I can’t recall who tweeted this link a few days ago (sorry!) but when I clicked and started viewing the video, many random thoughts flew through my consciousness. I’ll attempt to bring these thoughts together in a coherent whole:
The video discusses what advertising says about women, and how it’s most important what they look like. When Jean Kilbourne (the speaker in the video) mentions how advertising and the media show is the “ideal” women are expected to achieve, I agree whole-heartedly. It’s insane the number of images we see every day, in magazines, in movies and more, where the woman is drop-dead gorgeous, no flaws, and no pores, as Kilbourne points out. And of course, forget feeling guilty when you don’t like that, it just arouses feelings of shame within you. Ashamed of failing and of not being “beautiful”. Women base their entire self-worth on how they look, thinking no one will like them if they don’t fit that ideal. Heaven knows I felt like that constantly in my teenage years, where it was so bad I couldn’t even bear to look at myself in the mirror because I didn’t look anything like the women I’d see in advertisements every day (I still don’t!!!). While that constant sense of zero self-esteem doesn’t exist anymore for me, even now in depressed moments I feel butt-ugly.
And in the video…making Jessica Alba look smaller?! Ummm she’s really small already! Leave some curves on the woman, for heaven’s sake!
Objectification of women is another issue. The video shows women’s bodies morphed onto alcohol bottles and cars; things like that. Self-esteem is one thing, but violence towards women is potentially a result of ads like these. Definitely not a direct causal link, as the video points out, turning a person into a “thing” is just the first step towards justifying violence towards him/her. A slight detour here, albeit related; this is a tweet I posted yesterday…read the article and tell me you’re not shocked by what lad’s mags are promoting:
— Devina Divecha (@DevinaDivecha) December 11, 2011
A bit of Googling led me to this quote in an article also written by Kilbourne:
A recent Wall Street Journal survey of students in four Chicago-area schools found that more than half the fourth-grade girls were dieting and three-quarters felt they were overweight. One student said, “We don’t expect boys to be that handsome. We take them as they are.” Another added, “But boys expect girls to be perfect and beautiful. And skinny.”
What that student said? Yeah. Many women and men believe in that concept. So we spend a lot of time trying to fit that ideal that men often want in their partners. So listen up women: if the man tells you you’re fat and he’ll dump you if you don’t lose weight, YOU dump HIS sorry ass.
Looking good and feeling good about yourself is different from your body size. Yes, being obese is a health issue…I will not deny it, so it’s important to take care of youreslf and make sure you don’t face cholestrol issues or diabetes or something. But even if you have a few lumps here and there, even if your body isn’t that perfect hourglass…it doesn’t mean you’re not healthy! Focus on your health, then your body size.
EDIT: After reading my post, this is what a friend on Twitter posted, and I whole-heartedly agree with what she said.
I think every magazine should include a non-airbrushed version of the front cover inside the magazine. That would be interesting.
— Miss N (@movie_mafia) December 13, 2011
Other posts on my blog related to women’s issues:
- Of Pink Pants and Eve Teasing
- Female Foeticide in India
- Yet Another Bane: Child Marriage
- Link to: The women’s gangs of India