Slim Hopes: Advertising & the Obsession With Thinness

Thanks to Heidi for passing this along.  A similar commentary to Tough Guise, though one with a much longer history.  For more from Jean Kilbourne (the speaker in this clip), search for “Killing us Softly” on YouTube.

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12 Responses to Slim Hopes: Advertising & the Obsession With Thinness

  1. Randall McCain says:

    this video was really interesting. the stats used were nuts, 80% of 10yr old girls are on diets. something really needs to change.

  2. Kristen Andersen says:

    After watching Slim Hopes, the cigarette ads that were promoting “slim” as a benefit of smoking I was reminded of the Pepsi advertisements in women’s magazines with the slim can, which was trying to reinforce that drinking Pepsi from a slimmer can will also make the drinker slim. With these kinds of promotions no wonder 80% of ten year olds are on diets and more and more girls are growing up with self esteem issues. Ads should redirect who to target to prevent more eating disorders in young girls.

  3. Molly Johnson says:

    This video is painfully accurate. The statistic that Kristen and Randall both mentioned about the elementary school girls on diets is shocking because girls that age do not have control over the food their parents are making them. Which leads me to believe that most parents are engraving this message into their daughter’s minds themselves along with the powerful media. The other statistic that was eye opening was the models used to be 8% less than normal women and now it’s 26% …things like that are what make women feel badly about themselves because like the video said – that’s a particular body type. No amount of dieting, exercising, or starving will get most women to look like that.

  4. Also watched this in Chuck Hunt’s Soc207 class. Similar to the Tough Guise video but I think girls are more influenced by media standards of appearance. I feel that girls are naturally more sensitive thus insecure about physical appearance and thus more attentive to what the media labels as “beauty”. Besides placing a standard of unreasonable beauty before the eyes of young girls, the other thing that really frustrates me about this concept is the deception. The film mentions how computer-editing plays a role in magazine ads and such to truly make these female bodies unattainable, which is even more unfair. The other interesting fact the film mentions is the body measurements of Barbie (if she were a real human) which turn out to be very disturbing and even more ridiculous.

  5. Amber Heitkemper says:

    It is shocking to believe that such young girls are going on diets because of what the media is portraying. I agree with Kristen that ads should redirect themselves because if not more women will become more concerned with their body images.

  6. Scott Wooley says:

    I remember reading about this a while ago. Crazy. Ralph Lauren fired a size 4 model for being too fat.

  7. Katie M. says:

    I do agree with the message in this video. I also find it interesting that in the 1930s-40s there were ads for products that were “supposed” to help young girls gain weight. The ads portrayed that if someone was too skinny it was unattractive/not cool/they wouldn’t be happy, etc… Even though the size the ads are trying to push have changed, it shows that for decades, brands/advertisements have been trying to get young girls to manipulate their bodies in unheatlhy ways to be the current “trendy-attractive”. On some level too I believe it is up to the consumers to fight back (!!!!) and not buy from companies that you disagree with morally.

  8. Heidi Payghambari says:

    The reason why I passed on this video is because it did such an effective job of grasping my attention that two years later I still remember it. This is a definite shape versus mirror society debate about advertising. Kilbourne raises the question as to what point do these advertisements cross the line and create a social norm instead of reflecting it? A woman icon used to me Monroe with her curvy figure, but now if a girl’s stomach is not flat, well that’s no longer iconic…

  9. allyson flournoy says:

    1 of 10 woman have an eating disorder…that is horrible. 80 % of 4th grade girls were on diets. That is horrible. At that age, you should be learning good habits, but you should not be worrying about being perfect. I like how she compared marlyn monroe to kate moss. Kate moss is disgustingly skinny, but by the media is seen as beautiful because she is skinny.

  10. nedmills says:

    I think the facts on young girls dieting are both shocking and ridiculous. I think the public as a whole understand that this going on but not to the extent in which the video describe. People seem to struggle to understand that this subject goes far and beyond simply photo shopping models. It affects us, and more importantly our children. These ads are successful as evident in agencies still creating them. I think both parents and agencies are to blame. Agencies instill a unrealistic image while parents let their children view such advertisements without ever really talking about them. Talking about the reasons why something was created is beneficial to everyone.

  11. Max Williams says:

    Those were some pretty startling stats. One problem I did have with one of them though was the 80% of fourth grade girls were on diets statistic. A diet is not at all an inherently bad thing, and you could say that 100% of kindergardners on are on a diet (it may be a diet of eat whatever the hell you want, but it’s still a diet by definition). So, I wish that they would have been more specific with that (such as finding out how many are on a diet specifically to cut calories or fat). Other than that, I thought this video was very well done. It was a little harsh against advertising, but probably deservedly so. Advertisers should try to keep in mind the debate between mirroring and shaping society.

  12. alexandra reyes says:

    I remember this ad on huffingtonpost of this extremely small woman. It is disgusting to see that happen. Where is this stuff good looking. Why did it have to happen. Little girls shouldn’t be dieting or thinking about how they sexy they are. Seeing little girls act that way is so wrong. I never dealt with this pressure. Thank God that I’m not a kid now. The fashion world is so wrong and it starts there. Paris and needs to change. There were ads show that showed a women suffering from an eating disorder. They should do that in the states, even if people are offended by the image.

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