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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20 Small Tattoos With Big Meanings

Tattoos with meaning you can't deny.

It's tough to find perfect tattoos with meaning.

You probably want something permanent on your body to mean something deeply, but how do you choose a tattoo that will still be significant in 5, 10, 15, or 50 years? Over time, tattoos have lost much of their stigma and many people consider them a form of art, but it's still possible to get a tattoo you regret.

So here are 20 tattoos you can't go wrong with. Each tattoo has its own unique meaning, but don't blame me if you still have to deal with questions that everyone with a tattoo is tired of hearing!

SEE RELATED: "Please Stop Asking What My Tattoos Mean"

1. A semicolon indicates a pause in a sentence but does not end. Sometimes it seems like you may have stopped, but you choose to continue on.

2. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor."

3. Top symbol: unclosed delta symbol which represents open to change. Bottom symbol: strategy.

4. "There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls."

5. Viking symbol meaning "create your own reality."

6. Greek symbol of Inguz: Where there's a will, there's a way.

7. Psalm 18:33 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights."

8. 'Ohm' tattoo that represents 4 different states of consciousness and a world of illusion: waking (jagrat), dreaming (swapna), deep sleep (sushupti), transcendental state (turiya) and world of illusion (maya).

9. Alchemy: symbolizes copper, means love, balance, feminine beauty, and artistic creativity.

10. The Greek word “Meraki" means to do something with soul, passion, love, and creativity or to put yourself into whatever you do.

11. Malin (Skövde, Sweden) – you have to face setbacks to be able to go forward.

12. Symbol meaning "thief" from "The Hobbit." It was the rune Gandalf etched into Bilbo's door so the dwarves could find his house.

13. “Lux in tenebris" means “light in darkness."

14. Anchor Tattoo: symbolizing strength and stability, something (or someone) who holds you in place, and provides you the strength to hold on no matter how rough things get.

15."Ad Maiora" is translated literally as “Towards greater things." It is a formula of greeting used to wish more success in life, career or love.

16. A glyph means “explore." It was meant as a reminder for me to never stop exploring.

17. "Aut inveniam viam aut faciam," meaning roughly, "Either I shall find a way, or I will make one."

18. Lotus Flower. It grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment.

19. The zen (or ensō) circle to me represents enlightenment, the universe and the strength we all have inside of us.

20. Two meanings. The moon affirms life. It looks as if it is constantly changing. Can remind us of the inconsistency of life. It also symbolizes the continuous circular nature of time and even karma.

SEE ALSO: Sorry That You're Offended, But I Won't Apologize For My Tattoos

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What's Up With Love and Hip Hop Atlanta

Skin color issues, parenting issues, cave man issues and more...


So, I managed to peep the episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, which aired on April 15th. Tokyo Vanity went to meet a trainer, Ace. He told her what she should and shouldn't eat. Che Mack met with her man Made Man. It was his birthday and he wanted to hang out with his friend. She called Shekinah to hang out with her. Che Mac wanted to go back to work, but apparently, Made Man preferred her to stay home. Why can't men just let women have their careers and their families? I'm shaking my head over this story line.

Then we have Spice, who went to chat with Joc. She talked about leaving her kids in Jamaica. She also talked about her desire to change her skin color. She said that in Jamaica when you bleach your skin, it is praised like that's a good thing. Wow, that is a big cultural difference. Spice explained that she wanted to use her platform to tell other dark skinned women that they could overcome obstacles that they may have because of their skin-color. Joc told her that she should go on with her plan as long as she is prepared for it. It's so sad that people look at others negatively or positively because of the color of their skin. That's really crazy when you think about.

Anyway, Mimi later met up with Spice in the Sweet Auburn district Atlanta. The Sweet Auburn district was full of African American businesses during the Civil Rights Movement, and Mimi took Spice to the Madame C J Walker museum there. Madame CJ Walker was the first back female millionaire in the USA. She made her millions in the beauty industry. Still, though, Spice argued with Mimi and the tour guide and didn't change her mind about changing her skin color. I hope that she was ready for the backlash from people who would not care so much about her point of raising awareness on this issue. Folks will just go in on her because she lightened her skin.

Another interesting scene was when Kirk met up with his sons' grandmother, great-grandmother and Jasmine, Kannon's mother. There had been some concerns about Rasheeda's and Jasmine's different parenting styles. Kirk had some thoughts about Jasmine's parenting of his son, also. He arranged to meet with Jasmine's mother and grandmother, because they spend a lot of time with the boy, but he didn't' expect Jasmine to pop up. It's a good thing that she did, because she was able to hear first-hand what Kirk had to say about her parenting. Now, commenters on the show, chuckled at Jasmine's hair style in her scene with Kirk and her family, but I think that Jasmine raised some good points. If Kirk had just became a part of Kannon's life, if the boy had recently (on the show) been allowed to spend time with Rasheeda and Kirk in their home, Kirk shouldn't have too much to say. The child was healthy, well-fed, and happy. They shouldn't argue about petty things like Jasmine going out once in a while or the baby wearing pull-ups. I think that they will continue to disagree, just like Momma D and CeCe, but I'll have to wait and see, won't I?

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