Jean Kilbourne made the first Killing Us Softly film in 1979. Now with several books under her belt and Killing Us Softly 4 out this spring, Kilbourne obviously hasn't stopped her activism in media criticism--whether it's following the increased sexualization of children in ads or calling out the alcohol and tobacco industry. Kelsey Wallace spoke to Kilbourne, a member of Bitch Media's National Advisory Board, on the phone about trends in advertising and gender, the state of media criticism today, and Kilbourne's future plans. You can order Killing Us Softly 4 at the Media Education Foundation. This interview is part of our Mad World podcast on gender, advertising, and identity in a mediated world.
Subscribe on iTunes. Download at archive.org. Transcription available here (.doc).
When it comes to women and sports, we've got a long way to go before we reach the promised land of gender equity. Still, when you consider that Title IX just passed in 1972 and that we've got some seriously kickass women athletes to look up to in the wide world of sports today, well, it could be worse. So how are we doing when it comes to women, sports, and advertising? Well, let's start on a high note:
For the past several Mad World discussions, we've looked at ad campaigns that are somewhat lacking when it comes to progressive gender politics. It seems high time, then, that we highlight advertising that gets it right where gender is concerned. The only problem is, where the hell is it? Does mainstream, sexism-free advertising even exist?
American mainstream media has been a wee bit obsessed with the happiness of Denmark this past year. Since I'm an American currently living in the supposedly blissed-out Scandinavian paradise, I've been trying to uncover why this (somewhat incorrect) assumption has been made. Are Danes the happiest people in the world because they're simply more flexible when it comes to gender identity?