Lifestyle Drugs and the Neoliberal Family

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Since 1997, advertisements for lifestyle drugs have saturated the U.S. airwaves, print media, and the Internet. Viewers are asked to see their children’s difficulty in school as attention deficit disorder, their worry as anxiety, and their flagging sex life as dysfunction. And for each disorder, there is a corresponding pharmaceutical solution. Through the lens of these advertisements, Lifestyle Drugs and the Neoliberal Family unpacks our contemporary obsession with obtaining easy solutions for difficult problems. The ads’ discourse illuminates the experience of living within a society increasingly affected by the policies of neoliberalism, one that requires us to invest and manage our own health with the ultimate goal of a materially productive life. Advertisements for lifestyle drugs promise to make us sexier, happier, and better liked; not to cure us of a disorder, but, ultimately, to make us better workers, suggesting that drugs do indeed work to keep us working.


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