A will to youth: The woman’s anti-aging elixir

A will to youth: The woman’s anti-aging elixir The logic and cultural myths that buttress the cosmeceutical industry construct the older woman as a victim of old age, part of an “at-risk” population who must monitor, treat and prevent any markers of old age. A content and discourse analysis of 124 advertisements from the US More magazine between 1998 and 2008, revealed three major themes working together to produce this civic duty: (1) the inclusion of scientific and medical authorities in order to define the cosmeceutical as a ‘drug’ curing a disease, (2) descriptions of the similarities (and differences) between the abilities of cosmeceuticals and cosmetic surgery to restore one’s youth, and (3) the logic equating youth with beauty, femininity and power and older age with the absence of these qualities. Together these intersecting logics produce the “will to youth”—the imperative of the aging woman to promote her youthful appearance by any and all available means. Further, by using images and references to fantasies and traditional fairytales, cosmeceutical advertisements both promise and normalize expectations of eternal youth of the aging woman. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Science & Medicine Elsevier

A will to youth: The woman’s anti-aging elixir

Social Science & Medicine, Volume 75 (7) – Oct 1, 2012

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0277-9536
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.02.061
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The logic and cultural myths that buttress the cosmeceutical industry construct the older woman as a victim of old age, part of an “at-risk” population who must monitor, treat and prevent any markers of old age. A content and discourse analysis of 124 advertisements from the US More magazine between 1998 and 2008, revealed three major themes working together to produce this civic duty: (1) the inclusion of scientific and medical authorities in order to define the cosmeceutical as a ‘drug’ curing a disease, (2) descriptions of the similarities (and differences) between the abilities of cosmeceuticals and cosmetic surgery to restore one’s youth, and (3) the logic equating youth with beauty, femininity and power and older age with the absence of these qualities. Together these intersecting logics produce the “will to youth”—the imperative of the aging woman to promote her youthful appearance by any and all available means. Further, by using images and references to fantasies and traditional fairytales, cosmeceutical advertisements both promise and normalize expectations of eternal youth of the aging woman.

Journal

Social Science & MedicineElsevier

Published: Oct 1, 2012

References

  • The rise of surveillance medicine
    Armstrong, D.
  • Older women and suntanning: the negotiation of health and appearance risks
    Clarke, L.H.; Korotchenko, A.
  • Images of aging: Cultural representations of later life
  • In the vanguard of biomedicine? The curious and contradictory case of anti-aging medicine
    Fishman, J.; Settersten, R.; Flatt, M.A.
  • A sociological approach to ageing, technology and health
    Joyce, K.; Loe, M.
  • Revisiting the biomedicalization of aging: clinical trends and ethical challenges
    Kaufman, S.R.; Shim, J.K.; Russ, A.J.
  • Medicalization of racial features: Asian American women and cosmetic surgery
    Kaw, E.
  • Risk, life extension and the pursuit of medical possibility
    Shim, J.K.; Russ, A.J.; Kaufman, S.R.

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