Erectile Dysfunction

I personally think that erectile dysfunction is one of the most overly medicated illnesses in the United States and in Western Culture. I think it is pretty easy to understand why this is considered an illness and why we are so quick to medicalize it. Erectile Dysfunction strikes right at the heart of the male psyche. It ruins the idea that a male must be fertile and virile. It strikes at male dominance and vitality. Western Culture is still slighted to male dominance even though we are making strides to fix this. The reasons for making this illness something that requires biomedical intervention is largely cultural. Men want a way to feel young and virile again, especially if they feel like their illness at all makes them feel less than whole. When a drug was found that could help men deal with erectile dysfunction it gained huge popularity because there was finally a chance that men could fix their problem.

 

Commercial for Viagra:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk9JwV8sZTs

 

It is very easy to do an analysis of this commercial. It shows men rejoicing, showing new vitality, and just being generally happy. This plays off of a lot of cultural values existing in western culture. First is the idea that a person must be sexually active in order to be happy. We idolize sex in our culture, make it something that must be achieved in order to be “normal” and that if you are not having sex or are incapable of performing then you are by definition “abnormal”. The commercial also shows the created and accepted social roles that we place in our society. Men must be able to perform sexually to be normal. How many commercials do you see about female sexual performance enhancers? Not very many, our society focuses on how females look, but how men perform. There is very little actual medical information giving in the commercial, and only in writing at the very end of the commercial. There is also no doctor patient interaction at all, even though it is a prescribed drug.

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