Assignment: Detecting Plagiarism
The following questions present a passage from a book chapter for APA and a student’s attempt to paraphrase or summarize the passage.
A) Read both passages carefully
B) Decide whether the student has plagiarized the scholar’s writing. Justify your response.
Primarily girls are told by advertisers that what is most important about them is their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty. Their “essence” is their underwear. “He says the first thing he noticed about you is your great personality,” says an ad featuring a very young woman in tight jeans. The copy continues, “He lies.” “If this is your idea of a great catch,” says an ad for a cosmetic kit from a teen magazine featuring a cute boy, “this is your tackle box.” Even very little girls are offered makeup and toys like Special Night Barbie, which shows them how to dress up for a night out. Girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin.
Even more destructively, they get the message that this is possible, that, with enough effort and self-sacrifice, they can achieve this ideal. Thus many girls spend enormous amounts of time and energy attempting to achieve something that is not only trivial but also completely unattainable. The glossy images of flawlessly beautiful and extremely thin women that surround us would not have the impact they do if we did not live in a culture that encourages us to believe we can and should remake our bodies into perfect commodities. These images play into the American belief of transformation and ever-new possibilities, no longer via hard work but via purchase of the right products.
Taken from: Kilbourne, Jean. (1999). ‘The more you subtract, the more you add’: Cutting girls down to size. In Can’t buy my love: How advertising changes the way we think and feel (pp. 128-154). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Student Summary #1:
In our current society women are constantly told that only their appearance matters, that what is most important about them is their perfume, their clothing, their bodies, their beauty. Advertisements constantly bombard women with images of perfect supermodels, and then these women hold themselves up to the ideal that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin. These images play into the American belief of transformation and ever-new possibilities, no longer via hard work but via purchase of the right products.
1) Is this summary plagiarized? Yes or no? Explain your answer.
Student Summary 2:
According to Kilbourne (1999), advertisements manipulate women in two ways. First, they present an image of perfect, flawless beauty–with an emphasis on thinness– as the ideal that each woman must achieve in order to feel good about herself. Second, that ideal is indeed possible to achieve, if the woman-consumer buys just one more product. Women themselves become the commodity as they purchase more and more products to achieve the impossible ideal (p. 132).
2) Is this summary plagiarized? Yes or no? Explain your answer.
Student Summary 3:
These ads featuring flawless, beautiful and extremely thin women that surround us are important because we live in a culture that encourages us to believe we can and should remake our bodies into perfect commodities. We ourselves become the products. (Kilbourne, 1999).
3) Is this summary plagiarized? Yes or no? Explain your answer.
Student Summary 4:
The problem is not simply that these ads featuring flawlessly beautiful women constantly bombard us. The second part of advertising’s manipulation is that we live within a culture that tells us we can remake ourselves into whatever we want to become–if we only work hard enough to do so. When paired with the unattainable ideal of flawless beauty, this hard work is really nothing more than the message to buy, buy, buy. The woman herself becomes the commodity (Kilbourne, 1999, p. 132).
4) Is this summary plagiarized? Yes or no? Explain your answer.
Student Summary 5:
As Kilbourne (1999) asserts, these flashy pictures and images of beautiful, thin, sexy women are everywhere around us. However, they would not affect us as much as they do if our culture didn’t encourage us to believe we can and should recreate our bodies into perfect products as well.
5) Is this summary plagiarized? Yes or no? Explain your answer.
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