Not sure if you'd rather hit nurses or have sex with them? Do both!
December 1, 2005 -- Recent reports on computer gaming web sites say that two popular wrestling games now being released in new versions--Rumble Roses XX (Xbox, Playstation 2) and WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 (Playstation 2)--feature an icky mix of violent and sexy "nurse" images. Competing gamers in barely dressed female "nurse" modes can slap, kick and grapple, toss each other on a bouncy bed, rip each other's clothes off and spank each other, and, you know, use the body parts of their victims to create a malevolent cyborg wrestler that will help them rule the world. Yeah, baby. These "nurse" characters are not helpless handmaidens, to say the least. But we do have a problem with the games' mixing of two other key nursing stereotypes, namely the naughty nurse and the battleaxe, in a toxic stew of crypto-sexual assault. We urge Microsoft (Xbox) and Sony (Playstation 2) and game developers Konami and Yuke's to move away from this kind of mindless stereotyping, which degrades a profession in the midst of a global shortage.
Read more below or go straight to our letter-writing campaign.
The Konami game "Rumble Roses" will soon be released in North America in Microsoft's advanced Xbox 360 format as "Rumble Roses XX." The original Rumble Roses, released last year in Sony's PlayStation 2 (PS2) format, is an all-female wrestling game from Japan. In the game, players control barely dressed characters with names like Cow Girl Dixie and Candy Cane as they pump up the cyber-crowd and proceed to beat each other senseless. The original game has an underlying "plotline" that reportedly centers on the evil Latina nurse character Anesthesia (right, first 3 photos), who is building a malevolent cyborg wrestler out of the body parts of her victims and DNA from the late, legendary grappler Kamikaze Rose. Konami is reportedly altering the storyline for the enhanced Xbox version. See more information on the games from MegaGames and GameSpot.
In the original PS2 game, all of the Rumble Roses are violent babes (thus the name). Some embody classic female stereotyping (e.g. the "teacher" and the "school girl"), and some are "evil." Among these, Anesthesia seems to be the worst. She wears a cleavage-revealing, extremely short naughty nurse dress, complete with cap. For a taste of Anesthesia in action, check out this clip of a "Final Heat!" (with Windows Media Player) showdown between Anesthesia and Makoto Aihara from the Konami site, in which Anesthesia shows us how to store that thermometer (she actually loses this simulation).
The WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2006 is a November 2005 update of an existing PS2 wrestling game developed by the Japanese company Yuke's. It appears that that female wrestlers--the WWE Divas--have always been a favorite part of the game, which has included them in a "bra and panties" contest that some gamers found "repetitive." This appears to be based on the real-life Divas, attractive women who "wrestle" in skimpy lingerie at World Wrestling Entertainment events. But for the new 2006 version, that match option has been replaced by a more extensively developed "Fulfill Your Fantasy" mode. How will that work? Let's turn it over to the gamers:
The previously whispered "girly" outfits for the Divas were confirmed as well, which means that players can expect to see their favorite WWE women sporting nurse's outfits, schoolgirl uniforms, and French maid getups. ... Now, not only can players select to outfit their Diva in any one of the aforementioned costumes, but they'll also be able to use them inside a red satin wrestling ring... complete with a super bouncy bed (that the girls can jump up and down on) and purple comfort chairs with big fluffy pillows. Don't worry, though, you'll still be able to rip each other's clothes off just like before ... And yes, it's surprisingly enjoyable.
OK then. Another game preview story adds that players can also
pull off 'devastating' fantasy moves, like hitting one another with pillows, tossing your opponent on a bed conveniently laid out in the middle of the ring, and *gulp* even tossing your opponent over your knee and giving her a good spanking.
The impact of such video games, especially on young males, has been the subject of intense debate. But it seems safe to say that the effect of gaming is not less than that of other intense visual media. All such media has some effect on how people look at and act toward the world, especially those who have little real-world experience with the subject of the product. (See our FAQ's on the media's effect on nursing.) Both of these games seem to give players more reasons to link nursing to female sexuality and violent aggression, from the SmackDown! game's everyday sexual assault role-playing (ripping off clothes and spanking) to Anesthesia's plot for world domination. Of course, the notion that a nurse would be a purveyor of violence is ironic, not just because of the profession's angel stereotype, but because real nurses try to alleviate the effects of violence, and they are the health professionals most likely to be the victims of it--a trend that degrading imagery like this does not exactly discourage.
On the other hand, at least Anesthesia is empowered enough to pose a threat to society. Her biomedical plot reminded us of another animated naughty nurse character from Japan about whom the same cannot be said: the lead in the recent anime video series "Amazing Nurse Nanako," which is also made by the Konami Corporation. Nanako does not really appear to be a "nurse," but more of a klutzy maid who assists the evil Dr. Kyoji Ogami in his plans for world domination. Nanako is evidently one of a series of clones created to advance Ogami's cybernetic work, but her main dramatic function appears to be to provide what is known in the world of anime as "fan service." Apparently, the series features many scenes in which events conspire to reveal to viewers Nanako's breasts, panties and so on, and some accounts say that she suffers sexual abuse at the hands of Ogami. Of course, problems here include the incorrect assumptions that Nanako must be a nurse if she assists Ogami (which relies on the deeper incorrect assumption that nursing consists of assisting physicians), and further, that "nurses" and "maids" are more or less interchangeable, which plays into the enduring handmaiden image of nurses.
Anesthesia, at least, would appear to be no one's handmaiden.