Society for Medical Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
At the age of Viagra, new forms of pharmaceutically ‘enhanced’ masculinities, and industrialized desires are being shaped by one of the worldwide most leading drugs. The Blue Pill is not simply an ‘erection enhancer’, it is a full set of practices, ideologies, believes and imaginations of the self, body and its sexuality. Chemically enhanced sexual performance has been normalized in specific ways that signify the deliberate control over human’s sexual performance. The ‘Viagra-self’ learns how to invest in parts of the body in order to perform, it learns that it has to perform although it has an exhausted body that has to work restless to live.
In this paper, drawing upon fieldwork conducted at a pharmacy among lower middle-class men in Cairo, I attempt to show how imaginations, rationalities, dreams, fears, and desires are being industrialized, chemicalized, and mechanicalized in the age of Viagra. I also conceptualize the pharmacy as a site at which people negotiate the value of life and pain, they negotiate it with their ability to afford the price of their bare biological life. I examine also, how laws were issued, under dictatorship, and how the political far right movements - such as the Muslim Brotherhood – mobilized to ensure the availability of easy handy low cost generic Viagra in Egypt, as part of its imagination of citizenship rights! They mobilized to achieve the alleged ‘right’ of every citizen – men and women – to access the emerged sexual enhancer, the mechanicalized, timed and controlled ‘pleasure’.