Blog Entry 10: Response to the More You Subtract

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Hi all:

For this blog comment, do as before.

Find a quotation from "The More You Subtract, The More You Add." Type it into the comment box and then write a paragraph or so of response.

Remember paper 2 may be about either advertising to children or advertising to women.


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"Readers and viewers of these ads clearly do not take them in literally. We do take them in, however--another gain of sand in a slowly accumulating and vast sand pile. If we entirely enter the world of ads, and imagine them to be real for a moment, we find that the sand pile has completely closed us in, and there's only one escape route: buy something." (151)

I found this quote to be a great analogy to the way advertisements affect society. We buy to make ourselves feel happy. We buy when we are sad, etc. We are like in a pile of quicksand, the only way to survive is to buy. Advertisement hook us in to destroy our self esteem and we feel worse, but we buy more for some kind of impossible transformation. As a girl, I definitely can agree that the advertisements seem harmless when watching, but as we get in depth, women can feel inadequate and unworthy of the perfect women in these ads. Women are supposed to be passive, but we're supposed to stand up for ourselves. Women are supposed to be healthy and strong, but supposed to not have a hearty diet. Expectations of women in advertisements and society only bring us to the believe that if we don't have it, then we NEED to achieve it. We are supposed to be basically everything a man wants in a women, but ourselves at the same time. What are we to do when everyone wants something from us? We don't know.

"Even girls who are raised in loving homes by supportive parents grow up in a toxic cultural environment, at risk for self-mutilation, eating disorders,and addictions. The culture, both reflected and reinforced by advertising, urges girls to adopt a false self, to bury alive their real selves, to become feminine, which means to be nice and kind and sweet, to compete with other girls for the attention of boys, and to value romantic relationships with boys above all else." (139)

This quote goes to show that even though the parents will try their hardest to raise their daughters in a caring home, the factors outside the home will ultimately sway the child's ideologies. Girls are forced to become something that they are not in order to "fit in" to society. Their are so many standards and requirements to be accepted or make friends (or boyfriends). Young ladies are forced to abandon their own morals for the gratification of someone else. For example, on Victoria Secret advertisements they depict females as sex goddesses that have perfectly structured bodies and faces. The models are tall and very thin, which is not at all the standard body type for a majority of women and a lot of women buy into this "ideal" body type that they force themselves to partake in unhealthy diets.

"the loss, the subtraction, the cutting down to size also refers, albeit indirectly, to her sense of her self, her sexuality, her need for authentic connection, and her longing for power and freedom" (144)
I think this quote summarizes the article and explains its title "cutting girls down to size" very well. It says that with the loss of weight, women lose their sense of self. Advertising to women reinforces gender roles. Roles that show women as subordinate to men, mild mannered, weak, and powerless. Overall advertising does more than encourage women to be unhealthily skinny and wear as minimal clothing as possible, advertising on a larger scale makes women lose their longing of power and freedom, something they fought for during the Women's rights movement. It essentially is putting women back in time, back to a time where men and women were not seen as equals.

"the loss, the subtraction, the cutting down to size also refers, albeit indirectly, to her sense of her self, her sexuality, her need for authentic connection, and her longing for power and freedom" (144)
I think this quote summarizes the article and explains its title "cutting girls down to size" very well. It says that with the loss of weight, women lose their sense of self. Advertising to women reinforces gender roles. Roles that show women as subordinate to men, mild mannered, weak, and powerless. Overall advertising does more than encourage women to be unhealthily skinny and wear as minimal clothing as possible, advertising on a larger scale makes women lose their longing of power and freedom, something they fought for during the Women's rights movement. It essentially is putting women back in time, back to a time where men and women were not seen as equals.

"[Advertising] is both a creator and perpetrator of the dominant attitudes, values, and ideology of the culture, as well as the social norms and myths by which most people live". Staying in context with this article, this quote defiantly relates to how girls are subjected to advertisement and its lies. It continuously defies young girls and brainwashes them into thinking they will never be good enough. It comes to show just exactly how power consumerism is and what effect it can have on generations of young girls. It would be lie to say no one has ever been influenced by advertising, especially girls. There's always a "product" that will make you look better, feel smarter, and smell nicer. We can never win this fight and advertisers continue to throw insecurity and peer pressure into the societies we live in. It's absurd that this one idea of advertising can cause so much harm in a personal life, and very much so run how one looks and feels. At the end of the article it states that it's in our hands, we can either try to create change or allow this advertising world to drown us in there forceful ways.

"Advertising is our environment. We swim in it as fish swim in water...'To not be influenced by advertising would be to live outside of culture. No human being lives outside of culture." (Kilbourne 137). Its exceptionally accurate to say that advertisements are every where we go and no matter what we can't seem to escape them. And although most of the time we may not realize some of the things being advertised to us, we are subconsciously influenced in one way or another. Now more than ever we live in a world that revolves around advertising. Companies spend ridiculous amounts of money on these ads everyday because they know this is the most powerful to lure us in. The more we are exposed to a certain and especially in what way it is conveyed to us, the greater likelihood we will buy into it and then several other will follow. It becomes a train of bandwagoning in order to fit in with society and gain acceptance. Companies specifically target children and young teens because they know how nieve and easily persuaded they can be. "At no time are we more vulnerable to the seductive power of advertising than during children are not brought up by parents; they are brought up by the mass media"(138). Teens are continually being peer pressured everyday and they don't hesitate to argue with what society and peers deem as 'cool' or fitting in'. At the end of the day, all they desire is to be accepted and if buying those new sneakers at the mall will make them have friends, many teens don't question it. Young children too are the prime targets of these advertisements and this is because they are still so vulnerable and learning a lot about themselves as well as life. Advertisers are well aware of the amount of control and influence they hold over young children and teens and they continue to feed off their insecurities and feelings of inadequacy inorder to sell their product.

"These days self-improvement seems to have more to do with calories than with character, with abdomens rather than absolutes, with nail polish than with ethics." (152)
This article makes a lot of good, and very truthful points about advertising to girls, and how our culture affects adolescent girls. Because I'm a girl, I can identify with nearly everything in this article, and it's truly sad what we are doing to young girls today. Girls are told that the entirety of their worth is in their looks. Nothing matters more than looking good, the right make-up, hair,clothes, look, and demeanor are required. As an adolescent female, I definitely feel this. I'm extremely self-concious and I feel advertisements attacking my image because I'm not desirable. I want nothing more than to be attractive, and when I don't feel attractive, I have a bad day. I feel immense pressure to lose weight, especially at a place like UCSB. nearly everything I do is about my looks; I feel I must compete with other girls. I also know that these are all very common feelings among girls our age. Every girl wants to be the girl that gets the guy, the prettiest girl in the room. Girls are so conflicted between innocence and sexuality, its nearly sickening. There are equal and opposite pressures to be very sexually active and to be pure and innocent. Since when did society stop caring about the inside of a person? When did looks and sexuality become the only things that girls are good for? Why is that standard so unattainable? It's extremely disheartening to know about the extreme negative social affects on girls. It's sad to know that females have lost value for anything other than image and sexuality.

“Before television, there was little talk of dieting in Fiji. “You’ve gained weight” was a traditional compliment and “going thin” the sign of a problem. In 1995 television came to the island. Within 3 years, the number of teenagers at risk for eating disorders more than doubled” (143).
This is a perfect example of how influential television and the media as a whole can be on groups of people. The media has the power to manipulate people’s psyches into changing ideals that were once realistic and brainwashing them into conforming to impossible standards. Before television, people valued having healthy looking bodies, which meant not being skinny. However, after the introduction of television, these women saw unrealistic images of women and like women of most other societies, developed the pressure to be thin, by any means necessary. This proves that if we had all never been exposed to the countless unavoidable advertisements and messages we see everyday, we probably would be a much happier society that values different body types and uniqueness rather than false images that we will never be able to achieve.

“The magazines and the ads deliberately create and intensify anxiety about weight because it is so profitable to do so.”(143)
Advertisers promote images of beautiful women and expect everyone to be just like them. They make it so that you’re left feeling uglier or fatter or whatever the case might be, after seeing their advertisement in order to make you buy their product. They obviously don’t care about the ramifications that these images can cause on a young woman’s self esteem. Well in actuality they do care because they target the most sensitive areas in a woman, in hope of stimulating some kind of emotional response from them that will in turn lead to an increase in revenue. Advertisers are well aware of the affect that their tactics can have on consumers and that can be easily proven by the amount of studies that go into advertising. However what Kilbourne mentions is also true, she states how society as a whole has these sets of attitudes and beliefs which have been conditioned over time and which affect the way that advertisements are developed and the way that people interpret them.

"The big success story of our entertainment industry is our ability to export insecurity. We can make any woman feel perfectly rotten about her shape." (pg. 143)
The power of advertising can cause even the most confident little girl to grow into an insecure adolescent who hates her body. The entertainment industry focuses primarily on portraying picture perfect girls who portray an unattainable goal for regular girls in our society. Advertisements promote unrealistic looking girls who don't even look like themselves in real life due to the significant amount of photoshop that is put into these ads. Teenage girls are discouraged by these images and resort to dieting, eating disorders, make up, and following fashion fads in order to possibly mirror the substance of the perfect girl that appears in magazines. Satisfaction is rarely achieved, not only by teenage girls but by women as well. These advertisements make women believe that there is always something they can work on image wise and it becomes a never ending cycle. A single look at a model in a magazine can make girls' self esteem vanish.

"As Margaret Mead once said, our children are not brought up by parents; they are brought up by the mass media."

This is absolutely true. Children are now being influenced more by the culture of our media than their parents. They are so drawn in by the culture, they think it is a necessity to be the "ideal" everything. Having this mentality causes more mental and psychological problems within a person, especially girls. They are undermined by society and are forced to be the definition of feminine. Not being able to reach that perfect definition it causes girls to view themselves objectively from the outside and causes a girl to go through "increased feelings of shame, anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and the development of eating disorders." The media is causing young women to feel completely useless unless they abide by the rules that our culture has set upon our society.

"As most of us know so well by now, when a girl enters adolescence, she faces a series of losses - loss of self-confidence, loss of sense of efficacy and ambition, and the loss of her "voice," the sense of being a unique and powerful self that she had in childhood." (139)
It's amazing how much this quote moved me, because all teenage girls have gone through the same thing. From an early childhood, I believe that all kids are taught to be "self-conscious" and "senseless". To me it seems as if the market has coached these children to fall for their traps. By traps I mean not being able to escape the idea that you have to buy things to be "cool".
Children are definitely being persuaded into buying all these products, or making their parents buy these products, and it's just not fair.
Being sucked into a world of consumerism has brought kids to lose what's left of their "childhood".
Simple things don't seem to make younger audiences happy these days, it's all about the price and wealth. I just wish our generation today could still be content with their imaginations.

“Some advertising is intended to arouse anxiety and affect women’s self-esteem. However, some simply reflects the unconscious attitudes and beliefs of the individual advertisers, as well as what Carl Jung referred to as the ‘collective unconscious’ “ (257). While ads try to present the message that women should be strong and independent, they subconsciously feed the idea that a beautiful woman is flawless, skinny, and perfect. Of course we all know that is impossible and most of the time we don’t believe it. However, some where deep down women are always concerned with their appearance. They try their best to fit this perfect figure but always seem to come out short. Even the most powerful and strongest women have insecurities. It is said that the prettiest girls are always the most insecure. Why are they insecure? They are told that they are gorgeous and beautiful, but ads always seem to condemn every individual that they will never be good enough.

"Advertisers are aware of their power and do not hesitate to take advantage of the insecurities and anxieties of young people, usually in the guise of offering solution" (138).

As a teenager this qoute is extremely easy to relate to. Everyday we are bombarded by advertisements that say they can fix all of our problems. Advertisers are masters at selling products that will make all your teenage problems disappear. Products like proactive say that they garauntee clear skin and a happier you. Adverisements for beer tell you that by drinking you are promised a good time or that you will look more sophisticated like "The Most Interesting Man in the World." Advertisers take advantage of the dream of being perfect or finding the perfect solution to the teenage problems. They do this without any regard to the disappointmet that it may give the consumer. Advertisers know that by portraying products to have the solution to anything will always attrack buyers, especially from the teenage population.

"Women are especially vulnerable because our bodies have been objectified and commodified for so long" (141).
One thing I'll say is girls have it really hard in this world. Although it may not apply to all of the girls, majority of the girls tend to be more vulnerable, both physically and mentally. From being the ones that get pregnant and having periods to also getting into a lot of drama, I will admit that it looks so much harder to be a girl than a guy. I am currently taking a psychology class which deals with the mind taking control of your life. We go through a lot of illusions and cool mind facts which leads a lot of us to think that this world is basically A LIE. no it really isn't, but a lot of what the girls go through is usually dependent on how they think and how they react to their thoughts. Boys also may have quite a few problems like having to be muscular or be the money-maker in the relationship, but we care a lot less about the little things. Once again, this doesn't apply to all guys but in comparison to girls is what I am trying to point out here. And to top it off, advertisement and companies do whatever they can to make us more insecure about ourselves. boo they suck, stop targeting these vulnerable girls.

“The situation is very different for men. The double standard is reflected in an advertisement for a low-fat pizza: “He eats a brownie… you eat a rice cake. He eats a juicy burger… you eat a low fat entrée. He eats pizza. You eat pizza. Finally life is fair. “Although some men develop eating problems, the predominant cultural message remains that a hearty appetite and a large size is desirable in a man, but not so in a woman.” I have to disagree with this. Men face the same advertising that women face although not as much. Commercials and magazines display men with bulging muscles and women all over them same as with slim women displayed on every magazine cover. Men feel same insecurities with their bodies although it is not publicized as much. The ideal man shown has to be manly, extremely buff and emotionless.

"Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin"
Advertisements in magazines and billboards have molded an image of an unrealistic and unreachable prefect being. This has placed a heightened importance of vanity in many girl's minds. They want to uphold to these unrealistic images through unhealthy dieting, clothes and makeup all advertised by selfish companies and businesses. They take advantage of the loss of confidence and self esteem that many girls loose during their adolescent years. Not only does this cause unhealthy self criticism by these girls, but the standards that these girls much reach also changes for the guys around them. Seeing the flawlessness within the images in magazines causes many guys to wonder why their girlfriends do not look like the beautiful women in advertisements. These advertisements have had an extremely negative effect on women around the world from self esteem issues, to health problems and body image issues. It is sad that even when seeing the psychological harm that these advertisements have had on women around the world, corporations and businesses continue to put out these commercials and billboards for their own greedy benefit.

"Girls of all ages get the message they they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin....These images play into the American belief of transformation and ever-new possibilities, no longer through hard work but through the purchase of the right products. (140)"

Though we know it or not, we all have been influenced by advertisements. In fact, we will spend about three years of our life watching TV and all the commercials that come with it. Adolescent girls have become a favorite target to the marketing industry. This time of girl's life is very shaky and many girls tend to lose their self esteem and self confidence. The advertising industry knows this and seeks to take advantage of this new target group. Girls see in magazines and on TV perfect images of girls and they feel the need to look like that. In order to cultivate a thinner body, advertisements tell young girls that the purchase of the right products will make them thinner. This leads to unhealthy ways to attain thinness, detrimental to these young girls' health. There has now been a rise in the obsession with eating and weight control. Advertising causes girls to hate their bodies, which could result in eating disorders.

"Whether we are girls, women, boys, or men, all of us need real connection in our private lives and in our public policy, not the illusion of connection provided by advertising." (267) I chose this quote because it is a solution to the media problem. Adolescents need to become more aware of the advertising and media induced environment they live in. With all the advertisements exposing one's securities and promotion of bad behavior, a good relationship with another person can prevent the adolescent from dangerous situations or unhealthy lifestyles. Advertisements promote their products by making them look irresistible. It has caused a culture where people are never comfortable with themselves and feel a need to constantly change by objectifying women and men. The heavy influence of media can cause one to develop eating disorders and addictions because of the advertising image of true beauty. With a healthy relationship with other people, one can feel more comfortable about their body and their personality. They would not feel pressured or feel the need to change themselves to please others because they know someone cares about them. Regardless of income, race, or family situation, people with real connections help them enjoy daily life a lot more without feeling judged by the media.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Tingle published on February 12, 2013 12:26 PM.

Do blog entry 14: Write 2 paragraphs towards paper 3 (The Truman Show) was the previous entry in this blog.

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