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Peter DeBenedittis '80 Blasts Media Portrayals of Women, Alcohol Use

February 21, 2003

February 21, 2003, Greencastle, Ind. - Peter DeBenedittis, a motivational speaker and 1980 graduate of DePauw University, "panned popular media for the way he said it portrays women and alcohol use" in a Wednesday speech at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, which was covered by the Effingham Daily News. Advertisements, movies and TV shows feature what Dr. DeBenedittis believes are, more often than not, unrealistic and unattainable image of females. "They want you to hate yourself," he said. "If you hate yourself, you buy more products."

In his speech, DeBenedittis claimed that "female clerical workers spend up to 50 percent of their income on 'fashion maintenance' such as clothes, makeup and cosmetic surgery," writes the paper's Bill Grimes. "Ironically, he said, the media also belittles women who have fallen for pop culture standards through commercials making fun of those with eating disorders and cosmetic alterations." "It's all fake," DeBenedittis said. "Every time you see one of these women in a magazine, it's not real." The media manipulation, as seen by DeBenedittis, "kills the spirit."

He also criticized media messages which suggest that consumption of alcohol is widespread. "One-third of adults don't drink at all and another third hardly drink," he told his audience.

Peter DeBenedittis teaches "critical thinking" and media literacy and travels the nation talking about how media messages can promote destructive behaviors in young minds. He's also been seen on CBS News. The Daily News points out that the Newark, New Jersey native "holds a bachelor's degree from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and master's and doctoral degrees from Penn State University. He spent 10 years in the Pacific island of Guam, where he ran an ad agency."

You can access the complete article by clicking here. Dr. DeBenedittis appeared on the DePauw campus in April 2001. You can read a story previewing that visit here.

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