The role that medications have taken in American society has been on the incline every since the production of antibiotics. Medicalization is thought of as the control over bodies and behaviors through medical interventions. This idea of medicalization was used in the treatment of illness through biomedicine from about 1950 to 1985 . Then however, starting in 1985 and continuing to the present a new type of medicalization has been created and now used in biomedicine more often. This is biomedicalization, the enhancement of bodies and behaviors through medical interventions. The production of penicillin was considered a huge medical achievement in the time of World War II. The success of these medicines helped reaffirm the biomedical model and caused health and the human body to be conceptualized on the level of organs and cells. Therefore, medicalization thinks of the body as a universal biological body, where health is defined as having an absence of disease, and medicine as a tool to normalize the body. Beginning in 1985 this changed, with the new growing technological advances. Now medicalization could also be used in order to improve the social life of many Americans, shifting from medicalization to biomedicalization. Biomedicalization thinks of the body as customizable, health as a quantifiable commodity, and medicine as increasing efficiency and enhancing the body. This says a lot about how Americans perceive health, well being and success. Americans now do not try to fix a problem once its broken but instead choose to try and combat a problem before it even begins. This mind set really broadens the idea of health, to include physical and social attributes that are accepted. I think it truly shows that our culture is often based on physical characteristics and qualities, and now has even grown to effect the medications produced and distributed.
I choose to consider erectile dysfunction. These symptoms include things such as being unable to have or maintain an erection for an adequate length of time to perform any type of sexual activity. I feel as though every time I turn on the television I see a commercial for this disorder. This advertisement starts out showing a couple playing tennis together and begins to say something along the lines of “You two have been a great team, but erectile dysfunction can threaten that.” By beginning the advertisement in this way it is emphasizing the ideology that those that maintain a healthy sex life, are over all “a better team.” Tying together ones emotional happiness with ones sexual gratification. It also proceeds to say that it will help men be more confident. This was a way to tie in the cultural stereotype of men, since in western culture confident brawny men are often the ones idolized. This advertisement illustrates social roles, in the form of happy couples out on dates or in a passionate embrace. Instead of portraying these medications as what they are, medications with sometimes large compromising health risks, they instead choose to distract the attention away from these health risks by saying them as they show happy couples rowing a boat or walking along the water. In this way they are using emphasizing the benefits and distracting your attention away from the risks. Not once is a doctor patient interaction portrayed. Instead a handsome sounding voice naming of the risks given to him on a script and overshadowed through the use of pleasant imagery is presented to grab the attention of their target audience, adults males.
YouTube. “Cialis Commercial (2013).” YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMSv0GtzCDk (accessed July 29, 2014).