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John Smith Kathy Rowley English 

Reader Response:
“’Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt’: Advertising and Violence” According to Jean Kilbourne in her article, “’Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt’:

Advertising and Violence,” “Sex in advertising is pornographic because it dehumanizes and objectifies people, especially women…” (Kilbourne 459). I wonder exactly how this dehumanizing and objectifying effects women’s lives.

To bring an answer to this question, Kilbourne writes in response to advertising, “It is also more often about power than passion…” (459). By power she is referring to man’s control over women, to be more specific the dominance of man over women. From sex in advertising Kilbourne believes that women are portrayed as nothing but objects of sex and beauty put on Earth to serve man’s needs. I believe this portrayal leads society to look down on women and equalize them with dirt. When society looks down on women and advertising encourages a strong dominant man figure, women are overlooked. When women are overlooked their word means nothing. This is shown when Kilbourne quotes an ad that states, “If your date won’t listen to reason, try a Velvet Hammer.” (462). This of course implying that women’s words means nothing to man, that they can be swayed by alcohol and go against their wants to fulfill man’s.

Advertising portrays women as worthless creatures; as if anything were to happen to them it wouldn’t bother anyone. Kilbourne shows this while referring to advertising of women being threatened with guns, “Most of us have become numb to these images… of women being

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raped, battered, and killed.” (465). Kilbourne refers to how society, in part because of images in advertising, does not care about the well being of women.

Another frightening topic related to women and advertising is the sexual harassment; Harassment not only of adults toward women, but of young boys toward women as well. This is a belief I see as a problem in society. Even more disgusting is the fact that if the roles were reversed and it was a young girl making sexual gesture toward a man it would be considered wrong. As Kilbourne writes, “… imagine the reverse… two preteen girls make suggestive comments, seemingly about his body… We would fear for them… But boys already have the right to ogle…” (468). This quote exemplifies what was just discussed, that again being that young boys can, and be accepted by society, make sexually suggestive comments toward older women yet young girl would be considered wrong and out of line.

In summation, my reaction to Kilbourne’s writing and beliefs are that she makes a convincing argument for women. Her belief happens to be the same as mine and her supports, which are a multitude, only justify and strengthen my beliefs. I would not read anything else like this simply because I am not interested in this type of argument. If all of her work is related to this subject then it is not for me. I would recommend this text to someone who is interested in making a change to society, especially in the field of media, and the treatment of women.

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