The role of medication within American society is designed to help treat social and physical issues. It plays a large part in the daily life of Americans, as medication is available for a large range of illnesses. We have become reliant on using medicine to treat illness due in part to it having been so effective in the past and because we are constantly exposed to it, either through advertisements or meetings with physicians. Our culture has a preponderance of medicalization and biomedicalization that pushes us to pursue medication for illnesses that may not be illnesses, don’t need medication, or could help us reach an optimum state of health. Western culture is obsessed with the human body, from the appearance to the health of it, American culture is consumed by the need to perfect the human form, both mentally and physically. In the film “Pill Poppers,” they talked about how taking a pill can seem like magic, as we attempt to treat our symptoms to cure an illness or ailment or to obtain almost unobtainable levels of health.
When I watch TV, most of the commercials I see are geared toward those who experience insomnia, or trouble sleeping or staying asleep. In the commercial I chose, a woman is attempting to fall asleep, and as she tries, she gathers her ‘sleep’ cat close. The woman eventually cannot find her ‘sleep’ cat, as it is being bothered by the playful ‘wake’ dog. She eventually gets to sleep by using Belsomra, a sleeping aid. They explain the science of the medication, appealing to the Western practice of biomedicalization and our faith in medicine as a cure-all for ailments. It appeals to the consumer as a sleeping aid, and most Americans as sleep deprived, stressed individuals, seek out ways to improve sleeping habits. The commercial trusts that we are responsible and informed consumers who know what we are experience and tells us to talk to our doctor and appeals to us as decision making adults. As there are many options for insomnia medication and a large variety of ways to help insomnia without medication, the companies are relying on patients to seek out the medication from the physician.
It encourages people to seek out medication for ailments that could be solved in other ways too. Perhaps the most effective strategy in this commercial is showing the woman having a good night’s sleep, waking up the next morning and going about her day with a smile on her face. This appeals to the desire for a normal, well adjusted sleeping schedule and is an effective advertising technique. The use of animals as embodiments of sleeping and consciousness also provide a more humanizing and warm aspect to a very disruptive and irritating condition.