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.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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10 Outfits Every College Girl Wears To Class At Least Once

You can thank me later.

It's happened on more than one occasion.

The occasion of being called out more than once for dressing down for class and by "down" I mean some of the haters we hate to love claiming that they can't see the shorts we're wearing under the oversized band tee on our way to class.

Contrary to popular belief, yes I'm not oblivious to how my choice of outfits for class tends to shift on the more comfortable side and yes, I am aware that it looks like I'm not wearing pants, I like it that way.

Every girl in college wears what they feel is comfortable enough to wear in a 2-hour lecture and these are my ideas of comfort.

1. The infamous oversized tee with Nike shorts.

I'll say it right now, I have a variety of assorted Soffee and Nike shorts that I pair with almost every oversized tee I own and it's my go-to for those 8 AM math lectures.

2. Oversized tee with leggings and riding boots.

Once the first red, yellow and orange leaf is found on campus grounds, you know you're about to see a swarm of college girls, like me, sporting riding boots in every shade of brown. Jeans optional.

3. Oversized tee with leggings and rain boots.

Once the first rainfall hits campus, you better believe you'll see this same 'fit paired with Hunter boots in almost every color.

4. The "I'm going to the gym right after class, I SWEAR" look.

Whether or not I have plans to go to the gym after class or not, I'm probably in my gym gear 4 times of the week and I'm not ashamed by it.

5. Jeans.

I've always had a hate/hate relationship with wearing jeans when I absolutely do not have to and here's why: they make my derriere completely disappear. When (and if) you catch me wearing jeans in lecture hall it's probably because someone paid me a large sum of money to do so.

6. Your boyfriend's flannel paired with... you guessed it, your favorite pair of leggings.

This is probably one of the many flannels I've stolen from my boyfriend and certainly not the last one. Paired with another favorite standard black leggings, you can't go wrong with this outfit to snooze in.

7. The baseball hat and quarter zip ensemble.

One of my all times favorites, you can't go wrong with a zipper up 3x too big for your body and a baseball hat you honestly forgot where you got it from. We also can't forget our infamous black leggings.

8. Your "walk of shame" outfit.

Now, this doesn't mean you roll up to Intro to Psychology wearing what you wore to the lacrosse mixer the night before, no. This is more of the outfit you so quickly had to throw on in a span of two minutes because you left so and so's apartment downtown an hour too late.

9. A v-neck.

Another one of my favorites.

10. Dresses (or anything even relatively formal).

Disclaimer: I personally would never come to class wearing this but gigantic kudos to cute a** girls that do decide to wear this because you look good.

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'Sissy, Why is That Boy Wearing Makeup?'

June is time to celebrate equality.


This past weekend, I went to the mall with my family. It was just a normal family excursion, and I wanted to walk into Sephora to show my mom a perfume I liked. We go inside, and my mother and I drift away from my dad and 6 year old sister, Sierra. I showed her the perfume I thought smelled amazing (Roses de Chloé) and we look for my sister and father to exit the store. As soon as we leave, my little sister grabs my hand and asks, "Sissy, why is that boy wearing makeup?"

This was the first time my little sister has ever asked about anything like this, and I wanted to make sure I gave her an answer. I turned to her and said, "Sierra, sometimes there are boys who wear makeup, and girls who may dress like boys. People are allowed to wear what they want, it doesn't matter." Sierra looks up at me, says, "Oh okay," and that was the end of it.

Sharing this experience to say, HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

So thankful to live in a country where all sexual orientations get a day to celebrate their love. That's what this world needs more of-- love. It shouldn't matter who it is, where they are from, the color on their skin, or their gender identity.

When Sierra was born, I always wondered when this conversation would come up. I wondered what I would say, how she would react to it, and how she would be exposed to it. Like I consistently preach, everything happens for a reason, and I'm glad Sierra was able to get exposure and receive an immediate answer. Love is love, and I will forever stand by that.

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