In American society, medication can fall into one of two categorical contexts, medicalization or biomedicalization. The latter is what can describe what the medical scene was from the 1950’s to 1985. It was when medication was used to stop medical ailments so that one could return to normalcy and continue on with little or no difficulty. Biomedicalization is was came to be from 1985 until now. It is surmounts what is healthy and normal and pushes for better, enhancements beyond the norm. So medications can fall into one of these contexts by a means of what they are trying to eliminate or curb. Is it a want or a need? This gives a great understanding of what we can consider healthy and what we strive for in life while considering that medication can be pushed on us, inundated through advertising, and prescribed to us.


We are a society that always crave more and is not sated with acceptable or the norm. We can to push or bodies to the peak of health and fitness, our minds to optimal and not functional. As we saw in the lecture, advancements such as applying Rogaine for hair regrowth or elective cosmetic surgeries to alter ourselves into a image of beauty are examples of biomedicalization. And furthermore the advent of adult ADHD, from the readings, where we see this expansion of diagnostics that makes something once untreated and unnoticed, treatable and readily diagnosed is an example of expanding what we consider to ameliorate. This is what this culture is all about: advancement. We do not live 40 years these days, we live twice that. Not only do we live longer, now we are increasingly investing in weight management and the new ideal of what is healthy.



Here is an advertisment for the weight loss product Alli: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4GCjGTl0JM



The ad starts in a nice white back drop and shows a smiling person, linking happiness to the use of the product instantly. It goes on to say it is an added benefit to dieting and weight loss and this can maximize your already solid effort, so why not use Alli?. This is assuming that you want a slimmer body and most likely, most people do as this is an obvious trend in America. More so the main actor is a woman and arguably this is the demographic that it is geared towards given the hypersexualizing in America of the female body, shouting slimmer is better. The ad does present medically valuable information stating that it can add an additional 50% of weight loss to your continued effort by not letting the body absorb fat. It touts itself as medication, as it is, and this is indicative of you should be going to ask your doctor about this pill although they do not come right out and say that, it is understood. Briefly at the start it states that someone with a BMI of 28 should use this product, this is never said aloud as it could confuse or deter some people from using it, specifically people who just need to lose just those extra pounds. Also, the ad tries to legitimize itself by adding that they are a proud sponsor of the Breast Cancer Network, which is no afterthought as this creates a positive link between Alli and doing good in society.


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  1. Amy Sweetapple says:

    Alli is a weight management pill, and culturally we fixate on each other’s weight: women must be slender to the point where it’s sickening, and men should be in tip-top shape. Weight loss is more prevalent in women and is clearly expressed through ads like these, only showing women dealing with the scale and fighting weight loss. Politically, Alli is showing how much of a benefit taking their medication would be. A direct quote from the ad: “You have the will, we have the power” is insinuating their empowerment and subtly encouraging the outside help of weight loss since doing it your own won’t be nearly as effective. By advertising that you could lose up to 50% more with the pill, they will definitely lure people in and greatly profit. All of these aspects of the commercial are reframing this condition to be an illness that requires this medication. This ad is in a way discoursing viewers who are trying to manage their weight but are plateauing, not succeeding, or want to lose those extra couple pounds by saying how much more they could lose by just taking the Alli. Watching this ad, one could self diagnose that they need this extra boost in order to finally shed the pounds that they wanted, or use this as an easy fix for temporary satisfaction, and ultimately put them out of their misery of trying to lose weight by themselves. Companies targeting these culturally shaped illnesses by reframing symptoms emphasize the social factors that contribute to diagnostic expansion. As stated by Conrad, the managed care that our society has now is restricting on the health insurances that are provided to us. Also, he mentioned “a recent study that found that managed care might fuel growth in the pharmaceutical industry.” The study was dead on! By having managed care, it increases the potential for relying on prescribed medication for treatment. These social factors’ influences that were predicted a decade ago were quite accurate. The Alli advertisement is a great example.

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