This written piece, taken from the 1999 publication of Jean Kilbourne’s book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel” is a deep analytical piece on the effects of modern advertisements. The author would like to show us that although we might realize that advertisements are put up just with the intention of attracting customers, it affects us much deeper than we think. The first point that Kilbourne emphasizes on is how pornographic advertisements objectifies living beings, especially woman. With various examples of different posters and advertisements, she tries to prove how advertisements have shaped the way people think about females in a society. It also falsifies the image of a man by showing him as someone that is strong, arrogant and dominant over women. The ads of some alcoholic beverages results in people causing harm to others and to themselves. She proves this by showing how one-third to three-quarters of sexual assault cases results from alcohol consumption by either the suspect or the victim. She takes it further by mentioning that in a sexual assault, it is women who are hurt more than men and they are the ones who are blamed at the end too. She tries to engage readers by asking them to imagine a picture in these advertisements, where the genders were interchanged. She then moves on to how ads now a day is moving towards targeting men’s body. But she believes that this is different because there are no consequences for men. They are not to be afraid of being raped, harassed or beaten. Later, she shows how some companies moved onto child pornography ads with the intent of being publicized to gain attention of people through legal issues. Children are often exploited for their innocence and girls feel powerless in front of men. She concludes by mentioning that advertisement in this form is a method of violence which is oppressive and racist. Having analyzed its deep effects on culture, she wants us to realize the importance of how it affects people, especially females.
I felt that this written piece was a good analytical piece that makes me think about the various aspects that Kilbourne covers. For the first time I see how advertisements may affect a society deeply. Further, I feel that today’s beliefs on what is “normal” may be the result of what the ads portray in people’s minds. The author does give credible citations for her thesis and makes it clear that she hasn’t arrived at this conclusion without research. The best part about this piece is the various examples that she explains in detail. Each one gave a different angle to the situation that the author was trying to show to the reader. Overall, it was an article that would be well appreciated for the information it gave.