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Communication, Culture & Critique

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Recent cultural criticisms of Viagra’s advertisements and promotional materials have argued that rhetorical constructions of Viagra users reestablish a hegemonic masculinity premised on heterosexual standards of traditional gender norms (Baglia, 2005; Bordo, 2000; Loe, 2004). Cultural critics have also noted that Viagra’s promotional materials allow “for alternative readings by potential users who do not fall into the category of the ‘traditional/ideal’ Viagra user” including women and homosexual men (Mamo & Fishman, 2001, p. 14). What most criticisms fail to take into account is that Viagra, like other lifestyle drugs, does not only reestablish cultural constructs of the contemporary gendered body and its subversions, but that Viagra’s advertisements also provide a rhetorical site in which to investigate the cultural body’s relationship to contemporary capitalism.


‘This is a peer reviewed version of the following article:

Swenson, K. (2008), Capitalizing on Affect: Viagra (in)Action. Communication, Culture & Critique, 1: 311–328.


which has been published in final form at: 10.1111/j.1753-9137.2008.00025.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving'.