chapter
12 Pages

Gendering Narcotics

The nasty young woman represents the consequences of loving an unworthy object-or of harboring her in your home.2 This frenzied and feminized agent of destruction destroys the quintessential scene of social reproduction-the middleclass kitchen. The figure’s whiteness, youth, and middle-class status remind us that this commercial would not “work” if it depicted an always-already-unlovable woman of color, a poorly equipped kitchen, or a razed inner-city neighborhood. The destruction of nurture and domesticity, of women’s “rightful” place, and of the physical surroundings of a middle-class kitchen suggest that white women who use drugs fatally disrupt the process of social reproduction. Drugs have driven this young woman beyond the reach of the trappings of middle-class life and those who love her.