Jean Kilbourne

Jean Kilbourne

Senior Scholar

Ed.D., Boston University
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Internationally recognized for groundbreaking work on the image of women in advertising and critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising; creator of the award-winning Killing Us Softly: Advertising’s Image of Women film series, among other films and books

Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on the image of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising. In the late 1960s, she began her exploration of the connection between advertising and several public health issues, including violence against women, eating disorders, and addiction, and launched a movement to promote media literacy as a way to prevent these problems. A radical and original idea at the time, this approach is now mainstream and an integral part of most prevention programs.

Awards & Recognition

Kilbourne has served as an advisor to two Surgeons General and has testified for the U.S. Congress. She has also received many awards for her work, including the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities. The presenter of an award from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said, “No one in the world has done more to improve the image of women in the media than Jean Kilbourne.” Kilbourne was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 2015. Visit to learn more about this scholar-activist.