Video perfectly explains what the media does to women and why it's a global health problem
via Challenging Media

In 1979, filmmaker and activist Jean Kilbourne released the documentary "Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women." The landmark film provided an eye-opening look into how the the media's sexualized, objectifying images of women negatively affect society.

Given the fact that the media hasn't stopped objectifying women, its only got better at it through the use of digital tools, the documentary has been updated three times.

In 2010, Kilbourne released "Killing Us Softly 4" that revealed how beauty standards had become even more unobtainable in the Photoshop era.


"You almost never see a photograph of a woman considered beautiful, that hasn't been Photoshopped," Kilbourne says in the video.

Killing Us Softly 4 - Trailer [Featuring Jean Kilbourne] www.youtube.com

Even though the trailer for the documentary is 10-years-old, it's still a perfect, five-minute explanation of why the media's objectification of women is a major health issue.

"It creates a climate in which there is widespread violence against women," she says. "Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step toward justifying violence against that person. We see this with racism, we see it with homophobia, we see it with terrorism. It's always the same process, the person is dehumanized and violence then becomes inevitable."

"And girls are getting the message these days so young that they need to be impossibly beautiful, hot, sexy, extremely thin," she continues. "And they also get the message that they're going to fail. That there's no way to really achieve it."

Watch the original "Killing Us Softly" at this free link.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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This article originally appeared on 06.16.15


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