Erectile dysfunction

I believe that medications play a dominant role in the American society in terms of medicalization and biomedicalization. Throughout the transformation from medicalization to biomedicalization, the role of medication has became more prominent. In today’s society, the one of the main concerns/desires is having the best health and being successful – and if there’s a medication that can help, people are all about it. Medications are also influenced by celebrity status in American society. Celebrities that have deals with medication companies promote their product, influencing the people who may look up to them, or even those who dislike them. Paula Deen is as example of a celebrity that has an influence on those with type 2 diabetes, who is/(was?) the face of the medication Victoza. People had a number of reactions to learning of her diagnosis of diabates, as well as her endorsing Victoza.

I chose to look at a commercial for the drug Cialis which is for erectile dysfunction – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRoG-HyKcqA

There were a number of advertising strategies used in this commercial. It was directed towards males with erectile dysfunction, and gave them an example of a scenario in which they would not want this to be a problem. The commercial shows a couple sitting perfectly happy at dinner, and makes the situation look to be what would be considered romantic in our society. The man is supposed to be a consumer of Cialis. Erectile dysfunction is something that no male in our society would want to deal with, so it aims to appeal to everything that one who experiences this would want to hear. The commercial lists of medical conditions and warns those who suffer from them to be wary. This could make those who do not suffer from those certain medical conditions more inclined to try the medication. The commercial closes with the final sales pitch of informing the viewer to contact their doctor, the first step of getting the medication.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Alex Palffy says:

    Erectile dysfunction is a catch-all illness that came along because of a change in society. What changed was what the purpose of sex was thought to be. Procreation used to be the ultimate goal of sex, but now that is rarely the case. Sex is treated as a recreational activity and societal pressures expect “normal” couples to engage in it regularly. This is understandable because consensual sex is generally fun and a very intimate experience for the couple. The treatment options for erectile dysfunction are not prescribed with conception in mind, instead they are just supposed to cause an erection.
    According to a review by Giuliano et al, the causes of erectile dysfunction are numerous. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, and other psychological disorders can all contribute to the development of erectile dysfunction. The majority of cases are treated effectively with an enzyme inhibitor, which can bypass the factors that are leading to erectile dysfunction. Psychological therapy and sexual counseling are effective in some cases as well.
    In the past, any of these conditions could lead to erectile dysfunction and not much was thought of it. Maybe the husband would be distant and any sexual relationship a couple had would dissolve. A huge contributor to the medicalization of erectile dysfunction is simply increased awareness and sexuality being discussed more openly.

    Giuliano, F, and S Droupy. “Erectile dysfunction.” Progrès en Urologie. no. 9 (2013): 627-37. doi: 10.1016/j.purol.2013.01.010 (accessed August 4, 2013).

  2. Danielle Gittleman says:

    I completely agree with alex. The “illness” of erectile dysfunction came into being because of a change in culture and in the way we view sex. Years ago, erectile disfunction was a part of growing older but our society is now so adamant about staying young, counteracting those wrinkles, and doing everything we can to say in that twenty-something body. When you think about it, erectile dysfunction is not much different than menopause in women. Sex was meant for procreating and it has become more of a recreational activity as years went on. It was just something that a couple had to deal with after they’ve had their kids and those children had (most likely) “flown the coop”. Nowadays, there are commercials on TV all the time talking about Viagra and the many other medications that can change this problem that most men over the age of 50 or 60 have. It has just gone to show that the culture and our time has made it seem like this “illness” is just that. Its been made to seem that it is something out of the ordinary that shouldn’t ever happen and no couple should have to deal with. Because of these cultural boundaries, we’ve been taught to accept and to use medications to make us look, feel, and be younger.

  3. Angela Palmer says:

    I think the main reframe of Erectile Dysfunction comes from the American strive towards perfection. I believe there is an actual condition of ED and I think that Cialis was originally intended to help those men who do suffer from ED. Now that there’s a solution to this problem, men are acknowledging ED as a problem and seeking help for it. The reframe of this illness comes from the men who think they may have it, but in fact they do not. I really liked how the film Pill Poppers put it, the sense of normalcy is even seen as a problem. It’s normal for a man to have troubles sometimes, but now that there’s a solution men don’t want normalcy, they want perfection. Able to perform at all times and at any time. To reference this illness with ADHD and compare it to the Conrad article, I would say the main difference between the reframing would be the actual reason behind the reframes. I have no doubts this illnesses are ‘growing’ in numbers, but I believe ADHD is growing because of the broader and broader description of the illness. It almost seems to be getting more and more vague to me. And I think that ED is broadening because of, again, the American strive towards perfection.

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