give me hope, given how long I’ve been doing this and how little has changed. As I said before, I feel hopeful because I’m no longer alone, and I’m hopeful because scientific research has confirmed what I felt in my heart so many years ago. 20:16 And I’m hopeful because scientific research has confirmed what I felt in my heart so many years ago. I just knew, then, that these images caused harm. That they led to low self-esteem. That objectification led to violence. But there was no research – no evidence. Now there is. There’s a lot of it. 21:14 This ad suggests that acts can ‘cure your hangover,’ after a night of binge drinking, and ‘scrub away the skank you slept with accidentally.’ 21:49 It’s important to applaud the positive images, and to protest the damaging ones. But most important is to get involved in whatever way moves us, to change not just these ads, but these attitudes that run so deep in our culture, and that effect each one of us so deeply – whether we’re conscious of it or not. 23:04 And it is important to have positive images in advertising – they can be very helpful. 24:43 This cooptation of liberation has been going on for a long time. Advertisers always find ways to turn any movement for radical change into just another way to sell a product. 25:14 There’s a world of difference between the objectification of men and the objectification of women. For one thing, when men are objectified, they’re almost always bigger, stronger, more powerful; whereas when women are objectified, we tend to be weaker, more fragile, more vulnerable, smaller. 26:12 Whereas when women are objectified, women tend to be smaller, fragile, vulnerable, less powerful. 26:55 [transitions] For example, this ad... Here’s another example… 27:47 When I started, ads were mostly in magazines, newspapers, on television, billboards. But of course in recent years there has been an explosion of advertising. These days, ads are everywhere. The internet, Facebook, videogames, in our schools and public spaces, on airplanes, on snowboards. 30:07 Recently, Brigitte – Germany’s most popular women’s magazine – announced that it was going to stop using professional models entirely in its pages and will only use real life women instead. 31:21 Lauren Phoenix - star of scores of porn films - sells tube socks to teens in American Apparel ads, and porn queen Jenna Jameson has launched her own line of clothing. 31:52 I started collecting ads in the late 1960s. Many aspects of my life led to this interest: my involvement in the Women’s Movement, which was just taking off at that time; my interest in the media; some experiences I had as a model. I didn’t intend to create a career, or to launch a field of study, but that is what happened.