Medicalization and women : O, the Oprah Magazine diagnosed through critical discourse analysis
Williams, Katharine A.
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This thesis uses critical discourse analysis (COAl to explore and examine direct-toconsumer (OTC) pharmaceutical drug advertisements appearing in four issues of 0, The Oprah Magazine in 2006. The theoretical underpinnings of this thesis emerge from social scientists and feminists analyses regarding the medicalization of everyday life. The findings of this study highlight three types of discourses used by pharmaceutical companies. First, I explore the use of historical and contemporary gender norms to seJi pharmacological products; second, J examine discourses which normalize the use of chemical solutions as the first line of defense to address a wide range of everyday problems; and finally, I assess how phannaceutical advertisements provide an illusion of autonomy by responsibilizing individuals as patients, at the same time as they suggest that real independence can only be achieved with medication. My discussion of these themes also includes an analysis of why 0 Magazine, which explicitly promotes women's empowerment through holistic approaches to health and personal growthmight support such advertising. Thus I explore: how does OTC advertising benefit both pharmaceutical companies and 0 Magazine itself? I conclude through a brief discussion of the larger implications of OTC advertising for women's health.