The Hottie with the Lamp
November 19, 2004 -- You might think that the "naughty nurse" thing might finally be playing itself out in our collective erotic unconscious. But judging from the variety of "naughty nurse" apparel still being sold by lingerie retailers, that is not the case. One notable example is "3 Wishes Lingerie," whose online selection includes outfits labeled "Naughty Nurse," "Nurse Naughty," "Night Shift Nurse," and our favorite, "Head Nurse." Linking such apparel so closely to the profession--to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to physicians and patients--reinforces long-
standing stereotypes. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect, all of which works against the profession in a time of crisis.
A full list of 3 Wishes Lingerie's nurse-related products includes the above outfits as well as Satin Nurse, Vinyl Nurse, Black Nurse (which refers to black vinyl), "Check Up" (a 3-piece nurse outfit), and a pair of "Nurse Boots" with a 5-inch "chunky" heel. The retailer also offers "Let's Play Doctor," which looks very much like a "nurse" outfit, as well as "Candy Striper," complete with "nurse's cap" and "Nurse Boots," and "Sponge Bath Betty," which is apparently a "candy striper" outfit.
The product line is not exclusively devoted to reinforcing regressive gender roles. It keeps current by offering two subtly named female physician outfits, namely "Dr. Anita Lay" and "Dr. Good Head." However, the dominant theme is obviously the female nurse seductress. The male nurse does not seem to have occurred to the company, but maybe that's just as well. The company also offers a couple complementary outfits for men who wish to "play doctor," consisting mainly of stethescopes and lab coats labelled "Dr. Phil Good" or "Dr. Seymour Bush, Gynecologist" (despite the endearing stupidity of the puns, we can't help but be a little creeped out by the idea of the gynecologist "practicing his love," but never mind).
It's important to recognize that 3 Wishes offers a staggering array of other fantasy erotic outfits, including many with work or uniform-related themes, including outfits in the categories of "Cops & Robbers," "Executive Lady," "French Maid," "Military," "School Girl," "Cheerleaders," and "Uniform," which offers a random selection. A few of these categories promote work-related stereotypes that are arguably as enduring as the naughty nurse, including the flight attendant and the secretary. It seems to us, however, that few if any of the other professions that appear in such collections (1) have traditionally been subject to a strong sexually available female stereotype, as well as a complementary and equally harmful "angel" stereotype; (2) remain over 90% female today; and (3) are now in the midst of a critical global shortage that directly threatens lives. Desexualizing the nursing image is an important part of building the strength the profession needs to truly meet the challenges of 21st Century health care.
The Center wants everyone to have fun, but if your fun includes workplace-related fantasies, we urge you--retailers and consumers alike--to consider the hundreds of options other than the naughty nurse. In other words, save one of your wishes for the health of nursing and its patients.
Click here to send our instant letter to Three Wishes. Ask them to remove this damaging line of lingerie from their catalog of products.
Alternatively, call them at 1.919.844.8515 x 5 or fax them at 1.919.847.9877