What the world needs now is inspiring soulful love dolls
October 12, 2007 -- In every corner of the globe, the naughty nurse just wants men to be happy. Today, Reuters reports that consumer products giant Unilever has provoked outrage from a major Spanish nurses union by running billboard ads with a "saucy depiction of a nurse" to sell the company's Axe deodorant. In Japan, naughty nurse Kunika is one of the life-size sex dolls (sorry, "inspiring soulful love dolls") sold by the company "4 woods." And in Russia, the makers of Gzhelka vodka appear to have crafted the mother of all naughty nurse advertising. This television ad shows a randy nurse set up a bottle of vodka as an intravenous infusion into an unconscious male patient, causing immediate arousal from the patient. The nurse then has onscreen intercourse with the still-unconscious patient, and later asks why anyone would need medicine at all. Why, indeed. These images suggest a pathetic evolutionary dead end: an auto-erotic obsession that actually undermines life, by fostering contempt for those who promote life.
The Reuters article is "Spanish nurses demand Unilever axe 'sexist' advert." It reports that Spanish newspapers say the General Council of Spanish Nursing, which represents 200,000 "workers," has actually threatened to initiate legal action in order to counter what it describes as "a gratuitous and unjustified affront to the nursing profession and to women." According to Reuters, the billboard ads appearing in major Spanish cities show a young "nurse" wearing a "short medical coat and stethoscope," while "[o]ut of a deodorant can pop the words 'Bom Chicka Wah Wah'--the uncontrolled gasp women are meant to utter when smelling Axe, or Lynx as it is branded in the UK and Ireland, according to Unilever marketing." Unilever's defense is familiar. A spokesman in London says that the company was "careful not to offend anyone," that the "ad was aimed at young men," and that "Axe as a brand has a lighthearted, irreverent approach to advertising. Clearly it is not meant to be taken that seriously." As always, we can say anything as long as we're just "joking."
Meanwhile, the Japanese company 4 woods offers Kunika, one of its "inspiring soulful love dolls," in an array of naughty nurse attire. The company has apparently been selling these life-size silicon dolls to customers around the world for five years. The 4 woods web site really had no explanation of Kunika's nurse theme, though it does have a lot of helpful detail about how the dolls work generally, including their interchangeable heads and the difference between the two available types of vaginas. We have no problem with any of this, except that the company is exploiting a stereotype of workplace sexuality that has undermined nursing for decades. Well, that and nurse Kunika isn't exactly a font of knowledge and expertise. See more on the love doll.
Gzhelka vodka commercial
Finally, there's our favorite naughty nurse ad ever. The television ad for Gzhelka vodka, which is now available on ifilm, apparently started airing last year. It shows an attractive young female nurse in a hospital setting give an IV bolus of a bottle of vodka to an unconscious male patient. As soon as the vodka starts infusing, the ad shows the patient become very aroused under the sheet. The nurse mounts and has onscreen intercourse with the still-unconscious patient, with some nudity blurred out. Near the end, onscreen text assures viewers that there is "no prescription needed," and the nurse herself asks aloud why the [obscenity] anyone would need medicine at all--implying that a bottle of IV vodka (and perhaps her sexual services) should cure any ill. Watch this commercial.
Russian nurses have told us that the "slutty nurse" is an enduring stereotype in Russia. But this "nurse" isn't just sexually available. She takes the lead in having sex with an unconscious patient who has not even consented--what some might call sexual assault, if it weren't for the fact that real men are, you know, always ready for anything. And we note that cool public health theme of having a nurse push vodka as the real cure for what ails a man, very helpful in a nation with one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world, and the same kind of nursing crisis seen in many other nations.
Thank you to Inna Selick, Olga Petrovskaya, Nora Tashpulatova who helped us with translation of the commercial and cultural information.
Why does the world, from the largest corporations to more exotic sexual subcultures, seem to be obsessed with presenting nurses as slutty twits, or even sexual aggressors? Some theories involve the general tendency to sexualize traditionally female professions that are viewed as assistive, and the sense that on some level regarding nurses as frivolous bimbos helps men deal with the fact that, in clinical settings, they may feel vulnerable to women who normally have less social and physical power. Unfortunately, the number of men in nursing remains below 10% globally, which is both a cause and an effect of the relentless linking of the profession with female sexuality in the mass media. In any case, as we have long argued, the naughty nurse discourages practicing and potential nurses, encourages sexual abuse, and undermines nurses' claims to the resources needed to resolve the global nursing shortage, which is killing thousands. (See our naughty nurse FAQ.)
The naughty nurse image isn't the only link between sex and death. But it must be one of the dumbest: a banal auto-eroticism that threatens to asphyxiate the entire society.