Orgasm Inc.: Attacking Big Pharma With Little More Than Sex-Positive Platitudes

Orgasm Inc. outlines the pharmaceutical-industry-sponsored classification, diagnosis, and marketing of FSD—“Female Sexual Dysfunction”—as a disease suffered by “43 percent of women,” and the subsequent race for a lucrative cure. Innovations detailed include the Orgasmatron, a jerry-built spinal-implant doohickey, testosterone patches, and the clinical trials of a cream developed by Vivus, whose offices director Liz Canner infiltrates. Doing the on-camera investigator-narrator thing, Canner sticks to the established formula of strained-gonzo muckraking, including stock-footage asides and devastatingly unfunny animations. There’s plenty of inherent absurdity in the marketing-speak from Vivus (“. . . working closely [with physicians] to develop this disease entity . . .”) and the tests applied at the headquarters of a Chicago-based FSD clinic (“You’ll be wearing these 3-D glasses, you’ll be watching an erotic video. . . .”). Instead of giving the snake oil salesmen (and -women) enough rope, though, Canner smothers irony with condescending indignation. Too scattered in its arguments and piecemeal in its sources to weave together a convincing institutional condemnation—and the one FDA advisory panel we see does its work quite well, thank you—Orgasm Inc. attacks Big Pharma with little more than sex-positive platitudes, funky-mama coffee-shop strumming, and the usual “We as a society . . .” and “Our culture has made . . .” conclusions.

 
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1 comments
EstherI
EstherI

Kudos to Liz Canner for making this important film, "Orgasm Inc.: The Strange Science of Female Pleasure." I wasn't sure how the movie review by Nick Pinkerton in the Village Voice informed the reader about this film. Did Nick see it? This review reads like a casual dismissal. Liz Canner's documentary captures corporate attempts to capitalize on the medicalization of female sexuality. It has relevance to so many aspects of our US culture, e.g., marketing, medicine, media, human rights, and the intersections of them all. I recommend seeing thismovie with others. It will provoke many thoughtful conversations.

 

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