According to Consumer Reports, the average American is exposed to 247 commercial messages every day. Though this number fluctuates, the truth is we are more exposed now than we ever have been to ads. Commercials, billboards, pop-ups on our browsers are everywhere. They are so pervasive in our environment that we rarely pause to examine what those ads say about our values. Should our world freeze over, archeologists of the future would note the conflict between the juicy Big Mac and our loathing of fat bodies.
Women are often center-stage in the debate of how ads portray our values.
"Advertising tells women--as it has done for 10, 20, 30 years--that what's most important is how you look," Jean Kilbourne says in her famous Killing Us Softly lectures. Kilbourne, author, media critic and filmmaker has long been discussing the implications of advertising, encouraging us to take the messages and values espoused in ads seriously. Long before Adbusters came along, there was Kilbourne: ripping apart the subtle language of advertising in regard to the female form. Kilbourne's lectures are famous for their ability to shock. Once you see ads as Kilbourne does, it's hard to unsee them.
You can witness Kilbourne discuss these eye-opening issues firsthand as part of April's National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Kilbourne will deliver one of her famous lectures right here in Boise at the Egyptian Theatre on Wednesday, April 20.[ Video is no longer available. ]