Integrity Matters
Citing and Documenting
Surviving the Semester

APA Plagiarism Detection Exercise

The following questions present a passage from a book chapter for APA and a student's attempt to paraphrase or summarize the passage. Read both passages carefully and decide whether the student has plagiarized the scholar's writing. This exercise will help you determine whether you risk plagiarizing a source unintentionally.

Original text:

Page 132:

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.

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.


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