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New Men? The Medicalisation of Men’s Bodies on the Numan Website

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Masculinities and Discourses of Men's Health

Abstract

Men’s health is big business. For example, at the time of writing, the global erectile dysfunction drugs market is estimated to be worth 2.3 billion US Dollars (Grand View Research, 2021), while the men’s hair loss prevention and treatment product market is around three times bigger (Marketwatch, 2022). In this chapter, we explore the discourses that constitute the website of one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) leading peddlers of men’s health products: Numan. As an online service provider, Numan’s website effectively performs the function of point-of-sale advertising. Not only can website users purchase Numan’s products through its website, but the site also complements Numan’s television and other online marketing campaigns to inform its audience, mainly men, about its products, which include treatments for hair loss and erectile dysfunction, vitamin supplements, and health tests. Guided by a multimodal approach to Critical Discourse Analysis, in this chapter we explore how Numan discursively represents itself, its patient-consumers, their health, and its products, which are of course put forward as solutions to men’s health concerns. As our analysis will show, such representations draw upon and propagate particular discourses around masculinity, health, ageing and neoliberalism, all of which conspire to medicalise (and, in turn, pharmaceuticalise) aspects of men’s bodies and experiences, ultimately offering a particular version of what a ‘healthy man’ is.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    It is worth noting that many of the featured blog posts do in fact include links to external organisations and academic studies, alongside acknowledging side effects and alternative approaches to issues such as hair loss, thus providing more nuance than the product pages themselves. Nonetheless, some of these citations are themselves weak evidence, with the Mason (2022) blog ‘Minoxidil for beard growth: 5 reasons why the treatment might grow on you’ citing a study that compared eleven participants (two people had to stop from side effects) to a control group of fourteen (Price, 1987).

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Putland, E., Chałupnik, M., Brookes, G. (2023). New Men? The Medicalisation of Men’s Bodies on the Numan Website. In: Brookes, G., Chałupnik, M. (eds) Masculinities and Discourses of Men's Health. Palgrave Studies in Language, Gender and Sexuality. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-38407-3_13

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-38407-3_13

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