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Clearly, this research, for the most part, reflects anAmerican study conducted over ten years ago. What does this mean?Does it mean that Canadian advertisers do suffer from aninnovative lag and failed to respond to societal change? Does itmean that Canadian consumers suffer from a psychological lag andare just now becoming sensitive to the issue of women and theirportrayal in advertising? Or is it that Canadian advertisers mayhave changed the way they advertise but consumers do not perceivethe change? One can speculate, but one thing is certain: women donot believe that females are portrayed accurately orrealistically in advertising. These negative attitudes haveimportant implications for advertisers. This predispositiontoward advertising in general may limit the receptiveness to, andthus the effectiveness of, specific advertisements. Companiesusing advertising that depicts women in a narrowly defined socialor occupational context, or those using advertising with anyother inaccurate portrayals, may find that women will not only beoffended but they may reject new products or boycott existingproducts.
“Killing Us Softly 4 – Advertising’s Image of Women,” part of Jean Kilbourne’s influential and award-winning series, will be shown in Richter Hall on the Thousand Oaks campus in honor of International Women’s Day. A panel discussion will follow.
Regardless of how insulting or chauvinistic ads were towards women, people were socialized to tolerate and accept the female house-wife stereotype.
Ads in the 1950s most commonly advertised wives being completely controlled and influenced by their husbands, feminine products to help impress their husbands, cleaning products, and endless cooking and references to the benefits of staying in the kitchen.
President Calvin Coolidge and other conservative political leaders and economists of the day - such as Herbert Hoover - placed an undue emphasis on consumerism in a false sense of security that the monopolized market for new technologies would carry Americans through to unrivaled wealth and prosperity. In reality, many historians find that consumerism in the early twentieth century probably had a negative as well as a positive affect on American society; although advances in technology and home economics doubtlessly improved the quality of life for some Americans, consumerism spurred by advertisement created an illusion of demand that likewise created an overabundance of supply in automobiles and similar products. The existence of a saturated market is held as one of the heralds or causes of the Great Depression, which led many Americans to experience some of the greatest poverty and economic suffering in American history. The foundations of capitalism and modern economics - although influenced by many factors - were in large part, strengthened by the rise of advertisement and its creation of an American consumer culture.
This assignment asks you to go one step further, by examining the influence of advertising on you personally and your self-worth, but also how you believe advertising
affects other women and men. Include your ad with your essay. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO USE ASSIGNED COURSE READING(LINKED ARTICLES) TO SUPPORT YOUR ARGUMENT.
It has often been argued that Canada suffers from apsychological as well as a technological lag when compared to theUS and trends found in the US may not hold true in Canada(Firestone, 1967). It would be interesting to determine whetheror not attitudes toward the portrayal of women in advertisingfound in 1979 in the US hold true in Canada today. In 1987, TheCanadian Advertising Foundation (CAF) received over 200complaints about how women are depicted in advertising (FinancialPost, 1987). However, the CAF believes that the complaints do notrepresent the views of the average Canadian. Thus, it would seemappropriate to examine the issue using a broader sample offemales. The focus of this research is females' attitudes towardtheir portrayal in advertising and whether or not they perceive achange in the way women are depicted in advertising.
Look through recent popular magazines, hardcopies or on the Internet, and see if you can find advertisements that objectify women in order to sell a product. Or watch
some TV commercials or browse the Internet or the YouTube for some current ads. You can look for beer commercials; commercials for food, chocolate; detergents or any
house cleaning products. Study these images in the context you have chosen, then write a short paper (about 2-4 pages) about how advertising objectifies women in order
to sell products, and how this objectification creates what Gill calls “the sexualization of culture.”
For this assignment, you are asked to watch the video Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne. After viewing the video, look through recent popular magazines, hardcopies
or on the Internet, and see if you can find advertisements that objectify women in order to sell a product. Or watch some TV commercials or browse the Internet or
YouTube for some current ads. You can look for beer commercials; commercials for food, chocolate; detergents or any house cleaning products, etc. Study these images
(or image) in the context you have chosen, then write a short paper (about 2-4 pages, double spaced) about how advertising objectifies women in order to sell products,
and how this objectification creates “the sexualization of culture.” Please remember to use a formal academic structure: introduction, thesis, main body of argument(s)
All this is further complicated by the fact that, in addition to the male/female distinction, the term sex also refers to sexual behavior and sexual relationships. In the context of advertising, this latter usage of the term sex is of utmost importance because of the high degree of erotic imagery and sexual associations used in promotional messages.
1. What effect(s), if any, do you think the objectification of women’s bodies has on the Western culture? Do you think the effects are different in the Canadian
multicultural context? Explain.
2. Jean Kilbourne states “turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person.” What do you think she
means by this? Do you agree with her reasoning? Why or why not? How does the ad you have chosen relate to Kilbourne’s reasoning? Explain.
3. Why do you think that women are objectified more often than men are? Kilbourne explains that the consequences of being objectified are different – and more serious
– for women than for men. Do you agree? How is the world different for women than it is for men? How do objectified images of women interact with those in our culture
differently from the way images of men do? Why is it important to look at images in the context of the culture?
4. How is sexuality depicted in relation to race, class, age, ableness? Who is made to feel more desirable, powerful and superior? How are other races depicted?
5. What language does usually accompany the ad? What stories does the ad tell about women and their current role in society?
Throughout your written analysis, be sure to make clear and specific reference to the images you selected, the approximate timeframe in which they appeared /
broadcasted, and please submit these images (or links to them) with your paper. You can refer to 1 or all 5 questions listed above, or others found in the online Study
Guide, and/or you can add other questions to answer to, as long as you use your feminist understanding to reflect on your ad.