Last week I posted about my own experiences with body image, which I hope at least one reader could relate to. The reflection needed to write the post rekindled my insane love for everything beauty-myth busting, including the analysis of sexualized media content. In my undergrad days I worked for two years on a thesis that analyzed the presence of sexualization in Seventeen magazine. Specifically, I analyzed advertisements in issues spanning from 1986-2006 and discovered trends in the types of sexualization used as fashion, politics, and technology changed over the years.
I had been an avid pop media consumer up until that point where I realized that I was being sold unattainable ideals that made consumers depressed and corporations filthy-rich. During my eye-opening (life-freeing!) introduction into the media’s manipulation of women through images, I was lucky enough to read content analyses by Jean Kilbourne, a remarkable feminist and brilliant sociologist.
Kilbourne began analyzing the roles of women in advertising in the 1960’s, and has made a career countering public health issues such as violence toward women, substance abuse and eating disorders by making people “media literate” (able to analyze, criticize, and examine media).
Her work cast a spell on me, or rather, broke me from my spell.
In summation, I give you: Jean Kilbourne!