American society depends heavily on medication to make people feel better or even be a better person. The lectures this week discussed medicalization and biomedicalization in terms of Western Society. Medicalization is when medical professionals attempted to control a patient’s body or behavior through medications or therapies. The control medical professionals sought to obtain were in regards to the belief that a patient did not fit the criteria for what is deemed medically or socially “normal”. This can even be seen in mentally ill patients of the 1950s. Biomedicalization, however, is currently taking place today. Instead of focusing on the control of the body, biomedicalization focuses on the enhancement of the human body and behaviors through “medical interventions.” These interventions could include therapy, surgery, or in most cases, medication. American society heavily relies on medication to enhance our bodies. For instance, some students use Adderall to enhance academic performance and diet pills are used to help lose weight. While these are only some examples, these uses of medication accurately depict the values and ideologies of Western culture. In these particular examples, it is evident that our culture values highly productive and attractive individuals. Most people would agree that living a healthy lifestyle with plenty of rest and exercise will allow one to be productive and attractive, but there are also some people who seek perfection and success through any means necessary. There are some people who would risk their health and well-being in order to be successful and/or beautiful by taking medications that prove to have adverse effects.
The advertisement I chose to critique is a commercial for Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. This is an anti-aging cream that promises to help firm skin and make you look younger. It promises to reduce the appearance of wrinkles as soon as the first days of use and also promises younger looking skin before finishing one jar of product. This particular commercial for this product does not claim to have specific medical information and does not specify the two new anti-aging ingredients they have included into this micro-sculpting cream. There is no doctor/patient interaction to validate the medical benefits of this product but the packaging is sleek and sophisticated. They have a young, beautiful woman modeling the product and she seems happy and radiant. This is telling consumers that if they purchase this cream, they will have flawless and radiant skin. It is clear that Olay is targeting older women who feel the need to conform to society’s idea of what beauty is and how a woman should age. In a culture that values youth and does not like imperfections, an older person with wrinkles may want to conform by purchasing this product in the hopes that they will be accepted. Another marketing strategy they use is to promise fast results which will draw more people to the product that is supposedly guaranteed to work quickly. It is in this way that aging is biomedicalized as products like Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream attempt to enhance and stop a natural biological occurrence.