The role that medications have in the United States is large. We use medicine to fix our problems, even if those problems don’t necessarily need to be medicated to solve. Medicalization and biomedicalization have assisted in creating a culture where taking medicine is not just about getting “better”; it’s about being more than better. While medicalization was focused on the absence of disease (and treating disease with the assistance of medicine), biomedicalization was about medicine increasing the body’s efficiency. The processes of medicalization and biomedicalization have changed how we view our health, wellbeing and success. While medicalization provided us with a way to be able to perform if we couldn’t (if we were sick, taking medicine would make us feel better), biomedicalization allowed us not only to perform, but to perform at more efficient and effective rate. With capitalism, our worth is always tied to our productivity. And our productivity is at a disadvantage if our health is not up to par – so for there to be success, not only do we need to be healthy, we need to better than healthy. There was this advertisement in Ann Arbor recently from a plastic surgery clinic that stated “Friends don’t let friends muffin top.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a “muffin top” so to have this advertisement out there saying that if you have a “muffin top” you should get surgery to rectify that is just terrible. Thankfully, some individuals ameliorated that advertisement by crossing out that statement and adding a “You’re beautiful” instead. Because of biomedicalization and our consumer culture, our health decisions are now also informed by celebrities. Tazin Karim describes this process as the commodification of celebrity health – “That is, how the (perceived) health, medical expertise, and treatment decisions of a celebrity can become a commodity which embodies larger social relationships between the public, healthcare providers, and the pharmaceutical industry.”
I decided to look at insomnia and the drug Lunesta, which helps one sleep. Click here to view the commercial.
This video implies that falling asleep is an easy process – that one can just sleep without having any issues whatsoever. Furthermore, it also implies that sleeping for eight hours is standard and necessary. In terms of social roles, it reaffirms that we need sleep to be productive. Its use of the green butterfly almost seems angelic to me – the butterfly wings remind me of angel wings. And the moment the butterfly reached the individual, it was instant relief. The commercial itself is also very soothing – probably to emphasize the soothing nature of Lunesta.
Karim, Tazin. “The Commodification of Celebrity Health.” Anthropologies. Anthropologies, 15 Mar. 2013. Web. July 2014.
“Lunesta (eszopiclone) Sleeping Pill Commercial Ad – USA (real One).” YouTube. Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, 3 Feb. 2012. Web. July 2014.