Noted National Speaker Addresses Women in Advertising

Posted: February 25, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Joseph J. Urban, III

Nationally recognized speaker Jean Kilbourne will present “The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall. The lecture is given as part of the George Mason’s Positive Body Image Week and the National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, Feb. 21-28. The free event is open to the entire university community.

The lecture will focus on subtle messages advertising can convey to both men and women that often result in negative behavior. It will address issues such as date rape or increased drinking and smoking that can result from the bombardment of negative images about women and their roles that some advertisements send to society. It will also concentrate on problems such as anorexia or bulimia and the general lowering of the dignity of women in general, that these advertisements can cause.

“Advertising often sells more than products, but advertisers generally don’t care about that,” says Kilbourne. “If the cumulative effect of some advertising, for example, is to degrade women or to sexualize children or to increase eating disorders, surely that is not the intent of the advertisers. It is simply an unfortunate side effect.”

Kilbourne is a recognized speaker on topics ranging from addictions and public health to violence, women, and the media. She has won several awards for her work, and has visited at more than one-third of all colleges in the United States.

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