After working for the past 24 hours, I needed a mental break, and I found this video worth 45 minutes of my time. I knew that advertising affected and affects the way I see myself, how I define sexuality, notions of empowerment, etc., but I had no idea that the underlying messages of ads had drilled so deeply into my psyche. I am grateful that people, like Jean Kilbourne, have taken the time to notice and to issue wake-up calls to our society and to individuals, to raise awareness and call for action.
I, like probably every other woman in America, have always struggled with self-esteem. When I am healthy and in shape, I tend to feel much better physically and mentally and have a more positive self-image, which seems normal and natural. However, it is the underlying reason for this increased sense of self-worth that concerns me. When I am lean and fit, I approximate more closely what our society proclaims to be beautiful. Clarification: I am no size 0 model, never will be, and don’t want to be. However, the value I place on myself (and that others place on me) should not rest on the size of my waist or hips or any other feature. The same needs to be said for every other woman, especially those in positions of political power and influence, in the business world, and in media. I have never heard a male politician’s efficacy or merit correlated to what suits he wears or if he has gained five pounds, and yet our society seems to believe that these are fair criteria on which to judge a woman’s ability to perform her job. While racism remains a problem, it is usually not publicly condoned, as sexism is. It is time for us to declare sexism to be as repugnant as racism because the former is just as responsible for dehumanization and violence as the latter.