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Media Portrayal of Women

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Killing Us Softly Reflection
One of the films that struck me the most was “Killing Us Softly”, the documentary on how advertising and the media as a whole, in general, can basically control this entire world. Sounds a bit drastic, but I really believe that this statement is true because of disgusting incidents that happen throughout the world from media portrayal today. The documentary effectively demonstrated how easy it is for advertising to send across various different hidden messages that can cause tremendous effects like bulimia, rapes, murders, disrespect towards women, and several other things that would lower a women’s self esteem level.
The documentary portrays women in such a way that it is derogatory. It sets a medium for women on what the perfect figure should look like. For example, since decades, the media has been showing women who barely weigh 110 pounds as an ideal weight to be. Don’t you think every girl who weighs over 110 pounds is going to try to do the impossible and attempt to fit into what society thinks is the norm? All due to the fact that the media has embedded it into our subconscious minds that this is acceptable. The more exposure we get of something, the more acceptable it becomes in our society, whether it’s wrong or right.
Personally, I’ve realized that the media brought about even my style of dressing. If you see a commercial on TV or in a magazine for a shirt you thought looked good, wouldn’t you buy it? I know I would. I guess that’s my problem. “Killing Us Softly” relates to several other works studied in the course. For example, in “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter” the media basically controlled every American society by turning women into the reciprocal of what they were used to being. The film also shows that if media were used in a constructive way, it would help tremendously to solve the many problems of racism and sexism that were also mentioned in this course. For instance, if there were commercials on how African Americans are treated differently than whites when applying for a job or doing anything for that matter, maybe people would start feeling guilty for being so narrow minded. If there were advertisements of women being equal instead of inferior in front of men, women would probably be viewed with more respect, which could even lead to equality in the payroll department.
More often than not, women are displayed as “sex symbols” from the media. They are merely sex objects, as one will to call it. There is such an emphasis on the female body. It is used to sell literally anything pertaining or not pertaining to what is actually being advertised. They say a women’s body is to look like an hourglass, which, for example, would be symbolized by a coke bottle. The impacts of objectification on women’s self-image can be lasting. After being objectified, the damage can continue if we apply to ourselves the beauty standards that others have used to judge us. Particularly after someone uses our looks in an attempt to shame us, women often self objectify, (seeing our bodies as objects that exist for the pleasure of others) for some time afterwards. This only solidifies that the female body is an object rather than a person and the dehumanization of women is allowed because the media portrays for it to be acceptable.
I think this was an eye opening documentary because I always knew that the media had a great amount of influence on consumers, but I never stopped to think twice about how powerful it could be. Whether it is in a positive way or negative. Some people think that because they do not watch television it does not affect them, but no matter where you go, you are surrounded or exposed to advertisements. It’s something we need to be aware of to acknowledge the good and bad of these ads.

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