FREE SPEECH ZONE | “Killing Us Softly” and “Africa Rising” showing in St. Paul


Filmmaker Jean Kilbourne is a household world in the homes of many young women, and their mothers and grandmothers, whose antennae have been tuned to sexist advertising by Kilbourne’s powerful films. A dear friend would describe this awareness of the image of women in the media as “perceptive paranoia” 

As part of their Women’s Human Rights Film Series, Advocates for Human Rights will join with The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library to present Kilbourne’s recent film, Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women, a film for which Kilbourne enthusiasts have waited ten long years.

The program is Tuesday, February 22, 7:00 p.m. at the Merriam Park Branch Library, Marshall and Fairview in St. Paul.   Following the film there will be a discussion of the film and the issues led by Kathy Seipp and Anna Donnelly, Women’s Program Associates at The Advocates.

Promotional materials for Killing Us Softly 4 describe the film in this way:

Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes — images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne’s groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.


“Africa Rising,” the third in the Women’s Rights Film Series, explores the conditions that shape the lives  of African girls who are subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM) at an early age.  The film travels through remote villages of Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mali, Somalia and Tanzania. Along with poignant stories of girls affected by FGM the film shows how courageous and creative African women and men are putting an end to this human rights violation. 

The film will be followed by a discussion led by Beatriz Menanteau, staff attorney in the Women’s Human Rights Program at the Advocates for Human Rights.

“Africa Rising” will be shown March 31, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at Metropolitan State University Library, Ecolab Room, 645 East Seventh Street, on St. Paul’s East Side.

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