Jean Kilbourne, ad critic and 'Lecturer of the Year,' to speak

Internationally recognized for her pioneering work on how advertising represents alcohol, tobacco and the image of women, author Jean Kilbourne offers a slide presentation titled The Naked Truth: Advertising’s Image of Women at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall,  75 Russell St.

The presentation by Kilbourne, twice named “Lecturer of the Year” by the National Association of Campus Activities, explores the relationship of media images to actual problems in society — violence, sexual abuse of children, rape and sexual harassment, pornography and censorship, teenage pregnancy, addiction and eating disorders.

The event is open to the public at no cost. It is sponsored by the Bates Eating Awareness Association, the offices of the dean of faculty and the president, the departments of psychology and sociology, the Center for Service-Learning, the Health Center and the Psychology Club.

A widely published writer and speaker, Kilbourne is the author of Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel (Simon & Schuster, 2000), called by Publishers Weekly “a profound work that is required reading for informed consumers.” It won the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.

Kilbourne is also known for her award-winning film and video documentaries Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes and Calling the Shots. A visiting research scholar at the Wellesley Centers for Women, she lives in Boston, Mass.

Kilbourne has lectured at more than one-third of all the colleges and universities in the United States and all of the major universities in Canada, as well as scores of private and public schools. She is known for her wit and warmth and her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, encourages dialogue, and moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest.

An editorial writer in AdWeek magazine wrote of Kilbourne, “After listening to [her], I would never doubt her intellectual honesty. While she bills herself as a critic of advertising, she is more akin to a prophet calling out in the wilderness for fundamental change in the way we communicate publicly with one another.”

Kilbourne is nationally recognized as an expert on addictions, gender issues and the media. She served as an adviser to former Surgeons General C. Everett Koop and Antonia Novello and has testified before Congress. In 1993 she was appointed by the U.S. secretary of health and human services to the prestigious National Advisory Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

She has been deeply involved in the national campaign to stop the marketing of tobacco products to young people, and was the sole expert featured in a 1996 television special on this issue hosted by President Clinton and Linda Ellerbee.

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