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Mass Media Essay

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Mass Media


The media, which is somewhat reflective of society, has become a powerful tool in shaping our culture. Advertisements are the foundation for mass media; they sell images, values, success, normalcy, and romance. Daily, we are exposed to advertisements whether they are written or commercial. Jean Kilbourne says in her 1979 video Killing Us Softly, "advertisement is part of our air pollution" (1979). Advertisements have social consequences that give them the ability to reinforce objectification of women?s bodies, and display images that may cause male violence against women, sexualize young girls, infantile grown women.

According to Gabriel Weimann author of Communicating Unreality, in advertising women and men are not treated equal, women are seen in narrowly defined roles. For example, women are seen as low-level employees, housewives and are often found selling domestic products, such as kitchen products (127). Jean Kilbourne has been studying topics like these for over twenty years; in 1979 she made her first video in a series titled Killing Us Softly. When watching the series of the three videos Killing Us Softly (1979), Still Killing Us Softly (1987) and Killing Us Softly 3 (2000), the information received in the videos doesn?t give the impression that advertisements have changed very much over the last twenty years, at least their approach has stayed similar. In 1979 up until now advertisements have focused on a women?s image, sex appeal, sexualization of young girls, infantile grown women and violence against women. The only factors that have really changed are the numbers, and more money is being spent, more people are exposed to more advertisements daily whether it be from...


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...tion: Media Literacy and Culture. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Cortese, Anthony J. Provocateur: Images of Women and Minorities in Advertising. Lanham: Rowman, 1999.

Jhally, Sut. Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising and Images of Women. Videocassette. Cambridge, 2000. 34:00 min.

Kilbourne, Jean. Can?t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel. New York: Touchstone, 1999.

Kilbourne, Jean, et all. Killing Us Softly: Advertising and Images of Women. Videocassette. Cambridge, 1979. 30:00 min.

Lazarus, Margaret. Still Killing Us Softly: Advertising and Images of Women. Videocassette. Cambridge, 1987. 32:00 min.

Walkerdine, Valerie. Daddy?s Girl: Young Girls and Popular Culture. Cambridge: Harvard, 1997.

Weimann, Gabriel. Communicating Unreality: Modern Media and the Reconstruction of Reality. California: Sage, 2000.


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