Viagra Selfhood: Pharmaceutical Advertising and the Visual Formation of Swedish Masculinity

Article by Åsberg, Cecilia and Ericka Johnson

Using material from the Pfizer sponsored website providing health information on erectile dysfunction to potential Swedish Viagra customers (, this article explores the public image of masculinity in relation to sexual health and the cultural techniques for creating pharmaceutical appeal. We zoom in on the targeted ideal users of Viagra, and the nationalized, racialized and sexualized identities they are assigned. As part of Pfizer’s marketing strategy of adjustments to fit the local consumer base, the ways in which Viagra is promoted for the Swedish setting is telling of what concepts of masculinity are so stable and unassailable that they can withstand the association with a drug that is, in essence, an acknowledgement of ‘failed’ masculinity and ‘dysfunctional’ sexuality. With comparative national examples, this study presents an interdisciplinary take on the ‘glocalized’ cultural imaginary of Viagra, and the masculine subject positions it engenders.

Title of Journal / Edit Volume, incl. names of editors:
Glocal Pharma: International Brands and the Imagination of Local Masculinity.

Åsberg, Cecilia

Research Area:
Toxic Embodiment




URL to website/presentation:

Financed by Seed Box
Cecilia Åsberg´s participation in the Seed Box is partly financed by the Formas allocation, and partly through her position at tema Genus (Gender Studies). Ericka Johnson is financed by other sources.