The picture portrayed by Joseph Dumit in his article “Pharmaceutical Witnessing: Drugs for Life in an Era of Direct-to Consumer Advertising” is a bleak one that highlights the manipulation tactics of marketers. Although it does appear to be increasingly true that “aspects of one’s life are inscribed as symptoms”(16) it is also true that with medical and technological advances we are able to recognize that “many dangers are imperceptible to us.” (22) With society as a whole becoming more educated and aware of potential illnesses, it is crucial to remember that this heightened awareness has a positive side, and goes deeper than marketing ploys.
We all have illnesses in need of some cure; this is the dreary view discussed by Dumit and utilized by marketers. This “dreary” view is also utilized by many medical researchers that have made advances and discoveries which have permanently bettered mankind, and have shaped the way we think about health, sickness, and ourselves. Medical advances and increased awareness of illnesses has humanized us and allows us to appreciate our own fragility and strive towards health. Medical treatment may not always be the answer, and Dumit is correct in noting that drug companies are able to capitalize on and exploit the new norms surrounding medicine, but this is not the whole picture. Our heightened awareness of illness and the reshaping of our identities allows us to take steps to better ourselves as individuals and mankind as a whole.