'The Naked Truth' lecture: Advertising's effects aren't all glitz and glam

12:58:08 PM CDT - Friday, February 11, 2005

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Jean Kilbourne wants people to look at advertising through her eyes.

Kilbourne, who is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising, will give a free lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, at the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex.

Kilbourne will talk about "The Naked Truth: Advertising's Image of Women." A report by the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women named advertising the worst offender in perpetuating the image of women as sex symbols and an inferior class of human being.

"The truth is that there's no way not to be influenced by advertising," Kilbourne said in an interview with Ms. Magazine.

Kilbourne has been taking her message about advertising's effects to hundreds of colleges and schools, conferences and even prisons for years. The March talk is, in fact, Kilbourne's second lecture at WSU in the past decade. As part of the now-defunct Forum Board Lecture Series in 1997, she talked about tobacco advertising.

Kilbourne has published books and articles on advertising's effects, her latest being "Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel." She's also made several award-winning documentary films and videos based on her research and lectures. Jay Carr, film critic for The Boston Globe, wrote, "With skill, humor and acuteness, Kilbourne encourages action against these society-weakening images. Never shrill, her indictment is, if anything, understated."

Kilbourne has seen advertising from a number of perspectives. According to various profiles published about her, her father was involved in the magazine publishing industry, and Kilbourne herself worked as a model and in putting together ads for a while.

"I really hated modeling," Kilbourne said in the Ms. Magazine profile. "At that time, there were no words like objectification and sexual harassment, but I knew that was what was happening to me. That left me with a real interest in the power of beauty."

Kilbourne's lecture is sponsored by the Student Activities Council, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Philip and Angie Bundy, parents of a Wichita Collegiate High School student, where two clubs study Kilbourne's curriculum. The Student Government Association provided funding for the event.
Kilbourne plans to sign copies of her book "Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel" following her appearance. The University Bookstore will sell copies of the book for $15.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the lecture.

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