Friday, July 15, 2011

Media: Killing Us Softly

Today in class we focused on media literacy. First we watched a Ted Talk with Alice Dreger discussing anatomical norms, and how gender isn’t necessarily as clear as male and female. Although she believed it was good to be aware of these differences, she was worried that discovering so many differences might destroy the concepts of unity that were created by our Founding Fathers and other leaders. The concept that “all men are created equal” seems to be less valid with more differences present.
We also watched a movie called Killing Us Softly 4, which portrayed and discussed the subliminal messages portrayed by the media through advertising, and the effects that it has on our society. Some, although still shocking, were more known, such as the dangerously skinny women that were considered to be “ideal women”, and how this leads to self-hatred, depression, and eating disorders among women of all ages. One new thing that we did learn about this, however, was how greatly digitally altered those models even were, and how some of those women were even “pieced together” from four different women. We also learned that about only 5% of the population naturally has such a long-and-lean body type, and that even those are never that skinny.
Some subliminal messaging that I was not so aware of was the objectifying of women, like women literally being turned into beer cans and bottles. This is not only a sad way to sell a product, but also makes women appear as though they are not true people, but an object that you may enjoy just like a man would enjoy a bottle of beer. Women are also often showed in weak, vulnerable, and insecure positions, giving off the impression that “perfect women” should be weak, submissive, and seen but not heard. It was also extremely shocking how much violence and abusive relationships were promoted subliminally, as was violence in general.
After watching these videos, the girls reacted with much shock, enthusiasm, and anger with regards to the video. We discussed how even though it isn’t possible to change the advertising industry and society’s skewed view of beauty and women; it is possible to spread awareness of the subliminal messaging. And most importantly, we must be aware of it and not let ourselves to be affected by it.

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