The emergence and persistence of sunbed addiction in England, 1978-2010

First published: 09/05/2019 | Last updated: May 20th, 2019

(Context and Aims:) Both the media and scholarly investigations of sunbed users created, framed and reinforced sunbed consumption as a gendered addiction. This paper demonstrates how ‘ Tanorexic ‘ females were significantly overrepresented, yet men also used sunbeds. In 1994, the overall ratio of men to women who had used sunbeds was seven to eleven. Nevertheless, men were normally excluded from media reports and medical studies. When men were included, their consumption was never in ‘ excess ‘ and their accounts were not dramatised to fit the addiction framework.

(Method:) In this paper, Charles Rosenberg ‘s theory of framing will be applied to medical journals and newspapers to demonstrate how ‘ sunbed addiction ‘ developed in British culture.

(Results:) A chronological approach will illustrate the various stages of how this disorder was first created, and how the framing and specific gendering led to public policy intervention and legislation changes.

(Conclusions:) This research illustrates how ‘ medical and social thoughts are indistinguishable ‘. Also, an exploration of a new (and unexplored) psychiatric condition will demonstrate that it is useful to question the increasing power of governance through identity categories produced by authorities. Consequently, this paper encourages historians, and those from other disciplines, to question the framework of other disorders and addictions.

Key words: Sunbeds, Skin cancer, England, Gendered Addictions, Framing, Public Health.


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Miss Fabiola Creed