Posted by: Babyblues | December 4, 2016

Wheels Up…

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Tonight we begin our trip overseas. Months of research, planning, and struggles will hopefully lead to the new and exciting journey of parenthood.

The last few weeks have been both challenging and stressful. The hormones make me sleepy, nauseous, hot, and uncomfortable. In addition, nerves and stress have heightened as we planned for our trip.

Anxiety stems from the unknown. We  have never seen the facility in Hradec Kralove, and do not know what what the donor looks like. The only certainties are: that we have a donor preparing for process, and a date for the embryo transfer on December 20th.

Now is the time to stop thinking and questioning. We need to have faith in the process, be positive, and continue to support each other.

A little pre-vacation is just what the doctor ordered. 😍 Tonight we travel to London followed by  Paris to de-stress before the procedure.

There are not enough words of gratitude to express our appreciation to everyone who has reached out with kind and supportive words. Your continued prayers are greatly appreciated 😀

Love,

Burke & Jeff

Bryna Caren Bat Naomi

Zev Ben Chuvele-Krindle

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Posted by: Babyblues | November 29, 2016

And The Winner Is…


 Czech Republic – Stunningly Different

After countless months of research, phones calls, consultations, and therapy our decision is set. The choice was not easy for either of us becuase there are many attractive facilities in Spain, Russia, Ukraine, Crete and the Czech Republic. We both struggled in our personal decisions, but ultimately came together in early October and decided on http://www.czechivf.com/ in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.

Ultimately, this clinic makes the most sense for a few reasons. First, the physician Dr. Vaclav Silhan, is extremy helpful and easily accessible, despite the time difference, no matter what day or time he promptly answers our questions and addresses our concerns. Second, we previously travelled to Prague in May of 2015, and loved the country. We  realized that our familiarity with the area is one less stress to add into the mix of traveling abroad for egg donation. Finally, our ancestors all came from Eastern Europe, and therefore, are hopeful that a child from a donor in the Czech Republic will share similar characteristics.

Once the decision was made the next set of hurdles emerged. First, picking a donor with only limited information presented. In Europe an egg donor’s identity and personal information is protected. Couples are not given access to pictures of potential donors. Instead we were asked to provide pictures of ourselves and our preferences for donor characteristics. Once this information was received the doctor then does his best to match up our preferences with the available donor pool. The clinic presented the following three potential donors:

  1. NO 250 , DOB 1991, 167 cm/62 kg, clour of hair dark blond , colour of eyes green-brown, education: student of university 
  2. No 265, DOB: 1996, 165 cm/58 kg , colour of hair is light brown , colour of eyes is green, education: student of university 
  3. No 241 DOB : 1986, 164 cm/ 60 kg , colour of hair is brown, colour of eyes is blue, education: university 

This limited information required us to once again step out of our comfort zone. We both struggled with the privacy protection for European donors, but respected the laws in place.

Jeff’s believed that the donor should be more closely resemble me as he will have a genetic link to the embryo. With this in mind we narrowed down our choice to donor 241, and pressed for any additional information that is permissible under European law.

Our biggest concern was the health and family history of the donor. We received the following from the clinic to address our concerns about the donors, “[s]creening of donors is perfomed according ASRM regulation (American Society For Reproductive Medicine ), our donors have strick genetics examinations (karyotype, cystic fibrosis, examination of muscular atrophy), and also in their anamnesis can´t be any genetically transmissible diseases . Our donors have also STD (HIV, BWR hepatitis ) examinations. Donor number 241 does not have in her anamnesis and anamnesis of grandparents and parents any diseases, which you sent (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and mental illness). Her parents and grandparents are still alive.”

We once again pressed for more information about donor number 241’s likes and interests. To which we received a brief responses, “[d]onor NO 241 is a also very intelligent and pleasant young women with two babies (son and daughter). She has university degree and works as a teacher. Donor No 241 likes reading books, watching movies and visiting theatres. Donor no 241 is a pleasant , I think she is outgoing and she smiles very often. When I spoke with her, she told me that she loves children. I recommend this donor, she looks most like you.”

After a few days of consideration and questions we picked donor 241. A decision that is a bit nerve wracking because there is still so much we do not know about this donor, but we put our faith in G-d that in the end we will have a healthy child.

One more hurdle was left before the process could move forward. Stay tuned for the next bump in the road on our pilgrimage for pink or blue.

Posted by: Babyblues | November 24, 2016

I Am Thankful For Him

The Western Wall in Jerusalem

My blog is incomplete without an entry about my best friend, and husband Jeff. In the course of writing this blog, I realize that I have not chronicaled  his tireless efforts in our journey to find an egg donor. Without him pushing and challenging me, I might have given up or settled for the first place. Jeff keeps me on my toes, he challenges me and makes me a better person.

Since early spring, Jeff has worked hard to get answers for our questions and concerns. He has spent hour after hour calling: fertility clinics, egg banks, religious organizations, support groups and former patients. His passion and dedication are something to be admired, and I grateful for his efforts.

Early in the process, when I was not comfortable about using a donor egg he stepped up. Through his perseverance he found someone who grappled with the egg donor process, but ultimately found success, and was willing to share her story. Initially, I was upset because I felt like he was pushing too hard. After one hour phone call with this generous soul, I understood that no matter whose egg it is, it will be my child. More importantly, I realized that I am blessed with a husband that goes above and beyond to help ease my insecurities. 

His passion and dedication lead me to believe that together we can tackle the difficult road ahead. It gives me courage to seriously listen to and consider all options presented. I know that with Jeff’s support, no matter what happens we will bounce back. We have endured many ups and downs, but in the end we are stronger because we tackle these challenges together. We may not see eye to eye all the time, but we always manage to find common ground. 

Jeff is an amazing human being. He is generous and giving. He never hesistates to help someone in need. He shows me what love is everyday through his actions and thoughts. 

Finally, I do not want my blog entries to appears as though he is hindering our progress. His passion and determination demand that he leave no stone unturned. He wants every question answered, and will not stop until he is satisfied. Even when I was ready to make a decision, I realized that it was time to step back and let him find the answers to those things that were not sitting right in his mind. That is Jeff and I would not change him. 

Today I am thankful for my husband and best friend Jeff😍

Posted by: Babyblues | November 23, 2016

The Kindness of Strangers

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Infertility is a very personal and private matter. Unfortunately, there is an unspoken stigma when a couple either by decision, or through no fault of their own is unable to conceive children. As someone who has been on the outside looking in for years, it can be painful to listen to other women gloat about their children, knowing that I have tried, but have not been blessed with my own, and therefore have nothing to add. I try to remain strong and happy for them, but I am human and often times I wait until I am alone to cry and express my frustration with my circumstance. For a long time I felt alone because I did not know anyone else going through my particular infertility struggle.

In the spring, when we seriously considered the egg donor route, I was both hesitant and scared. The largest obstacle for me centered on my discomfort with the idea of using another women’s eggs to conceive a child. In the meantime, Jeff searched for support groups to help alleviate our anxiety. Luckily for both of us a women in my Facebook group, who used an egg donor to conceive a child, agreed to share her story. After a lengthy conversation, my initial fear subsided and I was more willing and open to the process. This women spared no detail, openly sharing her experiences to a complete stranger. I was blown away by her generosity and openness. This one hour conversation steered us forward and gave us to courage to explore more possibilities with egg donation.

In the days following our Skype consultation with the three clinics overseas, tension and stress once again heightened, due largely to the unknown. We knew that there were people and support groups here in New Jersey, but not believe that these type of support groups existed for couples choosing to pursue medical tourism for egg donation. Our fears were soon quelled by the generosity of strangers. Three women who we never met, but were bonded to by the decision to use overseas clinics to conceive a child, became our support network. These amazing and generous women helped us navigate the overseas infertility clinic labyrinth.

The first woman I connected with was a mutual member of the above mentioned Facebook group. I knew it was a long shot, but posted in the hopes that someone may know a couple that opted to go overseas for egg donation. I quickly received a response from a woman living in Norway who was a current patient at Ava Peter in St. Petersburg, Russia. She did not hesitate to answer my questions and both her and her husband spent one Saturday morning for over forty-five minutes sharing their story and experiences with Ava Peter. Their journey and insight was invaluable in our decision making process.

The next woman an American, and former patient of the clinic in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, was referred by the doctor we spoke to at the clinic. Her kindness and openness were invaluable. She spent an hour talking to Jeff, sharing her experience and answering his questions. She never hesitated to answer our texts or emails. Her success story is an inspiration to us both.

The final woman that came into my life, has been my rock through some of my most difficult moments. We connected through Fertile Thoughts, and although we have never met face to face, quickly developed a lasting bond. She currently lives in Crete and recommended the Mediterranean Fertility Center, as she was a current patient when we first connected. Her generosity was outstanding as she offered to help is anyway we need, and even took pictures of the facility. Over the next few weeks, we communicated furiously and realized that we have striking similarities. She is my infertility sister 🙂 Based on her suggestion, we had a Skype consultation with the embryologist on staff. The clinic is attractive and the backdrop of beautiful Crete makes it even more appealing.

For the first time since we started this infertility journey, I felt like I was not alone because there is a sisterhood that is powerful and supportive. In fact, since I started this blog, many friends from different phases in my life have reached out offering their support and sharing their own struggles. No matter what happens going forward, I know that I am blessed by all those courageous women who chose to share their personal stories of both infertility and success.

In my next blog we will reveal the clinic we decided to use for the the egg donation  process.

 

 

Posted by: Babyblues | November 21, 2016

The World is Our Oyster

Once we realized that egg donation in the United States was not something we were comfortable with, we refocused our efforts. I buckled down, determined to find more affordable options and did what arguably I do best: research. 

A search for more affordable options for IVF and egg donation yielded countless resources abroad. I feverishly read and explored many links. One link in particular, http://www.fertilityclinicsabroad.com, provided a wealth of information and resources for medical tourism. I was able to locate numerous facilities at a much more reasonable cost than here in United States. The prices range from $6,ooo to $12,000 dollars.

In addition, I utilized a Facebook group for women struggling with IVF and http://fertilethoughts.com/ in the hope that I might find other Americans who had either explored or used facilities overseas for medical tourism.

Information overload presents its own challenges.  There is the fear of the unknown.  How do we know where the best place to go? How do we know who to trust? Compounding my efforts  was Jeff skepticism. How could I convince him that this was something we should seriously consider?

I took my new idea with information on three countries (Spain, Russia, and Czech Republic) to therapy in the hopes that this might be the forum to flesh out our discord. Surprisingly, our therapist was also unsure about going overseas. Her concerns, albeit valid, upset me. In my eyes I was alone, and I feared that her concerns would only fuel Jeff’s uncertainty. Ironically, it was me who was resistant and hesitant to the process early on, now Jeff was putting up road blocks to every idea that I presented.

We left therapy that night with a plan. Jeff’s job was to research the medical standards utilized by the clinics abroad, and look for any other viable options overseas. I on the other hand, was ready to move forward and began emailing the various facilities in an effort to set up Skype consultations with the three clinics.

I honestly believed that we had hit a wall that could not be torn down. I began to believe that we would never have a child. I was upset and did not know where to turn or who to talk to. In my mind, the person I trusted the most on this earth was resistant, not listening or really considering my new option.

The oyster was closing it shell and taking my hopes and dreams into its underbelly.

 

Posted by: Babyblues | November 2, 2016

Another Obstacle Along the Path

“There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”–Ralph Martson

obstacles

In my last post, I briefly alluded to a conversation with my friend, in which she encouraged us to not give up on the possibility of having children. As we sat at her dining room table, She recounted stories of women from all walks of life, who despite the odds, were able to conceive and birth a child. This conversation was full of promising stories, and despite my initial negativity, left me with a renewed sense of hope. If other women had struggle and did not give up, then we had no reason not to give it one more shot.

Our initial plan was to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist at a new facility because the prior two facilities, in which we did both IUI and IVF, were less than confident that these assisted technologies would ever help us conceive.

With a renewed spirit and hope, my husband quickly reached out to the facility in hopes that a new doctor may give us the answer we were hoping for. Unfortunately, there are many couples struggling to have children, so getting appointments are not always as fast as one would hope for. We waited patiently for our appointment, but clearly we both anxious.

When we finally did meet the doctor the news was not what we hoped. She concurred with the other two doctors, and did not recommend trying IVF again. Instead, she spoke about using an egg donor. Egg donation is an idea that we had heard a few years prior, but in the midst of the emotions of failed attempts at IVF and a spontaneous pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage, was never seriously pursued.

The doctor’s words pierced and paralyzed. I immediately began to focus on my perceived inadequacies. Although this was our best option, all I could do was focus on the unfairness of our situation. I began to once again question why we kept facing these difficult challenges. I retreated into protective mode and became the obstacle in our path.

 

After this initial consultation, my husband, without hesitation was on board for moving forward with using an egg donor, and stayed inside the office accumulating more information. Meanwhile, I was outside the office, scared and full of reservations.

Our disconnect caused immediate tension. We stopped being able to listen to each other, and found that our conversations were getting no where.  We both felt like our opinions and feeling were not being validated by the other. The more he pushed, the more upset I got. Neither one of us wanted friction or distance, so we decided that the best course was to seek out more information to help in making a more informed decision.

Stay tuned for the next post in which I will eloborate on how we were able to resolve our differences.

 

 

 

Posted by: Babyblues | August 2, 2011

Social Networking How Do We Really Feel?


Social networking on the Internet has changed the way we form relationships and connections in our lives. Today people can be “friends” in a more impersonal way with people they may have never met face to face. The biggest social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow for instant connections with a group or person that you may: share a common interest with, know casually, knew in your childhood, or met in a social setting. I am amazed by the amounts of “friends” people amass on Facebook. It is very interesting how the term “friend” has been expanded to anyone that will accept and invitation through Facebook.  Facebook and Twitter allow us to connect to not only to our circle of friends and family, but also to the world. In addition, social networking sites allow people from all walks of life to form “friendships” with people that share similar values, hopes, and dreams.

Social networking sites such as Facebook often influence a person’s decision-making process. It is fascinating the amount of people that will “like” a particular page or cause because someone else in their circle of friends has joined onto the cause. In the articles by both Danah Boyd and Brett A. Bumgarner, we get a picture of the deeper ramifications of the psychological ways in which individuals use these social media sites to sites to fill perceived voids in their lives, and build a sense of self and identity for the users. In the article “Why Your (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” Danah Boyd says, “By allowing us to have a collective experience with people who are both like and unlike us, public life validates the reality that we are experiencing.” (p. 443). One realizes that how much of a crutch these social network sites have become for people of all ages.  Someone may feel like they are the only one experiencing a seminal event in their lives, until they read someone else going through a similar experience.

http://www.wefeelfine.org/data/images/2008/07/30/1Ff7uAX7p0BIcXJd+dJ8iw_

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We begin to realize that our perceived unique experiences are in fact not so different from others. Furthermore, as both authors demonstrate through research and data, individuals are easily swayed and persuaded by these sites to act in conformity with the masses. Teenagers especially want to be a part of the status quo and will follow others just to be accepted.

The website http://www.wefeelfine.org/ is phenomenal display through both words and images of the ideas articulated by Bumgarner and Boyd. The website offers a unique perspective on the ways in which we as humans emote feelings. One begins to see that human emotions and feelings are a source of universal connection with people from across the planet. The creators of the site say it best in their mission statement, “At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what’s on our blogs, what’s in our hearts, what’s in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.” This is a remarkable commentary on the human experience. No matter how much we try to make ourselves original or unique, humans share the same fundamental emotional experiences: “We are reminded that no matter what we feel, there are likely a number of other people around the world who feel the same.” Each person has his/her own unique way of portraying this message, but in the end no matter our race, age or gender we all are same in our core.

http://www.wefeelfine.org/data/images/2007/08/22/2GiLArza8QV-tSDCYs7ccA_montage.jpg

Humans crave and need connections with others in order to be able to grow and feel full. The images displayed on this site make you laugh, cry and ponder. The image and words of the picture below leave a powerful impact because it illustrates that hopelessness and despair is not a unique experience:

http://www.wefeelfine.org/data/images/2010/06/28/VZTsTRvxRjDTOy6A-VvMyg_montage.jpg

This is one of the countless expressions retrieved and displayed on this website that show that our largely populated planet is connected on a personal level. These written expressions make one realize that no matter where you are, there is someone feeling the same thing or the experiencing the same emotions and experiences.

Humans crave their individuality, and social networking provides a forum to display ones attributes to the world. It allows for fast friendships and instant gratification, but it is these same experiences that can make people with a thousand “friends” feel lonely. Arguably, social networking lacks emotional connections and bonds. The website ““We Feel Fine” shows the ways that our planet can connect on emotional levels. People living across the world from each other are often experiencing similar events and sensations. A reality that exist despite differences in race, gender and culture. This is a fascinating concept that is well demonstrated in viewing the thousand of images displayed on “We Feel Fine.”

Works Cited

Boyd, Danah. “Why Your (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life” Common Culture: Reading and Writing About American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure. University of California at Santa Barbara: Prentice Hall, 2009. 422-452. Print.

Jonathan Harris & Sep Kamvar. http://www.wefeelfine.org/ May 2006. 2 August 2011

Posted by: Babyblues | July 27, 2011

Music at lightning speed can the industry keep up?

In our current lives technology and more specifically the Internet has changed the way we listen to, access, and create music. It is rare that people buy a compact disc (“CD”) from their favorite artists. Instead they turn to online venues such as iTunes or Amazon to purchase their favorite single or video. In addition, many local libraries offer their patrons the ability to access and download free music.  Napster in its inception, created a forum in which music was shared for free amongst its members. The result was that record companies and artists suffered because they saw no profit gain from this site. Finally, the Internet allows amateurs the opportunity to create music from the comfort of their own homes, and the ability to download their finished product to sites such as YouTube without the need of an agent or record label.

Acquiring music for little or not cost is not a new phenomena. In reflecting on how I obtained my voluminous collection of CD’s as a teenager, I realize that I took advantage of the Columbia House Music Club. The marketing ploy to attract members was that if you sign up and pay only one cent plus shipping you would get ten free CD’s through the mail. I as well as my friends could not resist. I remember people signing up with different names just to take advantage of these offers. I am not sure how these clubs made money because everyone always found a way to get around the additional monthly purchase requirements for membership. Before the Internet people pirated music by making mix tapes for each other, sharing music through less visible means.

The rise and dominance of Apple and iTunes has had a monumental effect on the music industry in both positive and negative ways. First and foremost, it allows for ease and affordability in purchasing one’s favorite music.  Most songs are sold for $1.29, far cheaper than purchasing an entire CD. Apple a company always on the forefront of technology, created a vehicle that capitalized on the music industries gold mine. In a blog article titled “Why doesn’t music say anything anymore” http://vigic.wordpress.com/tag/effects-of-itunes/ the author discuss the growth and affects of digital media on the music industry.  In particular he focuses on the failures of the music industry to seize the opportunities presented by the internet: “Most record labels originally used the internet as a marketing tool, in which they were able to feature artists and promote their new works.” In the meantime sites like Napster and iTunes surfaced providing instant access to a persons favorite music.  The inability of the music industry to recognize and develop quicker and cheaper means off selling their product left the industry suffering financial losses. ITunes is a brilliant platform because it permits the media industry a venue to sell a multitude of products in cheap and efficient ways. In “How iTunes Save the Music Industry,” by Jessica Ullian, http://www.bu.edu/today/node/5041  ,she shares the insights of  Sumner Redstone, an entertainment industry giant, about the ways in which to keep media companies profitable in the digital age.  Redstone does not see iTunes as a negative influence in the music industry, but rather he says it has, “resurrected the music industry” by creating a legal, affordable, instantly gratifying purchasing system for fans.” The iTunes name is synonymous with fast and cheap music and entertainment. The music industry needs to work with this medium and others to market and sell its products.

The Internet and specifically iTunes has caused financial harm to the music and entertainment industry. A reality that is directly attributed to the fact that iTunes provides a cheap means of purchasing a single song in lieu of shelling out money for a full album. In an article titled “The iTunes Effect and the Future of Content,”http://blogs.hbr.org/research/2010/01/the-itunes-effect-and-the-futu.html Scott Berinato discusses the research of Associate Professor Anita Elberse of the Harvard Business School, on the harm the digital platform is causing to the music industry. Berinato says, “she found that people are buying more music than they used to, but because more are buying online, they’re buying singles instead of full albums. The revenue from all those extra songs they buy doesn’t come close to making up for the revenue lost on the albums they don’t buy.” The loss of profits trickles through and cripples the industry in many important ways.  Elberse’s research found, “That album revenue was partly subsidizing the discovery and publishing of new music, which in turn created new buyers of music, tour tickets, posters, t-shirts, and so on. That revenue in turn helped develop that artist’s next venture, and discover yet other artists.” The music industry in many ways has been crippled by the power and reach of iTunes and other comparable sites. Today’s consumer recognizes that they can have their favorite song for a bargain price without the need to purchase and entire album. Why would anyone pay for something extra?

Some critics argue that the Internet has contributed to the demise of the music from an artistic perspective.  Those individual that are anti-Internet contend that the music industry is not the same. It’s unoriginal and diluted and lacks creativity and freshness. These new vehicles for sharing and buying music at a lighting speed makes it possible for someone with little or no talent to be a superstar, an instant musical fame. J-Zone in ““5 Things that Killed Hip-Hop,” sheds light on how the Internet has changed and influenced Hip-Hop and Rap. These ideas can be universally applied to the music industry. J-Zone says, “We’re in an MP3 world now, and somebody in their bedroom is on an equal plane with somebody that’s paid dues and worked hard”(p. 260).  The Internet has allowed those individuals with little or no talent to copy the styles of their favorite singers and songwriters with a click of a button. J-Zone says, “The Internet also killed rap’s number one asset. Anticipation” (p. 260). We live in a world of instant gratification and the Internet gives us immediate access. Counter arguments can be made that the Internet has allowed new artists a chance to display their talents in a forum that is open to everyone that has access to a computer and a connection to the World Wide Web.  No longer is it necessary to first secure an audition, agents or music labels to display one’s talent. In today’s modern technology a talented singer/song writer needs a way of recording and uploading to the Internet.

The Internet is not going anywhere and therefore, the music industry must adjust and take advantages of the positive attributes of the World Wide Web. Used correctly it is an invaluable tool to reach across the globe. Surely the music industry with its wealth of talent and ideas can figure out how to not let the Internet destroy a precious and valuable expression of values and diverse cultures.

Works Cited

Berinato, Scott. “The iTunes Effect and the Future of Content.” HBR Blog Network. Harvard Business Review, 2010, January 12. Web. 27 July 2011.

J-Zone. “5 Things that Killed Hip-Hop.” Common Culture: Reading and Writing     About American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure. University of California at Santa Barbara: Prentice Hall, 2009. 253-262. Print.

Ullian, Jessica. “How iTunes saved the Music Industry.” BU Today News & Events. Boston University, 19 September 2007. Web. 27 July 2011.

Vigic’s Blog. (2011, February 21). “Why doesn’t music say anything anymore?” Retrieved from http://vigic.wordpress.com/tag/effects-of-itunes/

Posted by: Babyblues | July 21, 2011

Read Advertising With a Critical Eye

The article, “You’re soaking In It,” provides the reader with a better understanding about the ways in which females are portrayed in advertising in detrimental methods for the sake of selling a product. In the article, Jean Kilbourne, a noted expert in the field of advertising, discusses the harmful ways in which females are depicted in advertisements. Kilbourne elaborates on her beliefs as to the motives and intended audience for advertisers: “More recently advertisers have discovered what they call ‘relationship marketing’ creating ads that exploit a human need for connection and relationships, which in our culture is often seen as a woman’s need” (p. 104-05). This focus unfairly puts pressure on women and girls to live up to unrealistic expectations, and fosters unhealthy behavior and mindsets towards females. The article elaborates on the violent and inappropriate ways woman and girls are being used in advertisements to make a profit. A reality that is truly disturbing for any person that takes the time to analyze and view the ads with a critical eye.  Anya Mkrtchyan brings up a valid counter argument when she writes; “I think this is very common for our day and age, especially with our ever-changing technology and society. I think advertisers are always looking for new ways to penetrate our minds to pull us in. With the speed we’re moving everything becomes outdated quickly, and with technology at our fingertips humans have become impatient and in need of instant gratification. By learning new ways to advertise, and to intrigue the women’s brain, they find success by playing into emotions and ads that mirror human connections.”

The problem persists because our society is bombarded by mixed messages on what is normal and acceptable behavior for women and girls. Kilbourne says, “Girls get terrible messages about sex from advertising and popular culture” (p.106). According to Kilbourne “relationship marketing” has resulted in what she perceives to be a “toxic cultural environment,” in which advertisers invade and control too many public spaces. Kilbourne acknowledges that despite her knowledge and expertise, the ability to raise her children is affected by the messages her daughter receives from advertising: “I feel I have to fight the culture every step of the way in terms of the messages she gets” (p. 109). It is a constant battle for a parent to shield their children from harmful messages being portrayed in the media. Everywhere we turn we see an ad promoting sex and half naked women. Kilbourne says, “It’s also difficult or even impossible to raise children in a culturally toxic environment, where they’re surrounded by unhealthy images about sex and relationships, and where their health is constantly scarified for the sake of profit” (p. 109).  I agree with Katherine Vallejo when she writes, “Its disturbing to see advertisers play with the youth in a way that can endanger their well being because they think they should look and act a certain way just because they see it on television depicted in such a glorified way. Its sick that wives have to worry about husband leaving them for younger women because the ads show young women as the wanted by men. It is emotional violence that could breakdown a person who does not know how to read the advertisements.” All too often we see that sex and beauty are of the utmost importance in our society and we are judged by unattainable standards perpetuated by the media.

Advertisers often use disgusting and harmful images of females in order to sell their products. Two companies who have been vilified for their harmful and inappropriate use of females to sell their products are Dolce and Gabbana and Burger King. Each has chosen to run ads in which females are portrayed in a sexual ways that are both repulsive and demoralizing.

The Dolce and Gabbana ad depicts a woman being pinned down by a man, while two men look on. The men appear to be acting as bodyguards to ensure she does not fight back. http://www.modelsandmoguls.net/articles/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/dolce-and-gabbana-gang-rape-tall.jpg Kilbourne says, “But ads often feature images of woman being threatened, attacked, or killed. Sexual assault and battery are normalized, even eroticized” (p.107). In this particular ad the woman looks defeated: “In other words, he’ll understand that you don’t really mean it when you say no, and he can respond like any other animal” (p. 107). Whatever the initial intent of the ad, it clearly is disturbing because it almost encourages gang rape. It is likely that most readers will not understand the ramifications of this advertisement, but the company has a duty to promote their product in a way that does not prey on the women of the world.

Advertisers send confusing, inappropriate and harmful messages in an attempt to create a connection between the consumer and product. A great example of this can be found in an ad for Burger King.  http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/kirbygirl87/2009/6/25/Burger-King-Ad-Causes-Controversy-with-Women-Everywhere   At first glance it appears to be an innocent way to sell what the company is marketing as an amazing eating experience. In reality the ad is fraught with terrible and inappropriate images. First is the shocked and petrified look the attractive female model is displaying with her mouth wide open waiting for the “BK Super Seven Incher”. Next is the caption, which is problematic without explanation: “It’ll Blow Your Mind Away.” This ad is troubling and inappropriate on many levels because of the message it sends. Kilbourne says, “Girls are told that boys are out for sex at all times, and girls should always look as if they are ready to give it. (But God help them if they do.)The emphasis for girls and woman is always on being desirable, not being agents of their own desire. Girls are supposed to somehow be innocent and seductive, virginal and experienced, and at the same time” (p.106). This ad is a perfect example of Kilbourne’s theories and beliefs about the negative and harmful effects on the female population. Surely there was another and more appropriate way to sell this sandwich.

The above two examples are perfect examples of the ways in which advertisers continue to foster negative and harmful stereotypes for females. Some may argue that they are innocuous images that not meant to be taken so seriously. It is exactly that attitude that puts undue pressure on certain groups and can lead to harmful behavior.

 

Pozner, Jennifer L. “You’re Soaking In it.” Common Culture: Reading and Writing     About American Popular Culture. Ed. Michael Petracca and Madeleine Sorapure. University of California at Santa Barbara: Prentice Hall, 2009. 102-111. Print.

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