How Our Image Of Ourselves And Our Worth Are Twisted Every Day

How Our Image Of Ourselves And Our Worth Are Twisted Every Day

I never realized how much control business had one my feelings of self-worth until I watched "Killing Us Softly" with Jean Kilbourne.


I wouldn't consider myself a die-hard feminist. I am all for women's equality and some of the most impressive and interesting people I know are women.

I think where I get turned off by feminism is the blame. We accuse men sometimes but often just our larger community of wronging us. The reality is, we can't blame ourselves. We have been fed these ideas of how both women and men should be every day of our lives through billboards, commercials, television shows and inside grocery stores.

The commercial industry uses our self-image to make money off of us. If we thought we were good enough and didn't need to change, we wouldn't buy their products. To sell us their merchandise, they have to make us feel like we must have it; like it is so important that it is life or death. This isn't just for girls!! Even though girls are a huge target in the world of advertisement, we see it with boys as well. It isn't fair towards anyone.

I've heard these statements before, and they made sense, yet I never realized how much control business had one my feelings of self-worth until I watched "Killing Us Softly" with Jean Kilbourne for my Sociology course.

For decades now, media and other forms of advertisement have thrived off the vulnerability of the self-image of American women. This can be seen anywhere from a “Calvin Klein” shirt on a thin stick model, an actress with seemingly flawless skin in a makeup commercial, or a picture of a girl wearing a “Victoria’s Secret” bra without a stretch mark in sight. Killing Us Softly is a film in which Jean Kilbourne exposes the hidden messages being sent to women in advertisements we see thousands of times a day.

Kilbourne provides the perspective that it isn’t the bra, the shirt, or the makeup that will make us happy or allow women to love themselves, however, that is what the media wants us to believe. The purpose of the film Killing Us Softly is to counteract the false message that we women have ingrained in their minds. If we are not exactly like these models, using their products, and appearing a specific way, we are not worthy or acceptable.

Gender socialization can be summarized as one developing as an individual through learning their appropriate role and attitude given to one’s sex. This societal idea of how women and men should act tends to have harsh consequences for both genders.

From a young age, girls and boys are separated by how they dress, the toys they play with, and how they are treated. Men, for example, grow up being taught that being physically strong, large in stature, dominating, and able to take charge are the characteristics one should strive for to be masculine. The film provides evidence of this in a photo of a male model who is shown with large muscles, confidence in his facial expression, and a visible sense of aggression in his body language.

This can be harmful to men because they grow up thinking that they can't be emotional and that if they fail or are not successful, they are worthless, which just isn't true.

Within the film Killing Us Softly, girls are frequently given the different distinct expectations and gender roles. Girls are expected to be classy, but not too square, innocent but experienced, beautiful but not fake, and quiet as well as confident.

These standards can be absolutely impossible and can be draining for girls that are expected to meet them. Kilbourne teaches us that women are taught to be, “passive, vulnerable and that it is sexy to be like a little girl.” This is seen through a plethora of photos where women are on the verge of starvation, dressed as children, objectified by their body parts, and photoshopped to perfection.

For example, one photo that struck me was one of a model who embodied the desirable female characteristics of our culture.I thought, "wow she looks great." I later learned she had died of anorexia trying to maintain a career in the modeling industry. This provided proof that our bodies are incapable of fitting these standards of size.

We were not born aspiring to resemble these images seen in advertisements, but we learn that we ought to be like them through our gender socialization.

These women of all generations who are exposed to these lies and societal demands are left feeling unattractive, hopeless, and insufficient. Girls are not born wearing makeup, designer clothes, jewelry, or perfectly toned.

However, the media tells us we should not only have their products but portray ourselves in a way that mirrors their definition of beauty. The ironic thing is, we love and accept babies when they begin their lives for their uniqueness, chunky baby fat, and being unconditionally themselves. As they grow and are socialized by being exposed to media’s ideals, these same babies learn to be ashamed of themselves and that who they are ought to be changed.

I liked this film because it awakes the audience to the lies being told to each of us daily. Being a girl, watching this movie I was shown certain realities that brought about anger inside me that I didn’t know I should have.

Jean Kilbourne provides evidence to back up her argument that not only gives her credibility but provokes intense emotions from the audience as it did me. Though she may not be able to change how the media distorts our views, she has been able to impact several hearts such as mine and give some relief to all of us softly killing ourselves to be something we are not.

Once we have an awareness of the intentions behind advertisements, and we reject these false roles we are taught to embody; we gain freedom in loving ourselves and believing in our worth as an individual.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.

My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Wore A Butt Mask Every Day For A Month, And It's Officially Essential In My Daily Self-Love Routine Now

Thirty days later, my booty's as smooth as a baby's.

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments