We ran into a little double standard today on SMYS, and I would love to talk about it. A guy complained about a picture of barechested guys, identifying as nurses.
Ok, everyone knows I hate the sexy nurse thing. I. Hate. It. I try to swallow my feelings because others (non-nurses mostly) think I am very sensitive about it, and I do not like to force my beliefs on anyone. I had to go on autopilot last Halloween. The sexy nurse costumes actually cost this group hundreds and maybe thousands of good members, but I didn’t want to add another restriction to the list.
We were all in agreement about the sexy nurse toddler shirt, as it was pretty disgusting. Because making CHILDREN sex objects is just not ok on any level.
At the very beginning of the “Show Me Your Stethoscope” phenomenon, we lost perhaps MORE members than that because of the guy nurse ‘beefcake’ pictures. There was a nurse who got so many likes on a barechested picture of himself that he imploded when I deleted it (because I felt it was marginalizing male nurses as sex objects, and him in particular). He was horrified that I deleted his picture, because it got so much attention. Quite honestly, I am sure he got a lot of attention in his real life, based on that picture. I had a hard time relating. It is possible that I was insensitive.
But here is the thing…. There IS a ‘sexy nurse’ stereotype. I have had patients and physicians mention it. It is kind of icky. I feel like it robs our profession of the respect we deserve. The short vinyl skirt and nurse’s cap are insulting. It is someone pretending to be a nurse and sexualizing the profession. We go INSANE when someone impersonates a nurse, but we are not bothered at all when it is accompanied by sexualization? Weird.
A member who we will call R.B. recently posted a ‘shower’ picture showing his safe staffing bracelet. I found it hysterical, but was that because he was a guy, or because only the back of his shoulder and his hair were visible?
So, is it ok to post barechested pictures of yourself in a healthcare group, identifying as a nurse? I don’t mean ‘is it morally ok?’ or ‘is it ok according to my religion?’ or ‘is it ok with me aesthetically?’. I mean, is it ok for the profession? Does it perpetuate a stereotype? Does it marginalize nurses? Does your action actually impact the way nurses are seen by the general public?
I know, right? A lot to think about. You thought you were just showing us the awesome muscles you got at the gym, folks! 🙂 Why is it ok to sexualize MEN in nursing, and not women?
Discuss. Halloween is coming around again.
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