Gender in the Prozac Nation - Popular discourse and productive femininity

Academic Article


  • Since Prozac emerged on the market at the end of 1987, there has been a dramatic increase in antidepressant use and in its discussion by popular media. Yet there has been little analysis of the gendered character of this phenomenon despite feminist traditions scrutinizing the medical control of women’s bodies. The authors begin to fill this gap through a detailed content analysis of the 83 major articles on Prozac and its “chemical cousins” appearing in large-circulation periodicals in Prozac’s first 12 years. They find that popular talk about Prozac and its competing brands is largely degendered, presented as manifestly gender neutral, yet replete with latent gendered messages. These are about women with neurochemical imbalances but also about the need to discipline elite female bodies, to enhance their productivity and flexibility. This new form of female “fitness” mirrors demands of the New Economy and indicates how psychiatric discourse contributes to the historically specific shaping of gendered bodies.
  • Authors

  • Blum, LM
  • Stracuzzi, Nena
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • June 2004
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

  • Gender and Society  Journal
  • Keywords

  • Prozac
  • gender
  • new economy
  • psychiatry
  • psychopharmaceuticals
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 269
  • End Page

  • 286
  • Volume

  • 18
  • Issue

  • 3