Medicating Women

Mood-control drugs from first Miltown in the 1950s to later on Deprol or Valium to nowadays Prozac not only became a fast growing market during the Cold War but moreover established some sort of new life-style for members of the middle-class. 

While generally considered helpful for men and women, the medical professions and the pharmaceutical industry especially targeted white, middle-class, suburban women as their clientele. Constructing the image of an overburdened and incapable housewife, commercials in medical journals urged not only psychoanalysts but also gynaecologists and family doctors to prescribe these drugs to their patients.

In her novel Valley of the Dolls (1966), writer Jaqueline Susann links the use of downers like Demerol to show business and the life-style of the want-to-be rich and successful. The immensely popular novel, which was later adapted into a film, shows one road travelled to make the control of moods and minds with the help of prescription drugs an ongoing part of American life.


Valley of the Dolls | Mark Robson | Barbara Parkins | Patty Duke | Movie Trailer | Review

Valley of Dolls

Valley of the Dolls