One film that left a strong impression on me was “Killing Us Softly,” a documentary exploring the power of advertising and the media in shaping our world. Despite its drastic premise, I genuinely believe this statement to be true, given the multitude of troubling events occurring in our world today.
The documentary effectively showcases the power of advertising to convey hidden messages that can have serious consequences such as bulimia, rapes, murders, disrespect towards women, and vice versa. It also highlights how these messages influence individuals, causing them to strive for an unrealistic societal norm. For instance, the constant portrayal of extremely thin women by the media leads many girls weighing over 130 lbs to go to extreme lengths to fit this standard, even without consciously realizing it.
Another distressing example is the J B Ramsey case. Although the perpetrator was clearly mentally unstable, the media’s emphasis on portraying 6-year-olds as provocative models provides opportunities for pedophiles. Society becomes more accepting of certain behaviors or beliefs when exposed to them repeatedly, regardless of their ethical implications.
I have personally noticed that my own style of dressing has been influenced by the media. If a commercial or magazine advertisement features a shirt that I find appealing, I would likely purchase it. This realization has made me reflect on my actions and acknowledge the role the media plays in shaping our choices and preferences.
The film “Killing Us Softly” relates to other works studied in the course, such as “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter.” In this film, the media controlled American society by transforming women into the opposite of what they were accustomed to. Additionally, the film highlights that if media were utilized in a positive manner, it could greatly contribute to addressing the issues of racism and sexism discussed in the course material. For instance, commercials exposing the differential treatment of African Americans compared to whites in various aspects, such as job applications, could potentially evoke feelings of guilt and challenge narrow-minded perspectives. Similarly, advertisements portraying women as equal rather than inferior to men could foster greater respect and even result in pay equality.
This film is remarkable as it highlights the powerful influence of media on people, a concept I had always acknowledged but never fully appreciated. Additionally, it effectively conveys its message through humor, making it both engaging and comprehensible.