Tag Archives: Jean Kilbourne

What is discrimination? (Bic Pens for Women)

I saw a commercial for “Bic for her “ pens, designed specifically for women. Ellen DeGeneres criticizes these pens on her show. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/bic-for-her-commercial-pens-ad-video_n_1872277.html http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCyw3prIWhc Ellen makes a mock commercial, in which a girl says that she can’t handle “man pens,” … Continue reading

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Svedka Demands Support for Robot-Robot Marriage

  This weekend I spotted a number of ads similar to this one plastered on the sides of transit buses and on billboards all over New York City. As in all Svedka ads, this one features a (white) fembot with … Continue reading

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Ladine Professional Black Hair Commercial

In her film, Killing us Softly 4, Jean Kilbourne briefly addresses how women of color are forced to emulate Caucasian standards of beauty. The above commercial portrays an African American woman’s transformation from a big, puffy Afro to straight, shimmering hair using Ladine salon care products. It is implied that straight hair is vital in order for African American women to be estimated as desirable in today’s society.

African American women are urged to conform to a mold that judges women based upon “acceptable” standards of Caucasian beauty. The implicit positive associations with “straight hair” versus negative connotations related to “curly” or “nappy” hair is used to promote and sell hair-straightening products. Thus, African American women feel obligated to adopt mainstream hairstyles in order to assimilate into both professional and social circles. This pressure to conform is teaching girls to feel insecure about their hair from a very young age. 

Within the African American community, going “natural” is considered to be a bold statement.Women who are “natural” are stereotypically characterized as “rebels” instead of simply being identified as their natural selves. Beauty has become one-dimensional with no room for personal expression. Contrary to the claim in this commercial, there is no “science in being beautiful”. People who believe otherwise set themselves up for failure, which contributes to feelings of depression and low self-esteem. However a woman chooses to style their hair should be an individual choice without any racial influence or comparisons.

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What class?

It’s difficult to find a good place to start when critiquing this Mercedes-Benz advert from last year. Upon first viewing the ad, it’s almost impossible to discern what it’s attempting to sell. The majority of the photo is dominated by … Continue reading

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Nothing fake about ’em

I came across this advertisement in Cosmopolitan, and I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that sexual references are used to sell just about anything in this magazine and elsewhere.  This ad deliberately juxtaposes two bags of chips in front of … Continue reading

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