Jean Kilbourne, internationally acclaimed media critic, author and filmmaker, spoke at UNC’s Gender-Based Violence Symposium Tuesday on the relationship between objectified images of women in advertising and gender-based violence.
Kilbourne highlighted the theme of this year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month in her presentation — addressing gender-based violence through challenging social norms.
“We all grow up in a culture in which women’s bodies are turned into things, into objects,” she said. “And this is everywhere — advertising, social media, pornography, TV.”
Kilbourne said sexual and gender-based violence have become more than something that only affects a few. She said it is now a public health problem that affects everyone, and can only be solved by changing the environment.
L.B. Klein, a graduate student at UNC who worked to plan the event, said the symposium and Kilbourne’s speech are both aimed at emphasizing the month’s theme of amplifying new voices and shifting social norms to lead to prevention.