Friday, December 6, 2013

Jean Kilbourne, advertising, and neanderthal men...

If you've been reading my blog recently, you know I've blogged a few times about Maria Kang, the mom of three who posted her photo on Facebook and started a firestorm.  My posts on Kang have gotten a lot of hits.  The most popular one is the first one I posted, which has attracted some comments, mostly by people I know who were annoyed by Maria Kang's "What's Your Excuse" tag line.  The other day, I got a comment from a guy named Mike who said losing weight must be "easy" since Maria Kang did it after having three kids and "looks like a goddess".  Then he said we're all jealous of her because she achieved what we can't (and if it's so easy, Mike, why can't we all do it?).

I did leave a response… but then today, the video below showed up on my Facebook feed…  It's part of a presentation by Jean Kilbourne, an excellent author and speaker on the pitfalls of advertising and public images.  I decided I wanted to share this on my blog.

I was fortunate enough to get to see and hear Jean Kilbourne speak when I was at the University of South Carolina.  She is truly an amazing speaker and if you ever have the chance to catch her live, I highly recommend attending and paying close attention to what she has to say.  Barring that, she does have a few videos available, many of which I have also seen.  Check her out.  Read her books, especially if you're a woman.  She makes a lot of sense.

As for Mike and his ilk, I just want to say that there is a difference between being concerned about someone's health and just wanting them to be an object.  When men value women based only on what they happen to look like, they reduce them to mere objects.  Women are not objects and we don't have to "look like goddesses" to have worth.  Contrary to what some folks seem to believe, women are not here to be something pretty for men to look at.

Although I am sure Maria Kang is gorgeous in person, I wouldn't be surprised if her photo involved a little computerized sleight of hand.  It's easy to do and if you can erase a few lines on your face, why not do it?  The bottom line is that while it's true that there are many people in this country who are dangerously overweight, there are also many women out there who are really suffering because they have tried and failed to look perfect.  It doesn't help them when guys like Mike tell them they are failing at something that is "obviously easy to do"; they are "just jealous"; and "looking like a goddess" is something they should aspire to do.  Every time I run across a comment like Mike's, I picture a guy dragging a woman by the hair while carrying a big club…

Edited to add:  I just read another article about Maria Kang, who claims she is being "fit shamed".  The more I read about her, the more I think she's brainless.  Especially when she says stuff like this…

"And can I just say I am tired of everyone posing in their lingerie?"-- Maria Kang

Am I the only one who thinks that's a pretty odd comment coming from someone who poses in boy shorts and a bra top? What a twit.

She sure is milking that 15 minutes of fame.


  1. I want her to go away yesterday.

  2. Awesome article Jenny. Question though: is it possible that the pressure on women comes from other women rather than men? Guys I know over the decades have gone after women of all sizes, colors and ages. I get the feeling that the pressure on women comes from other women. When I walk down the street with my wife, she gets scanned by other women. They don't look at me. Maybe I'm just too old but I think there's some girl thing going on.

    1. Oh, most definitely women put pressure on other women. And I don't mean to imply they don't with the title of this post. That was mainly a reaction to my drive by commenter and some of the other comments I've been reading on sites like Yahoo! and CNN. It's not just the men at all…

      Another thing young women in particular do that is shitty is lie. If a woman says she's fat, they are quick to jump on and say she isn't, mainly because they don't want her to lose weight and create competition. Instead of just being kind and supportive, they bullshit their "friends". I notice that's not as prevalent as I get older, though.

      Personally, I usually enjoy men a lot more than women, most of the time. Men seem to enjoy my sense of humor.

  3. Replies
    1. So I've been told… mostly by men. Women have told me that I joke like a man. ;-) Bill enjoys it, anyway.


Comments on older posts will be moderated until further notice.