Digestive Disorders

According to lecture 5.2, in American Culture Medicalization (1950-1985) can be described as the control over bodies and behaviors through medical interventions whereas Biomedicalization (1985-present) is defined as the enhancement of bodies and behaviors through medical intervention. Penicillin is possibly the most memorable pharmaceutical used in the twentieth century primarily for war. After WWII medical use was used to justify values and give individuals a sense of social control. In 1985, health began to be conceptualized about a customized body where biomedicine could be used to enhance individuals or make them as biomedically advanced as possible. Through media and societies ideologies of how healthy individuals are portrayed with things like ROGAIN or Proactive and plastic surgery, this new medical approach was possible. Mens Warehouse for example constantly portrays successful men as those whom are good looking, fit, stylish, and dressed business friendly. With that, endorsements of certain pharmaceuticals have been known to have large impact on society whom can relate to the certain illness. As so with the case of Bruce Jenner and Dorothy Hamill endorsing an arthritis drug, Vioxx which turned out to show increased risk of heart attack and stroke. In this case users of the drug end up losing trust in the athletes when in reality they were uninformed of the background information of Vioxx (T. Karim). This goes to show how society values products associated with biomedicalization when successful individuals stand behind the product.

I chose to mention digestive disorders which include common problems such as heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and show symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, gas, and cramps. Since I am a sports fan I constantly see commercials of probiotics and one a day vitamins to support the problem such as Erin Andrews Probiotics commercials targeting athletes and those whom experience any of the above symptoms. If you were not aware, Erin Andrews is one of the top female sports reporters mainly for college and professional football and professional baseball. The probiotic ads seem to focus on those with digestive disorder or in need of the pharmaceutical taking advice from a fit and good looking woman such as Andrews.

Both of these commercials take give the impression or ideology that people whom participate in physical activity should strive to have great immune and digestive systems in participating in their sport of choice (i.e football and volleyball shown above).

Erin Andrews is given the social role to portray the advice for trying the medication based on medical information given to her from Probiotic personnel for concern of the specified body systems which athletes may find more beneficial in maintaining.

These brief commercials do not ever show doctor patient interactions but instead use Andrews as someone who is around sports doctors and trainers everyday and by the look of her fitness lifestyle can be regarded as a reliable source for Probiotics.



Tazin Karim. “The Commodification of Celebrity Health” Antropologies: A collaborative Online Project. March 15, 2013. http://www.anthropologiesproject.org/2013/03/the-commodification-of-celebrity-health.html

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Shelby Brewington says:

    I found this advertisement and this illness very unique. I do see many different commercials for probiotics but never really realized it until it was brought to my attention in this post. I would defiantly agree that digestive disorders are publicized on a continuous basis. There are many different cultural values that now re-frame this illness. One huge on is the clear shift from medicalization to biomedicalization. Many Americans that have no been diagnosed with any type of digestive issue often still take daily probiotics. A recent survey concluded that 45% of Americans do. This is because now as a culture we seek to minimize any chance of illness through the use of pharmaceuticals. Another reason this illness was culturally re-framed was simply because many digestive symptoms have socially unacceptable or embarrassing symptoms. Therefore for example, those with IBS will seek any sort of treatment to conceal the fact that they suffer from this syndrome. economic forces have also re-framed this illness since many drug companies make large profit on chronic probiotic consumers. Those who can afford to help their digestive help do, leading to happy drug companies who just use that money to go out and push how important digestive health is. Retail sales of probiotic containing food an supplements in 2005 totaled $764 million. In the past probiotics were not nearly as popular, but with the food industry eager to capitalize on the latest health food trends, more than 150 new probiotic and prebiotic food products in 2007, compared to only 100 in 2006 and only 40 in 2005. All of these factors demonstrate how an illness can be re-written in order to require new biomedical intervention.

    “Untitled Page.” Untitled Page. http://w3.newsmax.com/newsletters/blaylock/issues/probiotics/blaylock_probiotics_28.html (accessed July 29, 2014).

    “Finally — Probiotics Becoming More Popular.” Mercola.com. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2007/12/25/finally-probiotics-becoming-more-popular.aspx (accessed July 29, 2014).

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