Erectile Dysfunction

I believe that over time we have become so advanced and powerful in the ways that we can alter our bodies that we  have come to expect a lot more out of medicine than we once did.  Malaria pills and penicillin turned deadly illnesses into temporary discomforts.  Now, we expect the same results in areas of medicine that are not so threatening.  The age of Medicalization brought forth new ways in which we could control our bodies and behaviors through medical intervention.  However, we have moved past that and are now looking for ways to enhance them.  Take, for example, erectile dysfunction.  As I understand it, this is a pretty natural occurrence that comes with age.  However, we can now enhance our bodies with medicine so that we don’t fall victim to this natural cycle.

Cultural values and ideologies – that men should be able to handle problems when they occur.  this guy gets his truck stuck in the mud, so he should be able to figure out how to get it unstuck.  I personally would have just dropped it into four wheel drive, but that would not have been as artistic.

Social Roles- Men are portrayed as rugged and tough.

Presentation of Medical Information – There really isn’t much in this particular commercial.  I think it’s probably because viagra is a pretty established brand by now, every commercial doesnt need to remind “potential patients” about what its used for.  They advise consumers to consult with a doctor, along with a list of warnings.

Doctor/Patient interactions – There wasn’t a scene in this commercial of doctors meeting with patients.  Again, i think this has to do with the fact that everyone knows what viagra is used for.  However, the commercial does advise that consumers see a doctor before use.

Other Advertising Strategies- The song is an old blues tune.  one you could imagine being played at a cowboy bar.  It adds to the masculinity of the commercial.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Natasha Mehta says:

    Erectile dysfunction is a great example of an area of our lives becoming medicalized that isn’t necessary to be treated. As you stated, because we have advanced so much in areas of life threatening illnesses, it’s almost as if we are looking for things to enhance with medicine, and erectile dysfunction, which used to be a normal part of aging, is now being treated (literally) as an illness. I believe that our cultural views of how men should be able to perform sexually has brought upon the medicalization of erectile dysfunction. Pharmaceutical companies target consumers by making them believe that something that may be an inconvenience, but definitely not life threatening, is something that you “shouldn’t have to deal with” and that you should treat it, so you don’t feel like you are less than anyone else. Also, openly talking about sex and sexual issues has become much more accepted in our society in recent history, which I think has something to do with companies realizing that erectile dysfunction is an issue that many men experience, and that there is money to be made here. The Conrad article explains how people who suffer from the same problems contribute a great amount to the process of medicalization. I’m sure this is true, and many people would rather take medication and not deal with the problem then to let it naturally occur. In this commercial, they show an older man, who appears strong, smartly has the horses pull his car. They are sending a message that this man, who appears extremely manly, doesn’t deal with erectile dysfunction, and If you want to be more manly, you shouldn’t either.

  2. Drew Selden says:

    I think Natasha brought up a solid point about how the Conrad article explains how people who suffer from the same problems contribute to the process of medicalization and biomedicalization. If you can get a label or name for the suffering and discomfort of a certain problem or condition many people believe that you can be cured or treated for it..just because it’s classified and able to be diagnosed. In today’s age I feel like they view erectile dysfunction as an inadequacy or a failure to perform sexually which can lead to failed marriages and ultimately a feeling of worthlessness. Many men see the potential problems ED could lead to and think to themselves well I wont let that happen to me. If one pill could improve my marriage and my confidence why wouldn’t I want to take that daily. It used to be that ED was a common condition among older people something like older than 55 but I think the age is getting lower and lower where men are experiencing these symptoms. Also it used to be that you had to go to a doctor, get a diagnosis to be able to obtain medication for ED. In today’s age almost every other website are littered with advertisements for all different sorts of treatments for ED as well as their price per pill. It has become incredibly easy to get these pills solely because of the Internet and the amount of information out there.

  3. Taylor Cheney says:

    The condition of erectile disfunction is a prominent example of how in today’s society, people medicalize many things. People even treat normal natural occurring things happening to their bodies as a disease and seek treatment when it is actually unnecessary. Since we are so technologically and in turn medically advanced these days, it seems as though any problem you have with your body can be treated with some sort of drug, and people take advantage of that fact to the fullest extent. For men, they may fear that erectile disfunction can be viewed and misconstrued to women especially, as unattractive. Men feel weak, embarrassed, and even ashamed for having erectile disfunction, so it effects their social life as well as personal and family relationships. Economically, erectile disfunction is also a money maker for pharmaceutical companies. As erectile disfunction is not necessarily life-threatening, many commercial advertisements for drugs that treat ED give the thought to viewers that ED is not something you are required to live with, so here’s a drug you can buy to help you. The Conrad article discusses how people that have the same diseases and illnesses contribute widely to the medicalization and biomedicalization of certain drugs/diseases in today’s society.

    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

  4. Rolando Barajas says:

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a great understanding of the overmedication of our pill driven society. Historically males have been seen as the conquerors of life; they fought in wars, lead armies, they had to be well educated, and finally had to be the solid foundation for their families. Thus when men suffer from erectile dysfunction they face a harsh social stigma. Forcing this social idea that when males suffer from said illness it needs to be corrected right away or else they would be inadequate males. But many times it’s a normal phenomenon that can be caused by stress but once they begin to suffer from the illness they are further emasculated and have more stress leading to a cycle of negative behavior (due to social standards) that influences their health. Leading to seeking a desperate way of becoming healthy again by any means, Although in my opinion it gets to a point that when they may have one incidence of ED they fall victim to this cycle and due to media and force males to seek out medication right away because “Media, including TV, popular literature, and now the Internet, spread the word quickly about illnesses and treatment. This popularization of symptoms and diagnoses can create new “markets” for disorders and empower previously unidentified sufferers to seek treatment as new or expanded medical explanations become popularly available.” (Conrad). Thus leading to ads of men not having to worry about ED because there is a medication for them if they ever experience a problem, thus focusing too much on the biomedical aspect of the illness and shadowing the psychological aspect of the illness. Only furthering the profits of pharmaceuticals companies and expanding their market.

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

  5. Rolando Barajas says:

    Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a great understanding of the over-medication of our pill driven society. Historically males have been seen as the conquerors of life; they fought in wars, lead armies, they had to be well educated, and finally had to be the solid foundation for their families. Thus when men suffer from erectile dysfunction they face a harsh social stigma. Forcing this social idea that when males suffer from said illness it needs to be corrected right away or else they would be inadequate males. But many times it’s a normal phenomenon that can be caused by stress but once they begin to suffer from the illness they are further emasculated and have more stress leading to a cycle of negative behavior (due to social standards) that influences their health. Leading to seeking a desperate way of becoming healthy again by any means, Although in my opinion it gets to a point that when they may have one incidence of ED they fall victim to this cycle and due to media and force males to seek out medication right away because “Media, including TV, popular literature, and now the Internet, spread the word quickly about illnesses and treatment. This popularization of symptoms and diagnoses can create new “markets” for disorders and empower previously unidentified sufferers to seek treatment as new or expanded medical explanations become popularly available.” (Conrad). Thus leading to ads of men not having to worry about ED because there is a medication for them if they ever experience a problem, thus focusing too much on the biomedical aspect of the illness and shadowing the psychological aspect of the illness. Only furthering the profits of pharmaceuticals companies and expanding their market.

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

  6. charet22 says:

    I chose to comment on this particular post because of the topic of erectile dysfunction (ED) being explained, marketed and sold as if it is the natural thing to do. ED is not meant to be a legitimate medical disorder but rather the progression of nature’s expression in men as they age. It’s no secret that men’s levels of testosterone decrease as they age and that testosterone has a direct effect on a man’s libido and ability to sexually respond. It’s also no secret that the quality of sperm that a man suffering from ED due to age is much less and more prone to producing offspring that are not as healthy and almost acts as a natural deterrent against reproduction. These facts highlight the effects of nature on a man as he ages, but it is ads like that that make a stark contrast between science and nature. It is natural for a man to go through these ages, but this ad and the big pharmaceutical companies would say that this is natural process is abnormal and is thus a prime example of biomedicalization of a completely natural process.

    The Conrad article states how specific diagnostic criteria for specific diseases and behaviors will fluctuate in accordance with a particular society’s social structure. The core essence of ED is that of a social construct and that construct is that men should always be able to sexually respond regardless of their age when in fact that is not within the normal physiological processes that nature has hardwired into our DNA. When viewed from a purely biological perspective, sex has one goal: reproduction, and it is biology that governs our bodies. Our bodies are smarter than us, they know their physical limits and they know when to stop before damage is done, both to the individual and the individual that could be create.

    Conrad, Peter and Potter, Deborah. Categories. “From hyperactive Children to ADHD Adults: Observation on the Expansion of Medical Categories.” Social Problems Vol. 47, No 4 (Nov., 2000), pp. 559-582. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/files/2012/06/Conrad-and-Potter-From-hyperactive-children-to-adult-adhd.pdf

Leave a Reply