In the essay written by Jean Kilbourne, "Beauty and the Beast of Advertising," the author attempts to explain one of the many flaws of today's society. Specifically, this flaw is the stereotypes and generalizations which are not only taught to new generations, but also to a certain extent superimposed on them by means of influential commercials and advertisements in a persuasive and subliminal way. In this essay the author presents her argument by utilizing several rhetorical devices which include humor, statistics, diction, and implicit claims.
Kilbourne claims in her essay that the youth of today are to an extent being brainwashed into growing up with certain beliefs and values. In the essay, women are specifically targeted. She brings into account how commercials and advertisements portray women as being housewives or sex objects. .
The author expresses her opinions through the use of many rhetorical devices such as humor, and statistics. Beginning very early in this essay Kilbourne employs the rhetorical device of presenting the reader with statistics in order to solidify the validity of her argument. She sets the foundation of her argument by stating that "advertising is an over $130 billion a year industry" in which "the average adult will spend one and one-half years of his/her life watching"(121). This initial statistic is used only in order to demonstrate how large the advertising market is and how much potential influence it has. Later in the essay, Kilbourne goes on to use statistics in order to give her argument more weight. She not only refers to a prestigious magazine but also quotes it several times; "75 percent (of women) feel too heavy", "80 percent of girls in the bay area are watching their weight" (124). These quotes demonstrate the effect that commercials and advertising are having on the female society of the world. The commercials are leading women to believe that they should all be perfectly built and ornated just as supermodels are.