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Depression Promotion in Consumer Advocacy: Sick Brains, Scrutinized Behavior, and Self-Healing
Unformatted Document Text:  23 ourselves through the experience of representation, the current crisis in female ads images —as fragmented, anorexic, reflected and ghostly—, claims Schutzman, indicates a “hystericization of culture”. (p. 173). 27 Women play out their anger in binging, purging, or otherwise hysterically altering their appearance and behavior. Similarly, women are offered a (still largely feminized) depression script inviting them to mold their behaviors into something more becoming of a modern, productive, responsible citizen. Those who fail to recover risk losing their employment and/or children —their rights to produce at all. Shutzman suggests that the playing out of anger by mimicking the ideal female body is an ideal form of consumer resistance— it allows consumers to object to narrow framings of the ideal woman and, at the same time, demonstrates consumer comprehension that such framings constrain or govern women. This model is useful for theorizing what a culturally resistive therapeutic product or discourse might look like. A depression- resistive script or product might offer a discourse that is conscious of or deconstructs the assumptions of the standard script, and also leaves open possibilities for consumers to escape the script. However powerful the depression script may appear, its consumption is always an exchange, a multi-directional rather than to-fro process, making consumer resistance possible. The subject, however, cannot empower one’s self through simple resistance, according to Michelle Foucault. (1976, 1966, 1961) Active discursive tarrying with the depression paradigm works instead to reify biopsychiatric logic and motives of hyper-productivity. To usurp popular images and discourses of depression requires that consumers expose the governmental effects of the depression script. Consumers can empower their self, but avoid creating the self as a subject of recovery, by escaping the dominant depression script and its attendant diagnostic and therapeutic practices. Consumers can, for example embrace alternative behavioral norms, productivity levels or lifestyle values. Consumers can critique the script by defining his/her experience of providing (often confusing) grounding to the weightless citizen seeking morals, order, and cohesion in the anomie of 20’s and 30’s. (Lears, 1983) 27 More, women’s bodies are a measure of economic activity—society binges and purges on women’s bodies, says Shutzman. Images discipline women by representing the ideal woman as emaciated or sick at times when women’s participation in powerful roles is strong. Fashions and ideal body images for women reflect the state of the economy-- telling women how to look, behave and respond. Short skirts reflect a prosperous economy and anorexic images are responses to women’s strength as economic partners in the economy, attempts to obstruct their free flow (i.e. of menses and in the economy). (Schutzman, 1999) One can extend these ideas to depression by noting that women were re-dubbed as depressive in the 1990’s—at a

Authors: Gardner, Paula.
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23
ourselves through the experience of representation, the current crisis in female ads images —as fragmented,
anorexic, reflected and ghostly—, claims Schutzman, indicates a “hystericization of culture”. (p. 173).
27
Women play out their anger in binging, purging, or otherwise hysterically altering their appearance and
behavior. Similarly, women are offered a (still largely feminized) depression script inviting them to mold
their behaviors into something more becoming of a modern, productive, responsible citizen. Those who fail
to recover risk losing their employment and/or children —their rights to produce at all. Shutzman suggests
that the playing out of anger by mimicking the ideal female body is an ideal form of consumer resistance—
it allows consumers to object to narrow framings of the ideal woman and, at the same time, demonstrates
consumer comprehension that such framings constrain or govern women. This model is useful for
theorizing what a culturally resistive therapeutic product or discourse might look like. A depression-
resistive script or product might offer a discourse that is conscious of or deconstructs the assumptions of the
standard script, and also leaves open possibilities for consumers to escape the script.
However powerful the depression script may appear, its consumption is always an exchange, a
multi-directional rather than to-fro process, making consumer resistance possible. The subject, however,
cannot empower one’s self through simple resistance, according to Michelle Foucault. (1976, 1966, 1961)
Active discursive tarrying with the depression paradigm works instead to reify biopsychiatric logic and
motives of hyper-productivity. To usurp popular images and discourses of depression requires that
consumers expose the governmental effects of the depression script. Consumers can empower their self, but
avoid creating the self as a subject of recovery, by escaping the dominant depression script and its attendant
diagnostic and therapeutic practices. Consumers can, for example embrace alternative behavioral norms,
productivity levels or lifestyle values. Consumers can critique the script by defining his/her experience of
providing (often confusing) grounding to the weightless citizen seeking morals, order, and cohesion in the
anomie of 20’s and 30’s. (Lears, 1983)
27
More, women’s bodies are a measure of economic activity—society binges and purges on women’s
bodies, says Shutzman. Images discipline women by representing the ideal woman as emaciated or sick at
times when women’s participation in powerful roles is strong. Fashions and ideal body images for women
reflect the state of the economy-- telling women how to look, behave and respond. Short skirts reflect a
prosperous economy and anorexic images are responses to women’s strength as economic partners in the
economy, attempts to obstruct their free flow (i.e. of menses and in the economy). (Schutzman, 1999) One
can extend these ideas to depression by noting that women were re-dubbed as depressive in the 1990’s—at a


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