The role of medications in American society has changed greatly over many years. As lecture 5.2 discusses, there has been a shift from medicalization to biomedicalization in our culture. I believe this shift in our role of medications has a lot to do with mass media. The internet and television are very good at altering our beliefs about certain things and they tempt us to buy many things that we were never exposed to years ago. Many years ago, we were only concerned with controlling illnesses and symptoms that we would come across. We simply wanted to feel normal and healthy. Now, we go above and beyond just feeling normal. We want to feel our absolute best and superior to what we used to feel. If it’s possible to achieve something greater than normal, the mass media makes sure that we are aware that it is possible. The lecture discusses how if we flip through a magazine we will see advertisements about pills that can make us happier or surgeries to make our noses straighter. Another example is a Rogaine advertisement that claims that the product can help you grow more hair back to make you look better. Our society is so focused on being the healthiest and best looking that we can be. We believe that this will lead us to more happiness and a better life.
This is a pretty stereotypical advertisement that one may see on television about depression. It explains how you may feel when suffering from depression and how Zoloft can help. In our culture, it is clear that some people believe there is a pill for everything. Depression is seen as a weakness and something that needs to be fixed. Depression is associated with being broken and not being a successful person. In the commercial, the people with depression are symbolized by the ball that is covered by a rain cloud. This shows how we see depressed people. Once the ball is treated with Zoloft, the rain clouds go away and the sun comes out, which shows how much better we visualize people without depression. There is a voiceover in the commercial that discusses the symptoms of depression and there is also an animation about chemical imbalances that causes depression. The voiceover also discusses the side effects of the medicine. We do not actually see a human or doctor in the commercial, rather it is all animated. The commercial is short, sweet, and to the point which may attract people with depression.
Karim, Taz. “Lecture 5.2 Trends in Biomedicine.” ANP 204 Course Website. East Lansing, MI, July 30, 2014. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/schedule/week-5-lecture-2/
YouTube. “Original Zoloft Commercial.” YouTube. Accessed July 30, 2014. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twhvtzd6gXA