Food For Thought: Killing Us Softly

Photo thanks to syafira2191

Hey y’all! I am currently 4 days into NaNoWriMo, and it’s really challenging! Last night, making myself write 1,600 words was like forcing a three year old to eat their vegetables. But to have 11 pages of a novel written? What a great feeling. I’m going to keep pushing through, and report back soon. Anyone who is participating, best of luck! I hope you’re doing well. Please chime in a comment about what gets you through! :)

As I’m heading toward the weekend, I wanted to stop in and share some “food for thought”. I’m taking a sociology of gender class this semester, and it has really opened my eyes to the world. A few weeks ago, our teacher shared a film with us: “Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women”. The filmmaker, Jean Kilbourne, has been making these films for several years. In them, she explores the way that the media portrays women, and investigates how these images affect the treatment of women in our society.

I truly believe these films should be “required watching” for everyone. Even if you’re not compelled to take action after watching, at least you’ll be examining advertising with a more critical lens.

I couldn’t find a copy of Killing Us Softly 4 online, but Documentary Heaven hosts Killing Us Softly 3, a version (still relevant!) made in the early 90’s. I watched about half of this one, and much of the material was identical to that in #4. I would encourage you to watch this version in the absence of a copy of #4 because it explores the same issues!

And here is the trailer for #4:

I hope you find these perspectives interesting, and thought-provoking. I certainly did. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Have a very happy weekend everyone!


7 thoughts on “Food For Thought: Killing Us Softly”

  1. Interesting. I had never heard of this before. I was glad you recommended it. I never really thought about advertisements that way before. However, I disagree with the woman on the subject of how ads affect men. She doesn’t think they do, except for their masculinity. I completely disagree. Since I currently teach twelve and thirteen year olds, I can say first hand that the boys are very much aware of their bodies and how they stack up compared to others. Hell, I date a 23 year old and even he is very self-conscious. Most men, I think, are just as body conscious as girls are. And I definitely think that stems from the media.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! I found the videos really fascinating. I didn’t watch #3 in its entirety, so I’m not familiar with the concept of men and their body-consciousness that the video talks about, but I definitely would have to agree with you. I think that men definitely learn a great deal from advertisements – about how they’re meant to behave, about what is perceived as attractive, what kinds of behaviours are more “masculine”, what body types are the ideal, etc. I totally agree with you there.

      I think it would be really interesting to study how exactly advertisements affect men and their body image. But I think too that some of the ideas that these ads portray (de-humanizing women, turning them into objects, the portrayal of violence against women in ads, etc) are really very serious. Yes, boys are affected by ads, but the ads aren’t de-humanizing men or showing violence towards them, which is a more serious matter I think.

      These videos are definitely thought-provoking and sort of scary, don’t you think?! Ps how is Nano :)

      1. Ah, Nano. I started off alright but then decided I didn’t like my idea anymore. I had a new idea that had recently popped into my head and was dying to be written. Plus, the original one was fantasy, which requires a lot more planning and thinking than one month really allows. So I started anew this weekend, which means I’m quite behind. However, I’ve decided that as long as I keep at it for the whole month, I’m considering it a win.

        How’s it going for you?

        1. It’s going pretty well! I’m probably not churning out anything magical, but I’ve been proud of myself for churning it out at least. I’m sorry to hear you had to ditch your first idea but maybe that’s a good thing since you got such a great new one! And I totally agree with you – if you just keep going every day then you’re winning. At least that’s how I see it! :) Good luck Rin!!

  2. I totally agree with you that people should be required to watch this, it’s so eye opening. As someone who literally plasters her walls with fashion editorials and ads, it’s interesting to consider what kind of subconscious effect these images of “perfections” might have. You have to remind yourself that not all people do or should like this. Great post!

    1. Yeah it’s all driven by companies who want to sell things! So the images you see of those women are completely manufactured to sell something. It’s totally scary. It’s definitely good to evaluate critically what we’re seeing. Glad you liked the videos! There’s another, called Miss Representation that looks amazing but I haven’t been able to see yet.

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