The Controversy of the Manipulation of Advertising Essay

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The Controversy of the Manipulation of Advertising

Is advertising manipulative; can it be controlling, or is it fueling the demand of the American economy? The exhaustive battle of what advertising is and what it’s not is never-ending and both ends of the spectrum can only battle with statistics, words, and opinions on the fact of the matter. Many arguments have arisen since the establishment of the advertising industry and everyone sheds their own light on the subject. In “Beauty and the Beast of Advertising,” Jean Kilbourne argues that the advertising industry portrayal of women is narrow-minded and produces emotional and psychological problems within women in regards with their roles in society, their physical appearance, and
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According to Kilbourne advertising creates artificiality in the sense that “beauty comes from without”(238). She supports her argument by stating, “more than one million dollars is spent every hour on cosmetics”(238). She said woman are conditioned to fit this false ideal and are going as far as altering body parts to reach the unreachable norm. She further supports her argument by stating more facts, stats, and surveys. Kilbourne complains that women are “dismembered in commercials, separated into body parts in need of change or improvement”(239). She reiterates that it is to reach this level of beauty and is not viable to maintain. Kilbourne’s last point is that advertising influences sexual attitudes. She points out that “advertising’s approach to sex is pornographic: it reduces people to objects and de-emphasizes human contact and individuality”(239). She argues that the commercial women today are portrayed as independent hardworking women that can do it all. On the contrary she notes this is an illusion that reduces complex sociopolitical problems to mundane personal ones”(239). Kilbourne notes, it is a “real tragedy, that many women internalize these stereotypes and learn their ‘limitations,’ thus establishing a self-fulfilling prophecy”(239). She sums it up emphasizing how influential advertising is in our culture and how
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