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MAKERS Profile

Jean Kilbourne

Media Educator

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As a media educator, Jean Kilbourne believes the biggest challenge for women today is to develop a healthy self-image, in a highly toxic media environment. 

Jean's Biography

Coolest Career Highlight: When a Canadian punk rock band named itself Kilbourne, in her honor.
Ideal Interview Subject: Aung San Suu Kyi
Professional Role Model: Jean Baker Miller
Biggest Challenge for Women Today: Having a healthy self-image in a toxic media environment.

Jean Kilbourne is a feminist author, and speaker, who focuses on the image of women in advertising. Best-known for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising campaigns, she is also credited for introducing the concept of media literacy as a way to prevent problems resulting from mass media advertising. Kilbourne is a graduate from Wellesley College, holds a doctorate in education from Boston University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Westfield State College. She is the author of So Sexy So Soon The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Potect their Kids (2008), and Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel (1999)  which won the Distinguished Publication Award from the Association for Women in Psychology.  Additionally, Kilbourne is a prolific filmmaker and documentarian. Her most recent documentary, Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women was released in 2010. 

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