W5 Activity: Menstruation

Medications in American society in terms of medicalization often refer to treatment of chronic or recurrent conditions such as obesity, arthritis, menstruation, etc. These are typically things we are able to get over-the-counter medications for. With the abundance of medications to treat common medicalized conditions today, it is clear that we have come so far as a society to the point where we don’t have to live with even the most minor of discomforts. For example, a person with painful menstruations, such as dysmenorrhea or back pain, can take an over-the-counter medication, such as Midol to relieve their symptoms.


The appeal in this advertisement portrayed via many different facets. The cultural values displayed here are the fact that the woman is white, like the majority of American women, and that the ad is in English. The fact that this ad is featuring a woman holding her stomach in response to pain and does not delve into the medical reason for her pain to a very big extent shows that the U.S., like most other countries, tends to use censorship when referring to women’s bodies when regarding menstruation. This ad does not relate to doctor-patient interactions specifically because it was made for an over-the-counter medication.

2 thoughts on “W5 Activity: Menstruation

  1. Midol isn’t like birth control but it aims to bring about the same benefits for people that don’t take birth control. Getting a period is a natural thing, but the symptoms (cramps, nausea, bloating, etc etc) are seen as a nuisance. If doctors and pharmacists can find a way to get rid of them, then why not? Americans all value and strive for a simple and relaxed life, thus whatever can be fixed by a pill, is fixed by a pill. With the feminist movement, there also have been some ideas that women can perform better in the workplace as men do, but men’s judgement of a women’s emotions and the work she puts out is associated with the symptoms of her hormonal changes. If that can be put aside, then women and men can compete in fairness. Lastly, in Midol adds from the 1930-1960s show that taking Midol will make you an overall happy person. Its a “no symptoms, no fuss” type of situation. Of course Midol isn’t going to prevent any “serious symptoms” (as classified to be PMS or PMDD and other syndromes), but we have a solution for a common women with regular problems with her cycle.

    “Midol Ads, 1939, 1948 and 1960, at MUM.” Midol Ads, 1939, 1948 and 1960, at MUM. Accessed June 21, 2015. http://www.mum.org/midolsads.htm.

  2. Hello Anissa,
    I think the usage of menstruation medication is a good example for the types of medication that have been created for the sake of biomedicalization. Menstruation is a natural process that occurs in almost every girl of child-bearing age. In some cultures, it serves as the rite of passage for women. Menstruation can be around forever. Its not like some of the other illnesses that have began to occur in recent years, its always been. Common symptoms of a menstruation cycle include bloating, body aches, and abdominal cramps. The current medical market includes medication that helps calm these symptoms. Common medication used are pain killers and birth control since it prevents ovulation. Historically, women id not use medication to treat these symptoms, instead they just dealt with it, or used hollistic or natural remedies. However in Western culture, it’s deemed very possible and even appropriate to take medication for even the non-chronic, and naturally occurring processes like menstruation. Because menstruation has caused so much complication for women, and has side effects, its now considered an illness in Western culture. As much as I feel that people have gotten too comfortable with taking medications for every health concern, and healthcare and drug companies are too comfortable with providing drugs for every issue, I do understand why some people need medication for issues that aren’t considered “serious.” For example, I personally know people who suffered from cramps that caused them to lose their appetite, sometimes throw-up, and be in such significant pain, that it was necessary for them to take medication. It would be too hard to limit these types of medications because biomedicalization has made it possible to live more pain-free lives, and who wouldn’t want that?

    Mayo Clinic. Menstrual cramps treatments and drugs. Accessed June 21,2015.

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