Normalizing Abuse

The video we watched in class Killing Us Softly 4 by Jean Kilbourne really shocked me as I was not previously aware of all of the hidden messages advertisements can have. I was especially shocked by the last segment that showed examples of advertisements that portrayed women as victims of abuse. I recently came across a photo shoot of Heather Morris who plays Brittany S. Pierce in the TV show Glee. In this photo shoot, she is portrayed with bruises, tied up, with an iron, and abusing a man in one photo:

I was shocked by this photo shoot. I know that my younger cousins all watch Glee and look at some of the characters as role models. I am scared to think that they may think that domestic violence is acceptable or ordinary as these photos normalize and beautify abuse. This photo shoot trivializes the serious problem of sexual abuse by stating on the website: “Even Barbie bruises. We have been talking about shooting for a long time and we finally made it happen! Some magic, irons, and bruises later it was complete.” By saying “even Barbie bruises,” the photographer is saying abuse is common and normal and the use of “Barbie” appeals to young, impressionable girls. For the past couple months I have been volunteering at WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape) and have learned the shocking statistics and consequences of sexual abuse. I’m afraid that as these violent images become more common in media, sexual violence/abuse will become more common as well.

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