Gender Representations in Online Modafinil Markets

Fleetwood, Jennifer and Chatwin, Caroline. 2023. Gender Representations in Online Modafinil Markets. In: Meropi Tzanetakis and Nigel South, eds. Digital Transformations of Illicit Drug Markets: Reconfiguration and Continuity. Bingley: Emerald Publishing, pp. 109-126. ISBN 9781800438699 [Book Section]

Fleetwood and Chatwin gender representations.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (933kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

This chapter examines representations of gender in online modafinil markets. While gender has often been absent from scholarship on online drug markets, our analysis demonstrates the ubiquity of gender in representations of modafinil users and sellers. The analysis draws on visual images, blogs, and marketing emails relating to three websites selling modafinil, discussed pseudonymously. We describe the range of ways that notions of gender are represented in advertising. Although women represent around 40% of that buying modafinil online, websites and communications tended not to feature women. Although sexist stereotypes of women were rarely present (in contrast to direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising), the ways that modafinil was imagined tended to focus narrowly on corporate spheres of work and productivity. We contrast this narrow imaginary with female journalists’ own accounts of using modafinil to manage illness and enhance creativity. Thus, we conclude that the ways that modafinil has been imagined reflects working assumptions as to who is considered the ‘normal’ participant in online modafinil markets.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):


Modafinil; advertising; gender; women; smart drugs; cognitive enhancers

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



16 August 2023Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2023 10:41

Last Modified:

29 Aug 2023 10:48


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)