Change… or not?

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December 28, 2013 by flyaway13

“Ads sell us more than products; they sell us values, concepts…”
– Jean Killbourne, “Killing Us Softly”

In your opinion, is this statement true? Is the general public susceptible to these marketed ideals, or are most people able to distinguish between their own values and those of the mass media? If we are indeed “buying” the values and concepts that Killbourne claims the ads are selling us, the fight against stereotypes in this realm of media is even more important.

It may be that those who are the most susceptible to these marketing campaigns are children, who tend to be more impressionable. A seemingly obvious solution would be to shield children from advertisements until they have cemented their own value systems, but this would be nearly impossible due to the intense permeation of ads in today’s world. 

Speaking of “today’s world,” how has sexism changed in advertisements over time? Previously on this blog, I have shared examples of extremely sexist ads from both the present and the past. Generally, advertisements have become more sexually open and suggestive but avoid sexist catchphrases of the past (e.g. “So easy, a woman could use it”). Is this a progression forward, towards decreasing sexism, or merely tangential change that markets gender stereotypes in other forms?

To be completely honest, I am not sure.


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