February 26, 2014 : AUDIO: Celebrate Women Keynote Speaker Encouraging Others to Seek Change
Above: Listen to radio interview with Dr. Jean Kilbourne about her appearance at Ohio University Lancaster's Celebrate Women
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Dr. Jean Kilbourne is not alone anymore. But 40-some years ago that was not the case. In the late, 1960s, Kilbourne started studying the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders and addiction. At the time, her ideas were thought of as radical. Today more people are recognizing the issue as a real problem in our society.
“We’re seeing some change,” said Kilbourne. “But, as with all change, nothing is going to happen until a critical mass of people - enough people - demand better from our politicians, from the captains of industry, just demand better from our society in general.”
Kilbourne is the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebrate Women event at Ohio University Lancaster. The focus of the event is to build women’s relationships throughout the areas of community, university and business. The theme for this year’s event is “Stand Up, Stand Out!” Kilbourne is internationally recognized for her groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her presentation at Celebrate Women is called “Deadly Persuasion.”
“‘Deadly Persuasion’ contains a section on the image of women and the obsession with thinness, but it also contains a section on alcohol and tobacco advertising, and I attempt to show how all these things are related,” said Kilbourne. “In some ways, it’s a crash course on media literacy. Somebody once referred to it as Jean Kilbourne’s greatest hits.”
Kilbourne is known for her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides. She encourages dialogue and empowers people to take action. Kilbourne said that after more than 40 years of working to educate others on how women are negatively depicted in advertising, she still has hope that someday it will change.
“To date, there hasn’t been enough protest against it,” said Kilbourne. “Until that happens, the advertisers will continue to do what they’ve always been doing, partly because they’re not really as creative as some of them want to think and partly because obviously this is working. One way to sell products to people is to make people feel anxious and feel as if they’re lacking something. If women felt great about their bodies, they wouldn’t be buying all these diet products. If they felt fine about growing older, they wouldn’t be buying all these worthless anti-aging creams.”
Kilbourne has served as an advisor to the Surgeon General and testified for the U.S. Congress. She also received the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities.
Kilbourne will speak in the Ohio University Lancaster Wagner Theatre on March 21 at 11:30 a.m. Her presentation is free and open to the public, but attendees must register for a free ticket to get into the event. Registration information for Celebrate Women, registration for free tickets to see just Dr. Kilbourne, and a full list of panel topics and panelists, is available on the Celebrate Women website: www.ohio.edu/lancaster/celebratewomen.cfm.