While our society, culture, and industry rapidly changed throughout the 20th century, medicine and its impact on culture rapidly changed as well. As the influence of medicine grew throughout the century and into the 21st century, the prominence of medications grew as well, and over time it has somehow become the “norm” to be taking all these medications, even when they are not necessary for survival. As stated in the lecture from this week, medicalization of societal problems became prominent between 1950-1985, and this is described as “the control over bodies and behaviors through medical intervention.” After 1985 to the present, medicine grew into not just the control of our bodies, but the enhancement of our bodies/behaviors through medical intervention. The “need” for our lives to be enhanced biologically has been perpetuated through our culture tremendously.
I believe that menstruation is extremely medicalized in our society. Something that is obviously natural and has been dealt with for thousands of years, suddenly isn’t something that we should HAVE to deal with, and that is what pharmaceutical companies want us to believe. In the ad below for midol, a menstruation medicine, two “midol experts” tell a girl working as a waitress that she deserves better than to have to deal with period symptoms. The cultural values portrayed here are that nothing should stop or slow women down from working, and menstruation is a “problem” that gets in the way of being able to work. The social role of the girl as a waitress is actually not traditional in my opinion, as she has a job that she wants to be able to do efficiently. The presentation of the medical information regarding the drug is quick, as one of the women says “midol has three active ingredients” to tackle more than just muscle pain, claiming it is better than advil. This implies that menstruation is an even bigger problem than we thought before, and now it requires a stronger drug. While there is no doctor/patient interaction in this ad, they still imply that you will be much better off with midol, because “you deserve better.”