Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Killing Us Softly

During our last class, we discussed the issue of women's portrayal in media as well as society's consequent pressure on women to be perfect. Even throughout the comics we have read, all the female characters had a seemingly perfect body, all having attractive features. Regardless of what one's views may be on this idea, I'm sure we have all experienced some sort of insecurity at one point or another in our lifetime. Regardless of what this insecurity may have been or what may have triggered it, whether it was the model being portrayed in advertisements or the perfect character in a comic, I think we can all agree that the feeling of inadequacy, imperfection, and ultimate failure that resulted from such insecurities really, really sucked.

If you have an extra 45 minutes to spare, I would highly suggest you take the time to watch these following clips because we've all been there:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ujySz-_NFQa
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4-1xCf3I7U

Throughout these videos, Jean Kilbourne (the speaker) updates her Killing Us Softly series, reexamining how she believes advertising distorts the ideals of femininity. She does so in a humorous, but very accurate way that allows one to see the link between pop culture and sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence. In pointing out these relationships, Kilbourne doesn't "bash men" or the companies who's advertisements these are, but continues in her attempt to launch a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these very problems.

Do you agree and think our society has a problem with what it deems as ideal? Have you seen this through the comics we've read thus far? Is there any way to escape such ideals that are seemingly everywhere? And do you think creating videos such as this one truly helps educate society and brings about reform, or is it just a waste?

So, the next time you're staring at an an ad or reading a comic in another FWS feeling guilty for not having such perfect abs, such silky hair or such clear skin, remember that "failure is inevitable because the ideal is based on absolute flawlessness, and the most important aspect of such flawlessness is that it can not be achieved. No one looks like [the person] in the ad - not even the [person, him or herself.]"

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