Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image of Women

Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes—images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.

JEAN KILBOURNE, Ed.D. is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. In the late 1960s she began her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction, and launched a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these problems. A radical and original idea at the time, this approach is now mainstream and an integral part of most prevention programs. Her films, lectures and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. Kilbourne was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses.

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 45 mins Production Year 2010 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"When I was a freshman in college, I saw Jean Kilbourne speak in support of her documentary Killing Us Softly—and it quite literally changed my life. It illuminated so much about how the media work and the impact of ads on our collective psyche when it comes to self-esteem, body image and women. I am not exaggerating when I say that it put me on the path to becoming whatever it is I am today (girl advocate, body image activist, and feminist writer). Well, now an updated version of Killing Us Softly is out... and if you have never seen any of Jean's work, now is the time."
    
—Audrey Brashich, Author of All Made Up: A Girl's Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty


Latinos Beyond Reel: Challenging a Media Stereotype

Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and among the most diverse -- accounting for one-sixth of all Americans and tracing their origins to more than 20 countries. They are also a rising force in American politics. Yet across the American media landscape, from the broadcast airwaves to cable television and Hollywood film, the reality and richness of the Latino experience are virtually nowhere to be found.
In Latinos Beyond Reel, filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun examine how US news and entertainment media portray—and do not portray—Latinos. Drawing on the insights of Latino scholars, journalists, community leaders, actors, directors, and producers, they uncover a pattern of gross misrepresentation and gross under-representation—a world in which Latinos tend to appear, if at all, as gangsters and Mexican bandits, harlots and prostitutes, drug dealers and welfare-leeching illegals.

The film challenges viewers to think critically about the wide-ranging effects of these media stereotypes, and to envision alternative representations and models of production more capable of capturing the humanity and diversity of real Latinos.

Filmmakers Miguel Picker & Chyng Sun Running Time 84 mins Production Year 2012 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Latinos Beyond Reel is a comprehensive and powerful exploration of stereotypes of Latinos and Latinas in American media. Whether one dimensional representations are in film, cartoons, television shows, or in news the documentary makes clear that the effects are powerful, not only on Latinos but also on other populations' perceptions of Latinos. By examining both historical and contemporary representations, animated or actual, the film shows how stereotypes go beyond the symbolic realm and can harm the minds and bodies of Latinos, particularly children."

—Debra Merskin, Ph.D., Professor of Communication at the University of Oregon | Author of Media, Minorities, and Meaning: A Critical Introduction


The Mean World Syndrome: Media Violence & The Cultivation of Fear

For years, debates have raged among scholars, politicians, and concerned parents about the effects of media violence on viewers. Too often these debates have descended into simplistic battles between those who claim that media messages directly cause violence and those who argue that activists exaggerate the impact of media exposure altogether. The Mean World Syndrome, based on the groundbreaking work of media scholar George Gerbner, urges us to think about media effects in more nuanced ways. Ranging from Hollywood movies and prime-time dramas to reality programming and the local news, the film examines how media violence forms a pervasive cultural environment that cultivates in heavy viewers, especially, a heightened state of insecurity, exaggerated perceptions of risk and danger, and a fear-driven propensity for hard-line political solutions to social problems. A provocative and accessible introduction to cultivation analysis, media effects research, and the subject of media influence and media violence more generally.

Filmmaker Jeremy Earp Running Time 51 mins Production Year 2010 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Students in my classes respond very well to The Mean World Syndrome. This film effectively places cultivation analysis into the context of earlier media effects research, addresses television's contribution to our perceptions of race, and emphasizes the crucial political implications of Gerbner's ideas. The Mean World Syndrome is powerful and emotionally moving."

—Bill Yousman, Ph.D., Author of Prime Time Prisons on U.S. TV: Representation of Incarceration


Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis of Masculinity

Acclaimed anti-violence educator Jackson Katz argues that the epidemic of male violence that plagues American society needs to be understood and addressed as part of a much larger cultural crisis in masculinity. Whether he's looking at bullying and school shootings or gay bashing, sexual assault, and violence against women, Katz makes a powerful case that male violence, misogyny, and homophobia are inextricably linked to how we define manhood as a culture. The film gives special attention to how American media have glamorized increasingly regressive and violence masculine ideals in the face of mounting social and economic threats to traditional white male heterosexual authority. Katz's innovative cultural approach to gender violence prevention has been adopted by the NFL, the NCAA, and the U.S. Marine Corps. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 82 mins Production Year 1999 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Violence Prevention begins with a fearless look at the cultural factors that encourage violence, especially school violence. Tough Guise needs to be watched by every high school and middle school student in America."

—Mary Atwater | Violence Prevention Coordinator | Jefferson County, Colorado


Its's Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports

We've been told again and again that sports and politics don't mix, that games are just games and athletes should just "shut up and play." But according to Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin, this notion is just flat-out wrong. In Not Just a Game, the powerful new documentary based on his bestselling book The People's History of Sports in the United States, Zirin argues that far from providing merely escapist entertainment, American sports have long been at the center of some of the major political debates and struggles of our time. 

In a fascinating tour of the good, the bad, and the ugly of American sports culture, Zirin first traces how American sports have glamorized militarism, racism, sexism, and homophobia, then excavates a largely forgotten history of rebel athletes who stood up to power and fought for social justice beyond the field of play. The result is as deeply moving as it is exhilarating: nothing less than an alternative history of political struggle in the United States as seen through the games its people have played.  

Filmmakers Dave Zirin, Jeremy Earp & Chris Boulton Running Time 62 mins Production Year 2010 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"By turns moving, maddening, touching, enlightening, hilarious, and sad. I can not think of a better way to teach my students about such a wide array of issues than having them watch this film."
    
—Ellen R. Hansen, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Social Sciences, Emporia State University


Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

This film throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car. Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children's advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how youth marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform American children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children's marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of kids.  

Filmmakers Adriana Barbaro & Jeremy Earp Running Time 67 mins Production Year 2008 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Consuming Kids is an invaluable resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, and anyone wanting to foster children's well-being. This film will be opening eyes and sparking discussion in psychology, media and cultural studies, sociology, health, and economics classrooms for years to come. As a professor of media and children's culture, and as a parent, this is the film I've been waiting for."            

—Lynn Phillips, Author of Flirting with Danger: Young Women's Reflections on Sexuality and Domination


The Codes of Gender

Arguing that advertising not only sells things, but also ideas about the world, media scholar Sut Jhally offers a blistering analysis of commercial culture's inability to let go of reactionary gender representations. Jhally's starting point is the breakthrough work of the late sociologist Erving Goffman, whose 1959 book The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life prefigured the growing field of performance studies. Jhally applies Goffman's analysis of the body in print advertising to hundreds of print ads today, uncovering an astonishing pattern of regressive and destructive gender codes. By looking beyond advertising as a medium that simply sells products, and beyond analyses of gender that tend to focus on either biology or objectification, The Codes of Gender offers important insights into the social construction of masculinity and femininity, the relationship between gender and power, and the everyday performance of cultural norms. 

Viewer Discretion Advisory: This program contains violence, nudity, and sexual themes. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 72 mins Production Year 2009 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Completely engrossing... For a generally jaded viewer such as I, perhaps the best measure of the effectiveness of this work is the fact that it made me see things I hadn't seen before and made me think in new ways about the ubiquitous images and messages that inundate and inform everyday life."

- Gary Handman | Educational Media Reviews Online


Big Bucks, Big Pharma

Big Bucks, Big Pharma pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry's marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication, and works in tandem with promotion to doctors. Combined, these industry practices shape how both patients and doctors understand and relate to disease and treatment. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges us to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being. 

Featuring interviews with Dr. Marcia Angell (Dept. of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Former Editor, New England Journal of Medicine), Dr. Bob Goodman (Columbia University Medical Center; Founder, No Free Lunch), Gene Carbona (Former Pharmaceutical Industry Insider and Current Executive Director of Sales, The Medical Letter), Katharine Greider (Journalist; Author, The Big Fix: How the Pharmaceutical Industry Rips Off American Consumers), Dr. Elizabeth Preston (Dept. of Communication, Westfield State College), and Dr. Larry Sasich (Public Citizen Health Research Group).

Filmmaker Ronit Ridberg Running Time 46 mins Production Year 2006 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Drug companies now spend more than $12 billion a year hawking the newest, most expensive brand-name drugs to patients and doctors in the U.S., regardless of whether those drugs are truly needed or any better than what's been available for years. Big Bucks, Big Pharma is an incisive expose of how marketing has infected everything doctors and patients learn about drugs, and a much-needed antidote to the tidal wave of self-serving drug company propaganda that dominates the airwaves. Anyone who ever prescribes or takes a pill should see this documentary."

- Alex Sugerman-Brozan | The PAL Project

 


Sugar Coated

IS SUGAR THE NEW TOBACCO? 

Sugar Coated examines the various public relations tactics that the food industry has employed over the years to beat back accelerating concerns about the toxicity of sugar. Its starting point is a secret PR campaign the industry devised in the 1970s to deflect attention away from developing health concerns about sugar. It then traces how in the years since the industry has honed its PR tactics to counter mounting scientific evidence about the dangers of sugar. In the end, Sugar Coated leaves us with two crucial questions: Will the PR specialists of the multibillion-dollar food industry continue their amazing run of success and allow Big Sugar to keep sweetening the world’s food supply? Or will today's heightened level of public awareness about the relationship between sugar consumption and skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease in children prove to be too much for industry spin to handle -- ultimately forcing the same kind of reckoning we saw with Big Tobacco? Featuring Dr. Bob Lustig, Gary Taubes, Cristin Kearns, and Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. 

Filmmaker Ronit Ridberg Running Time 91 min (full) 60 min (abridged) Production Year 2015 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

“must see…a beautifully crafted documentary”

- The Muff Society

 

 


A Burning Question

This fascinating and clarifying look at the debate surrounding global warming explores the striking disconnect between the relatively clear-cut concerns of the world's most prominent scientists and the maze of speculation, rhetorical posturing, and outright misinformation that attaches to this issue whenever it's taken up by politicians, PR specialists, and political pundits. Mixing a localized focus on Ireland with insights from scientists and leaders from around the world, the film serves as both a primer on climate science and a penetrating analysis of media framing and the science of perception management. An excellent resource for courses in science, environmental studies, global politics, and media.

Features commentary from former Irish president Mary Robinson, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, paleoclimatologist Jennifer McElwain, and a host of other prominent scientists and commentators.

Filmmaker Paula Kehoe Running Time 53 mins Production Year 2012 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Engaging and informative. Gets to the heart of the politics of climate change, examining the relationship between the science, the vested interests, the media, and the public. Essential viewing."

- Justin Lewis | Head of School, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University


Captive Audience

For marketers who wish to reach the lucrative youth market, the relatively uncluttered medium of the school environment represents the final frontier -- access to a captive audience of millions of students. Meanwhile dwindling federal, state, and local funding for education has left many schools vulnerable to the advertiser's pitch. As a result, commercialism has steadily increased in America's public schools in recent years, often with little or no public awareness. 

Captive Audience examines this growing phenomenon through numerous examples of in-school advertising; interviews with teachers, students, parents, and activists; and a case study of community action to oppose an exclusive soda contract in the Pittsburgh school district. Media scholars and critics -- including Alex Molnar, Professor of Education Policy, Arizona State University; Henry Giroux, Professor in Secondary Education, Pennsylvania State University; No Logo author Naomi Klein; and Bill Hoynes, Professor and Chair of Sociology, Vassar College -- offer a broad look at the issues at stake. 

Captive Audience is a compelling expose of the transformation of classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, and textbooks into advertising vehicles. It explores how education is short-changed and democracy is at risk when schools become marketplaces and commercialism goes to the head of the class. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 45 mins Production Year 2003 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Captive Audience does much more than map the various forms that school commercialism takes. It makes a powerful case that the real danger posed by commercialism is that students are principally being made into consumers rather than citizens capable of understanding and participating in democracy. . . an utterly essential resource for those concerned about the future of schooling."

- Kenneth Saltman | Depaul University


Pack of Lies

Pack of Lies reveals, with powerful insider information, the deception of tobacco industry claims that they do not seek to addict children to nicotine. It provides important analytical background from which to view the current debate. 

Jean Kilbourne is a nationally recognized researcher and lecturer on media, advertising, and health issues. Rick Pollay teaches advertising and marketing management at the University of British Columbia, and has been an expert witness in trials involving the tobacco industry. They team up to provide important insights on the power of advertising dollars to counter the influence of scientific research, to affect news coverage, and to put private profit ahead of public health. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 35 mins Production Year 1992 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Powerful, persuasive, informative and entertaining. An essential part of any tobacco education program."

- Dr. Black Cody | Chairperson, Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future