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.
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.