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Not TonightMigraine and the Politics of Gender and Health$
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Joanna Kempner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226179018

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226179292.001.0001

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Gendering the Migraine Market

Gendering the Migraine Market

(p.106) Chapter Four Gendering the Migraine Market
Not Tonight

Joanna Kempner

University of Chicago Press

This book chapter examines explicit marketing strategies used by the pharmaceutical industry to sell migraine drugs. Drawing on an ethnography of pharmaceutical marketing practices and a content analysis of pharmaceutical advertisements, this chapter argues that the information, tactics, metaphors, catchphrases, and images communicated via these promotional schemes not only increase the visibility of those conditions for which drugs are advertised, they also inject public discourse with a new set of meanings and symbols with which to understand migraine. While in some ways new pharmaceutical technologies have facilitated biological explanations for migraine that have moved the discourse away from historical discourses about “neurotic females,” the analysis in this chapter suggests that many so-called “outdated” cultural assumptions about migraine—as an unimportant condition that only affects a particular kind of woman—remain embedded in the patchwork of images, narratives, and rhetoric produced by the pharmaceutical industry.

Keywords:   pharmaceutical advertising, migraine, pain, gender, medicalization, discourse, legitimacy

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