I have chosen the condition of erectile dysfunction. The
reasons for erectile dysfunction being biomedicalized are vast and
multidirectional. In terms of culture, there is a premium and expectation
placed on sexual performance, especially when speaking of gender roles. There
are female sexual “enhancers” on the market, but overwhelmingly, when it comes
to sexual performance, the focus is on men. There is a large market for men who
feel pressure to perform. Erectile dysfunction drug companies capitalize on
this market very well with promises of “mind blowing” enhancement. When
discussing any kind of pharmaceutical, politics seem to be involved as well.
Drug companies back specific candidates and parties with promises of policy
reform or economic favors. Defining erectile dysfunction or any kind of ailment
for that matter as an illness has benefits for many groups. Economically, any
kind of illness is profitable for drug companies. The more legitimate an illness
seems to be, often the more profitable the drug will be.
The link that I found was for the drug Viagra. Viagra is probably
the most common and well known treatment for erectile dysfunction. The
advertising strategy was direct and obvious. Take Viagra, and your life will
essentially turn around. You will be running up and down your street full of
joy and all of life’s other problems will seem obsolete. Again, the cultural
value of men performing sexually is a big player in the advertisement. Most of
the men in the commercial seemed to be successful average guys. The commercial showed middle aged men to elderly men. This makes sense as this is the common age range of men with erectile dysfunction. Medical information was absent from the advertisement. This was not surprising considering what the advertisement was even for, did not show up until the end. The statement, “talk to your doctor”, ended the video adding to the assumed legitimacy of the drug.