Killing Us Softly


(yeah, that’s a watch around her bicep.) 

Give this video a chance, when it starts out it looks to be outdated, but it is far from that. In 30 minutes, this woman, Jean Kilbourne paints a picture of women that makes you ashamed to be one.

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28 Responses to Killing Us Softly

  1. Francisco says:

    Hello Mama,

    My name is Francisco, I’m 17 years old, and I’m from Mexico. Eventhough I don’t have an eating disorder, I’ve been interested in this subject for a while now. I was a fan of the show “America’s Next Top Model”, and probably believed everything they said on the show UNTIL I randomly googled the name of the show and got to your video about it. I think your message is very clear and very inspiring for people who suffer from an eating disorder, and for people who don’t. You have a way of saying things that leaves me thinking “Duh, she’s damn right”, and I’m very glad that you’re using that power for a good cause.

    That video is very straight-forward, and I agree with it completely. As a guy, I can say that what advertisements give me is a feeling of inadequacy because I’m not slim or athletic; not to mention the pressure to “succeed” and eventually have Armani suits and a hot trophy wife I can show off. I don’t really look forward to any of those things, but looking at advertisements that promote that stuff almost 24/7 eventually gets to me.

    I hope you keep updating your blog 😀


  2. wanderer says:

    Brilliant video.

    Although I don’t feel shame in being a woman at all. No, I feel ANGER at this ruthless marketing and advertising business that treats human beings like objects and taunts women with images of perfection in which, as she says, “failure is inevitable.”

  3. christy says:

    I also became angry after watching this video. It is mind blowing to see such blatant dehumanization of women and yet society accepts it, even seeks more of it. It’s as if girls and women do not stand a chance against the massive influx of advertisements objectifying and devaluing the female sex.

    I am glad I watched this video. You are right mamaV about it looking a little outdated at first. But, Jean Kilbourne’s presentation is truly englightening and frightening, indeed. I was shocked and horrified by the ads showed while she was making the connection between advertising and violence against women, particularly the perfume ad that said something like, “…that way he can smell it when you are shaking your head no.” It’s sad to think that, for the sake of selling perfume, the advertisers were willing to make light of such a brutal act as rape.

  4. mel says:

    I love these videos. I’ve had to watch then in my women studies, psychology of gender, and human sexuality classes. Every time I watch them it reminds me of just how much advertising affects people in our society. Especially the way a woman views herself. I have no doubt that the media is mostly responsible for the shrinking of the “ideal woman” but that’s a slightly different story, and I don’t want to start rambling.


  5. Jane says:

    After watching this video I feel nothing more than before I watched it. The way she explained herself was good, but I feel like this is just more of the same old stuff we are shown everyday. I don’t know if this is because I’ve been sick of the way women are portrayed so badly for so long that her comments were already imbedded in my mind or what, but I wasn’t particularly impressed.

    I know this might be sickening, but, I don’t see how it’s going to change. It’s advertising like this that makes products sell, irregardless of what people would like, you are just more likely to buy something if there is the slightest chance that you will look a little better, a little thinner… which will of course lead to our inevitable happiness and sucess!

  6. Nats says:

    Same thing is being said by so many people but where are the changes?? I dont see any, in fact its now worse. Same old topic no answers.

  7. Kim says:

    Wow, she is right when we see these ads we remember them whether we want to believe it or not. What my ed self remembers from her clip was “the more you subtract, the more you ad”. Hopefully people with higher self esteem and self confidence will not remember the one statement that stands out the most to me.

  8. Jane says:

    Exactly Nats, it’s all very nice to criticise the advertisments, but unless people start acting, I really don’t care… we know that they are demeaning and whatever else, but people quite clearly aren’t all that bothered or something would have been done.

  9. mel says:

    well what about Dove? i love the Real Beauty Campaign and i think they are taking a step in the right direction.

    like with this video:

  10. Joey says:

    I love this video. It’s things we see constantly, every day, yet we don’t acknowledge what it actually MEANS.

    I, like others who have commented, are not ashamed of being a woman, but of being portrayed in such a way.
    My persona is very feminine – emotional, shy, reserved, anxious, caring – and i hate how i fit the gender stereotype even more as a result.

  11. Sass1948 says:

    wow. brilliant. thanks for making this available for us to watch. society should be inundated with talks like this. sort of like adverts against advertising! ha

  12. Jane says:

    Mel, I agree that Dove are making an effort to change perceptions of women through media. BUT that’s only one company, I’m just saying, if people like this Jean Kilbourne really wanted to make something change, they would be doing something. I understand that she’s helping to raise awareness of the problem… maybe I’m just not very sympathetic because I know what the expectations are, I know that they are unfair… but I’m sticking to my guns, most people are fooled by advertisments, they want to be the image of perfection. As long as the advertising is working, things aren’t likely to change.

  13. Omg thats so sick I felt so sick watching that video …woman are so opresssed were ever she lives in the east she should be in the kitchen and the west she is just for sex and no brains ..i mean since when did they ever show a woman reading an intresting book and just generealy looking intellegent ?

  14. Gabi says:

    Hi mama, eeerrr i didnt know where else to put this, but have you heard from Hagar in a while? i know you two email privately and stuff, but i just havent heard from her in a while….im probably being panicky but we lietrally spoken everyday since we startd speaking and she hasnt been online…or here and i know she visits here.

    but yeah if you heard from her, please let me know shes ok!

  15. .mel. says:

    Jane, i agree with you. Dove is just one company but i’m glad that someone is taking a step in the right direction. Jean Kilbourne is doing her part in that she is working at the base level of talking with smaller groups of people not whole nations. i think that the more videos like hers are shown in classes etc the more people can at least be aware of what advertising does even if they aren’t able to do anything about it. i think that awareness is the first step.

  16. Nats says:

    I agree with you Jane, one company makes no difference unless the others follow. I mean that one company will in the end cave back to what it was doing first of all unless other companies follow suit!

  17. Nats says:

    Gabi, the last time I spoke to hagar was firday afternoon, I have emailed her and wrote a post to her on here but I dont know where she is, I am also worried about her too, if you speak to her please ask her to contact me xx

  18. Gabi says:

    nats, corse i will! and same if you speak before me. i know the sumemr hols in israel havnt finished yet, so she isnt back at achool…i know sounds silly worrying cos i spoke to her on saturday and she was telling me some pretty deep stuff, but then i had to go and now nothing!

    im such a worry pots! thanks nats xxxx

  19. Nats says:

    No worries Gabi, I am so worried about her too, the lst time we sope was when I freaked out and she was helping me, I think it might have scared her or something, I feel really guilty now! Nats xxx

  20. Gabi says:

    Nats, im sre it werent you, cos when we were speaking she was telling me about her…..unless she freaked herself….gosh i hate talking about her like this, but im worried. i thought i was being dumb worrying cos it had only been a few days, ut you know when you go from speaking pratically everyday to not at all, afte a deep convo can kinda b worrying…spesh as us lot arent exactly the best with dealing with things lol. also if anyone esle hears from her please let me and nats know!!!!!!

    nats if you ever wanna chat email me (or add me if you have msn lol)…

  21. Nats says:

    cool ill add you to messenger Gabi :)

  22. Nats says:

    And Gabi I agree with you, when you talk to someone everyday then you suddenly dont hear from them at all it does scare you and I am worried about Hagar too! I wish she would get in touch soon even if its not for long just a quick ehello or something so we know she is ok.



  23. Gabi says:

    nats, i got an email saying you added me on yahoo…i dont have yahoo…er can we still chat on msn?

  24. Nats says:

    Yeah you should be able to use msn with yahoo. if not then ill email you :)
    but amie is on msn and managed to talk ok babe xx

  25. hagar says:

    I was away… In Eilat… i was supposed to be having the time of my life… I didn’t really… But I tried a lot
    I feel really bad for not letting you know about it… I think I told you but I might not have… Gabi, Nats, I am really s**** (i’ts banned haha).
    I didn’t want to make you panic, I really didn’t. I know it’s really careless of me, I really feel bad about it. I thought about you all the time in my holidays I couldn’t wait to talk to you again! How have you two been? I’ll talk to you two on msn\yahoo…
    But until then (I might not be online when you two will) I am ok. I mean I could be way better, but you know what I mean. I have been feeling very sick, nasuea all the time, chest pains and tummy pains and headaches and all that shit. I have had some very scary things but I am ok now =] I’m going to be better =]
    Bye honeys I wuv u haha =P

  26. panda07 says:

    This woman is wonderful……and right.

  27. alternative says:

    This comment is rather general to this blog and less specific to this post. But I have to write it, maybe it helps somebody somewhere to find herself.
    I am not ashamed of being a WOMAN. Not now not never. My life is a protest against this kind of advertisement, every womans live is.
    I am a very in your face woman. I don’t hold back my intelligence and I have a sharp mouth. I deal hard blows and I won’t hold back and look pretty, because some men are uncomfortable with that. I am confronting so get your sword up and take defense position. I rather would like you start counterattacking, much more fun there. I am not tall, nor am I small. I am a definite pear with defined bosom and not small hips. I do not look like any model by far. I am a brunet and do not wear makeup most of the time, nor high heels, nor do I have long hair and my clothing is more practical than sexy. And now the important part why I write this.
    GIRLS I have more men interested in me than I care to have. I have a boyfriend now for 13 years (marriage is not important to us, just as a byline). And even if I do not seek to change my bf, I could have time and time again. Not because I am special, not because I am beautiful, not because of anything else, than because I am unashamedly me. As I am. Not thin, not submissive, sometimes harsh and always willing to laugh at everything, myself included.
    My experiences with men show me. Men like women with curves. Women you can go to a restaurant with and who eat, with joy. Women who talk back and have interesting things to tell. Women who have personalities and can make 4 hours at a restaurant fly away so you have to meet them again and again and again, to hear all the stories and all the interesting things they tell. This has nothing to do with intelligence, but with having a live and interests not centered on beauty products and the best way to diet, both themes, which bore men to tears.
    You can have a career (which I have too, by the way), a boyfriend/husband and a life, without being thin, totally groomed and beautiful. Success against all advertisement comes to the imperfect ones too. Live is too be lived now, not in a unforeseeable bright future, when everything is perfect.

  28. Kim says:

    My true first response when I see this is that I am envious. I have to fight these thoughts because my reality is that I still want this.

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