The screening of “Killing Us Softly 4,” the latest edition of author, speaker and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne’s documentary series on the image of women in advertising and in the media, was the focus of a discussion at Cal State San Bernardino on Feb. 28.

In the documentary, Kilbourne looks at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity, challenging 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. 

Zala Volcic, a visiting assistant professor in the communication studies department, introduced the documentary, then led a discussion and answered questions following the film screening at the John M. Pfau Library.

Volcic is the author of a number of books on media studies, including her latest, “Commercial Nationalism: Selling the Nation and Nationalizing the Sell.” Her research and creative works focus on relationships among media, gender, nationalism, collective memory and politics.

Kilbourne, who is also recognized for her studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising, is a graduate of Wellesley College and a doctorate in education from Boston University.

Kilbourne’s films, lectures and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. Kilbourne was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. She is the author of the award-winning book “Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel,” “So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood” and “What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids” (with Diane E. Levin).