This week The New York Times ran a disturbing article about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and menopause, talking about how, for decades, women were pitched a message of decreased symptoms, disease protection, and a perennial youthful glow. The salesmen? Pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession. Their tools? Exceedingly effective advertising campaigns. The result? Countless women now battling cancer and other life-altering health issues.
We have become a society that is too often educated by advertising. And many believe the ads we see on TV, or read in magazines, to be true. Someone out there is doing a remarkable job convincing us we can be thinner, happier, more sexually active, calmer, younger, if we take the right pill. We can minimize our symptoms, ignore our bodies, leap frog over traditional therapies and healthful lifestyle changes by filling a prescription. I’ll never forget a commercial, aired during children’s programming, with two moms, their kids in the backseat, discussing fast food at a drive thru window. One ordered everything under the sun: burger, large fries, milk shake. The other shook her head, explaining her body couldn’t tolerate fast food. But, the first woman assured her, with the right medication she too could eat whatever she wanted. Next scene? Same drive thru, with the same artery-clogging fat-laden meal ordered by both. Just pop a pill ladies, and eat whatever the hell you want.