By thinking of them as sexual objects we hide the fact they are serious professionals
he sexy nurse fantasy is beyond commonplace. Don’t believe it? Just google sexy nurses and: Bang! One million pictures of women dressed as super sexy nurses will overtake your screen. Their dress and pose range from good-girl-gone-bad to vixens tropes ready to cater to your every need. They have a syringe in one hand leaving the other free to give you a hand job. All of this is enhanced by the allusion to bedside activities involving touch and body fluids of all sorts. Halloween costumes of sexy nurses are a standard, like the sexy pirate or the sexy anything, even the sexy bumblebee.
But why did nurses end up with this stereotype? Are woman in general OK with the stereotype because is just a sexy game? Do most woman hate these images? I don’t know and I couldn’t possibly know. Even though the general public sees these images as harmless, there are subtle yet deeply pervasive messages in them that can hurt and damage Nursing.
Yes, sexuality is powerful. And yes, an attractive woman is powerful. But what kind of power is that? It is the power to arouse another; the power of being attractive. Sensuality is powerful, and so both women and men play with this and why not? People generally want companionship, maybe even romance. A huge portion of our minds is occupied by sexuality… that’s undeniable. If you don’t agree, you are probably from a planet where beings reproduce asexually. It’s all about attracting sexual partners, and people are scanning the scene 24/7. Unfortunately this sexual power does not translate into professional power (unless of course you work for the sex industry). These sexual stereotypes are bad news for nurses, or any professional field, and they cause corrosive damage.
The public perception of nurses is already a complete disaster. In addition to the sexy nurse, there are other misconceptions. “Nurses are less intelligent then doctors,” or “Nurses only know how to wipe butts and give you stupid pills,” and it goes down from there if you live outside the United States. And let’s not forget if you are a male nurse, “You must be gay.” The image of the sexy nurse sits on top of a pile of stereotypes and misconceptions.
Not even when you finish nursing school do you really know what nurses do. It is only when you are caring for the lives of patients and responsible for every action done to them, you begin to understand what nurses do.
But at the end of the day it is all about power and money.
I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but it seems everything conspires for a few to have most of the power over the many. It is just the way our system is built. So the image of the sexy nurse has more to do with power then passion. If you look closely you’ll see that it is just a way to undermine professional authority. It’s the perfect trap: it’s hard to resist the urge to be attractive yet this leaves no worthwhile attributes. When you smell sex, smarts go out the window.
Think about it. If you look at the pictures in the sexy nurses Google image page, many things first come to your mind. Yet smart women is probably not one of them. Maybe they are smart, but your first impression is “sex” and not “intelligence”. It comes in handy to think of nurses as just sexual beauties rather than being smart if you are trying to control a certain group of professionals (who happen to be overwhelmingly comprised of women) and sit on top of a huge and amazingly profitable industry.
In this multi-billion dollar health care industry, nurses are the ones who bring home the bacon. They are the soldiers out on the frontlines. They represent a large part of the health care economy and the biggest part of the hospital pay roll. At the end of the day, keeping nurses under control just makes economic sense if you are going for big profits. You don’t have to pay too much money to stupid people. Why should you?
So here we are in this world filled with stereotypes, but what can we do about it? I think it’s all about being smart. Next time you look at a picture of a sexy nurse think about it. Does that represent your profession in any way shape or form? Are those playful images benign, or some real evil crap? It’s for you to decide. Some will argue that there’s nothing to it; sexy nurses are just part of the sexual folklore out there and I’m just overthinking it but what do you think?
Edited by: Alicia Ceccanese
Image credit: flickr.com