Alissa Quart’s “Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers” states that over $250 billion is spent on advertising each year and on average each human sees 3,000 advertisements each day, some of which cause damage to women in society.
On Thursday 18th March, instructors Sheryl Nomelli, James McKeever, and the Feminist Club showcased a provocative documentary called “Killing Us Softly 4” in the Great Hall at Pierce College.
The documentary was made by Jean Kilbourne, author of “Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel.” Kilbourne provided a critical look at how media images and the over-sexualization of women can impact society.
Many problems today, such as eating disorders and date rape, are often considered women’s problems. “Killing Us Softly 4” manages to address and discuss these issues in a way that reaches both women and men.
It powerfully illustrates how these images unconsciously affect all of society, as most advertisement viewers are not actually aware of the content or amount of commercials they encounter every day.
The documentary discussed issues such as the wage gap, the over-sexualization of children in the media, and how women are often portrayed as vulnerable, sexual objects in advertising in comparison to men, who are seen to be strong, dominate figures.
“Women only get 77 cents to a man’s $1,” said Sheryl Nomelli, instructor of both U.S. and Women’s History at Pierce College.
“This documentary shows how media images have the ability to make its viewers internalize the stereotypes that they are constantly bombarded with,” said Nomelli
“Killing Us Softly 4” contains current media images that are relevant to today’s culture. It discusses how these images impact society at large, and how women are not the only ones affected by the controversial images.
Kilbourne communicated how society has become numb to these damaging forms of advertising that promote the belittlement of women.
A multi-billion dollar industry, the documentary emphasizes how advertising companies make money off the insecurities of young women and promotes poor mental and physical health.
By looking at an image and analyzing it piece by piece, the documentary shows the consequences of them, which include sexual violence, eating disorders and low self-esteem amongst women worldwide.
The discussion that followed focused on the role of women in different cultures, and the question of can a woman be feminist and still want a man to be the head of the household.
“To be a feminist is to ensure everyone can control their own selves,” said Rene Parades, president of the Feminist Club.
“It’s about seeking a balance in society and being someone who advocates equal rights, social justice, and economic justice for both women and men,” Parades said.
“I really appreciate the hard work, dedication, and leadership that professor Sheryl Nomelli has shown in bringing this documentary to our campus,” said James McKeever, chair of philosophy and sociology at Pierce College.
“She is the person that set the whole thing up and deserves all the praise. Bringing her on was one of the smartest things we have done,” McKeever said.
The Feminist Club’s meetings are held Wednesday 3:30-4:30 p.m. in BS 3217.