Advertising’s Image of Women analysis Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women, produced by Cambridge Documentary Films, Inc. and released in 2010, is written by and stars Jean Kilbourne. In this latest movie in the Killing Us Softly series, Jean Kilbourne focuses on the way women are presented and represented in the advertisement industry, more so in the advertisements that run on different types of media.
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The film takes a critical look at an emerging pattern in gender stereotyping, using images and videos to show how advertising companies help propagate an unrealistic view, and perception, of sexuality, perfection and beauty.
Expanding on the central issues covered in this film, objectification stands out as one of the biggest of them all. Jean asserts that advertisements often tell women that the most important thing about them is how they look. This message is then surrounded and forced by images and videos that portray the ideal look, which is more often than not unrealistic and unattainable. The message here boils down to this, a woman is only desirable when they look a certain way, essentially turning them into a thing to be used to sell products.
The film also takes a look at how black women, women of color, are perceived and represented in the advertising industry. Essentially, they are not considered beautiful enough if they do not fit into the mould of white idealism; straight hair, lighter skin and perceived caucasian features. On the issue of image, Jean talks about black women getting featured in jungle settings, often wearing “exotic” clothing as if they were animals.
Hip Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity analysis Blacking Up: Hip Hop’s Remix of Race and Identity, produced and released by Limbic Productions in 2010, is directed by Robert Anderson Clift and stars some of the biggest names in the American Hip Hop culture. The film takes a critical look at racial identity as viewed through the lens of hip-hop music and culture. More specifically, the film focuses on the tensions that arise surrounding white identification in the hip-hop space. Moreover, the film also explores other themes such as exploitation, cultural admiration as well as what hip-hop means to white performers and white fans of rap music who claim the culture to be theirs. In the film, the filmmaker takes us through a series of questions, all of them culmination in asking what makes the black culture so attractive to white rappers. Speaking while wearing blackface, Al Johnson, a white rapper, tries to negate the idea that the perception of black rappers being lowly members of society is wrong. Although the blackface Johnson wears while making his point irritates the black community, one scholar notes that what Johnson is doing is embracing the black facade and in a way trying to fight the racial stereotypes associated with black rappers.
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