Today’s American society has become highly dependent on medications. There’s a medication for just about any ailment or discomfort we might have in our bodies. The goal of medicalization and biomedicalization is to use medical interventions, most commonly in the form of pharmaceuticals, to control and enhance our bodies, respectively. The use of medications has become more than just treating illness; it’s about controlling and enhancing our bodies to perform at their very best. In our culture being productive and efficient is what leads to success, and success is the measure in which we use to determine someone’s status in our society. Generally the most successful people are energetic, happy, and healthy. Unfortunately, most of these traits aren’t characteristic of the majority of the population, so we turn to medication. A great example of this is the “All American Asterisks” comic from the second lecture. All three of those “successful” people were able to become so because of their medication. Any bodily characteristic that is not ideal for being successful by social norms can be medicalized to a treatable condition. From being too tired to function to being hyper active and unable to focus and everything in between, there is a diagnosis and a medication for every variation from the expected norm.

One such variation from the norm is Insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep throughout a full nights sleep. This can cause serious problems in one’s life because of their lack of sleep making them too tired to function properly. One treatment for this is Lunesta.

Lunesta Commercial

The cultural values and ideologies of this commercial imply that the normal citizen falls asleep quickly and sleeps soundly without waking up for at least 8 hours a night. It is important to wake up well rested so one can be productive the next day. The social roles of the man with the sleeping troubles seems to be an employed man, there’s no mention of kids or a wife. He is kept awake at night with racing thoughts about remembering appointments and worrying about car payments and projects at work. This reflects the busy lives and many responsibilities we are expected to uphold in our society, and that they can sometimes get in the way of our health. The presentation of medical information is given by a non-present narrator with a very soothing voice. At first she asks questions outlining some of the symptoms of insomnia, then goes to tell about the benefits and side effects of Lunesta. A green butterfly seems to represent the relief that the medication brings. There is no direct doctor patient interaction other than the narrator advising those interested to talk to their doctor first. Other advertising techniques used are the soothing background music and clips of people sleeping happily. The soothing music and voice of the narrator enhance the effects of the ad by making people feel more relaxed, reflecting the effects of the pill.

This Post Has 1 Comment

  1. Vu Ho says:

    In the advertisement I do feel that the feeling the drug are being used just to get a better night of sleep. That the commercial gives an idea of having 8 hours of sleep. Though I understand that there are people that have condition that struggle to sleep, for example I can lie on the bed for 1-2 hour but could not get to sleep, but it seems that there are also people that just taking as a supplement to sleep even faster.
    It seems that from your advertisement there are some message that it familiarize to the audience that one struggles to sleep, a familiar role of a person that need to sleep for the job for tomorrow. Then the ads give a lure that a person can get this drug by talking to the doctor for a drug giving a possibility of getting a better sleep. In the commercial gave familiarity of their role, ideology, and gives an assurance that it is safe to take the drug.
    The media can give a powerful message that can change how people think. It seems that as time pass people are beginning to realize that there are miracle pills for every condition that seems accepted to be accepted by the media. Have a problem just pop a pill attitude have been increasing lately. In the Conrad article that as people are being more accepting to a condition of ADHD, there have been a sudden surge for consumption of ADHD medication. The symptom of Hyperactive and attention deficit is too board and the usage of the drug can be viewed as quick fix. There are an increasing concern of pop-a-pill culture like it is normal to hand out medication for any symptoms, taking medication for a quick fix instead of learning how fix the problem with other nonmedical method. So as for Lunesta I can see that some people use it as biomedicine for trying to improve the quality of life, at first Lunesta was to help put people to sleep ,but in the ads it condition just to get “to get 8 hours of sleep, to get a better sleep”. From what I think pop-a-pill culture is real in America.

    Archer, Dale. Accessed July 30, 2014.

    Potter, Deborah, and Peter Conrad. “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” Social Problems: 559-582. Accessed July 29, 2014.

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