Ana and E.D.
The other day instead of writing about Freud (I can’t stand Freud) or looking up examples of Gothic architecture, I was checking out Jean Kilbourne’s website. I heard her speak a few weeks ago here at NAU. She writes books and lectures on the effects of advertising, particularly related to drug/alcohol use and body image. She has a page of web links that are incredibly interesting.
I wrote a Sociology paper on eating disorders and the stats are pretty sad, most of them are from the 90’s so I’m sure the rates have gone up since then. Some of the things I found were encouraging, for instance the Dove campaign I’m sure we all know a little about. They not only have those commercials with “real women”, they also campaign around the country teaching mothers how to connect in a healthy way with their daughters. Some of those stats are on girls as young as 10. Most of these girls get the idea that they need to diet by overhearing their moms talking about trying to lose weight. So there are mother/daughter workshops in the form of cooking classes to form an awareness of the weight our words can carry with children. Personally, I distinctly remember girls in my second grade class talking about their weight. Sad.
There are also a few companies that treat women respectfully in their advertisements. We hear a lot about the ethics of companies, but always pertaining to sweatshops, not usually with advertising (except that period of time when they focused in on Abercrombie and Hollister, as they should have). There’s a website that gives examples of good and bad advertising, the link is to the good, I wouldn’t recommend looking at the others. That website also gives some resources on advertising and media literacy, something I think would be good for any American to keep up on.
I didn’t have a clue about some of the practices of advertising companies, it was interesting to hear Jean Kilbourne’s lecture. She touched on a few different things, the age that companies begin to target, catch them young and you’ve got them for life. Obviously everything is airbrushed, but I’m amazed at the extent to which they can alter images even on news programs. Also, interesting fact, the cover for the movie Pretty woman is not Julia Roberts’s body only her head. Same for the scenes where you don’t see her face. She didn’t quite make the cut.
I’m posting this just because I think it’s incredibly important to be aware of the problem, it’s growing at a scarily rapid rate, and it’s becoming a norm. There are chat rooms now, you know those sites for kids where they can become a cartoon character and have a name and whatnot, they’re Pro-ana and Pro-e.d. sites. Pro-anorexia and pro-eating disorders.