Can female desire come from a pharmaceutical company? Check out filmmaker Liz Canner's documentary, Orgasm, Inc., and see what you think.
The film, which opened last week at Quad Cinema, explores the focus our culture places on pharmaceutical intervention for all that ails us -- even on the most intimate and amorphous level: female arousal.
Unless funding big business is what arouses you, you may feel inspired to reevaluate how we view female "sexual dysfunction."
Meika Loe, author of The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America, is also a professor at Colgate University. Her course Women, Health, Medicine is shown in the movie, and in Aleta Mayne's article in the Colgate Connect, Loe speaks about screening the film for her current students:
"The students experienced a dramatic paradigm shift in watching the film and talking with the filmmaker in thinking about how pharmaceutical marketing not only shapes our needs and desires, but also creates a sense of normal -- normal womanhood, normal sexuality," Loe explained. "This generation has grown up with pharmaceutical advertising and really takes it for granted."
"The documentary is a real wake-up call about the role pharmaceutical companies, the medical world, and media play in issues that are supposed to be of a personal nature," said Brittani DiMare '12. "I had no idea the degree to which our bodies, our health, our minds are being manipulated."
Here's to an elixir that's more effective and longstanding. One that has more to do with an earnest respect for authentic female sexuality and desire than generating profits. One that comes from teaching our daughters about sexuality in our homes and in our schools.
In a study published in Gender and Psychoanalysis, Daphne DeMarneffe found that preschool girls were more likely to have been taught the word "penis" than any specific word for their own genitals. And women in my study reveal that many mothers still aren't teaching their daughters about menstruation; and even if they do, it's so brief and awkward their daughters say it fosters in them a sense of disconnection from their own bodies.
We can't expect girls to grow into women who feel entitled to finding and feeling what they desire if we're not even comfortable talking about these things. Education and support may just be what the doctor should order.