The role of medications has transformed over the years. On behalf of the major influences of culture onto biomedicine, many trends have shaped the way biomedicine is practiced today. Some of these trends include, mass production, consumer capitalism, mass media, and other biotechnologies. Biomedicine can also be divided into two trends that have progressed over time, medicalization and bio-medicalization. In terms of medicalization, medical intervention was viewed as the control over one’s body and behavior. This reflects ideas of protecting the healthy and finding ways to treat the sick in order to see an absence of disease and return to a healthy state. Medicalization emphasized society’s belief of wellbeing at that time and the importance of controlling the bad in order to experience the good. On the other hand, bio-medicalization viewed medical intervention as means to enhance one’s body and behavior. Unlike medicalization, this trend reflected society’s belief in going beyond the normal state of wellbeing, to bigger and better, by acts of repairing and replacing. Bio-medicalization put the control of one’s health into his or her own hands with programs like the pharmaceutical industry and reflected the ideology of a customizable body.
According to the article from Potter and Conrad, medicalization has focused on how nonmedical problems become defined as medical problems, mainly as an illness or a disease. One example provided in this weeks lecture material is the concept of birth control. A nonmedical problem of menstruation among women could now be interpreted as an illness with the abundance of medical interventions available on the market to “treat” it.
A very commonly advertised medical condition, according to society today, is erectile dysfunction. I don’t think it is possible watch any sports network without viewing at least one screenshot pertaining to this condition. With the use of direct-to-consumer advertising, this normal process experienced by men is culturally viewed as negative or bad, with the intent that it should be treated through medical intervention. This ideology reflects the cultural belief that a man should not experience this condition, and in order to fully fulfill his duty as a male figure he should seek treatment to counteract the “problem.” The presentation of this condition is all over the media, whether it be a print ad in a magazine or a television commercial during the eight o’clock baseball game. In terms of seeking treatment, most advertisements suggest seeking help from a medial professional, emphasizing the four-stage process including symptom, examination, diagnosis and treatment.