In American society, medications have become so ingrained into our culture that it seems we could no longer live without them, as is evident in the “Pill Poppers” video. One woman in particular had eventually become addicted to her medication and literally could not live without it. Medications today help relieve pain, anxiety, depression, etcetera. They are used both in the context of medicalization and of biomedicalization because they control the body and its behaviors and also enhance the body and its behaviors. For example, medications for pain represent medicalization and medications used as stimulants, like increasing sex drive, represent biomedicalization. The importance that our society places on medications as almost a necessity of everyday life only outlines the value that we put in good health and the ideologies we hold of perfect, healthy bodies. Everybody strives to be perfect because we place a great deal of value in the idea of perfection, that it is something just out of reach but that we must covet and work towards. People like to be thought of as successful and nothing says success and wellbeing like a fit, healthy body. Thus, people have turned to medications to eliminate any imperfections and also to improve their bodies beyond what is normal.

The cultural values and ideologies behind this advertisement is that menopause is a very natural process through which every female goes. It can be helped but it is nothing to be ashamed of. The social roles outlined in the ad are that women with menopause sleep less during the night and are more irritated during the day. As far as presentation of medical information goes, the ad clearly states that the medication has been clinically tested and the research has been published, validating any doubt that the audience may have. The doctor patient interactions are summarized only in fine print at the bottom – the patient is more than capable of treating themselves with this medication and need only consult a doctor if they are having any serious side-effects. Another advertising strategy used is that the ad includes a picture of the medication in its box so that any potential patients would know exactly what to look for at the store.


2012-06-024 Remifemin

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alisyn Korpela says:

    There are many factors that come into play as symptoms become labeled as an illness. According to the article by Conrad and Potter, unclear and confusing symptoms experienced by individuals are better understood once the diagnosis is marked as an illness or a “legitimate” condition. Common symptoms experienced by the targeted population, within a particular culture, can become branded as a medical condition in one area of the world and not in another. A good example of this is menopause, experienced by women as they age and recognized as an illness in western society on behalf of the more outwardly expressive culture. Economically, this condition is highly advertised and commercialized to market the condition as common among the population and to promote the various treatment options available that counteract the problem in order to return the body to a normal state. Conrad and Potter mention in their article that, “by the close of the 20th century, patients have become more engaged in their own treatment and more demanding in what they want from physicians.” This provides comfort for those suffering and a bonus for the economy with the income provided by those seeking the various treatments from health professionals, with the desire to be “normal” again. By offering a concrete and comprehendible explanation for their symptoms, a population can legitimize their condition and easily seek those treatment options, provided by the political and economic forces who in turn are also benefiting from the newly recognized “illness.”

    Conrad, Peter and Deborah Potter. “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” Social Problems 47, no. 4 (2000): 559-582.

  2. Amber Roberts says:

    Menopause is a completely normal part of getting older and it is inevitable that all women will experience it in their later years of life. As we get older our bodies will change and although it is not an easy period, women are able to get through it and carry on after. However, because menopause is associated with symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, and night sweats it has a negative connotation and society sees it as an ‘illness.’ Though these symptoms are out of the norm for the human body, it is expected and normal for women to experience them. But society tends to look past this and see menopause as an illness so women seek to find ways to ease the burden of menopause and alleviate the symptoms. Women know that menopause is inevitable and a normal part of life but that doesn’t stop them from seeking ways to ‘overcome’ their ‘illness.’ Women often times use drugs that are not good for them in the long run to alleviate their symptoms because they believe that they need something to treat their perceived illness. Society has given women the idea that there is something wrong with them when they experience menopause, so women feel the need to ‘fix’ it and get back to normal, instead of accepting that it’s a natural process and simply part of life.

    Conrad, Peter, and Deborah Potter. “From Hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observations on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” Social Problems 47, no. 4 (November 2000): 559-582.

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