American culture is infested with a great many pernicious social constructs the abolition of which the Twistolution would celebrate with a yacht party in Bali. Drinks on me! Sarongs optional!
There are so many pernicious social constructs, in fact, that without a little help from the megatheocorporatocracy, it would be impossible to focus my full blaming powers on any single one. Fortunately, this morning I was aided by the Bayer drug company.
The Bayer drug company, you will recall from the Drugs and Society course you took sophomore year, did not invent heroin, but they were the first to market the heck out of it. Not, as is popularly thought, as a cure for morphine addiction, but as a cough syrup. Because heroin is just a quick-acting morphine, it really took off. After it was criminalized in the US in 1914 — kicking off one of patriarchy’s most beloved and enduring class wars, the War on Drugs — a sub-facet of addict culture was to scavenge scrap metal to finance one’s skag habit: hence, junkie.
Bayer quit selling heroin a hundred years ago, but they have been far from idle when it comes to producing pharmaceuticals of questionable efficacy intended for human ingestion. In the 80’s, they sold stuff called Factor VIII to hemophiliacs. Come to find out, Factor VIII contained the AIDS virus! Thousands died! So they developed a safer version to sell in the US. But they kept selling the old one in Asia and Latin America. It wouldn’t have been profitable to just throw the tainted stuff away.
But I digress.
Bayer blipped the Twisty radar this morning when it aired a television commercial for vitamin capsules. The capsules are called One-A-Day Teen Advantage. They come in two versions. That’s right. “For Him” and “For Her.”
Thus pointing at two highly celebrated pernicious social constructs with one spinster claw-finger.
I allude, of course, to the revolting concepts of gender and of teenagerdom.
It will not knock the regular reader off her recliner when I say again that I am revolted by the phony socialization bullshit that accompanies the arbitrary establishment of two — not one, not thirteen, but two — officially recognized genders, the differences between which are supposedly so extreme and whose interests are supposedly so diametrically opposed that an entire global paradigm of domination is necessary to control the vast, unknowable forces unleashed by this volatile boy-girl narrative.
But I haven’t touched on the bogosity of teenagerness much. So just let me say how revolted I am by the phony socialization bullshit that accompanies the arbitrary establishment of a bogus phase of the human life cycle devoted entirely to drunk driving, moping, responsibility-shirking, and JD Salinger novels. Teenagers are a marketing concept created to sell acne cream.
And now to sell vitamins, apparently. Bayer’s new Teen Advantage pill focuses on the “top health concerns of moms and teens” (dads, it is well documented, are oblivious to their children’s health; their top health concern is erectile dysfunction). The “For Him” vitamins address the critical dude issue of “healthy muscle function.” Girl-teen vitamins, on the other hand, are primarily concerned with “healthy skin.”
Seriously. This shit just writes itself.
So I don’t need to spell out the multi-faceted celebration of patriarchal ideology, binary genderism, and sexist bullshit encrapsulated by this asinine product. Hey, Bayer Product Development Guy! The 50’s called, and they want their male chauvinist pig jibbajabba back!
If, back when I was still a captive rebelling against the stifling stewardship of my nuclear family, my mother had induced me to take dork-ass pills called “Teen Advantage,” I would have written 8 pages in my journal about her smothering suburban uncoolness and how I couldn’t wait until I was 18, whereupon I would move to Manhattan, wear black, and become a fixture at the most prestigious literary salons.