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That Not-Obscure-Enough Object of Desire

July 20, 2005 -- Today Reuters ran a brief unsigned item reporting that the Spanish nursing council was protesting the use of "50 mini-skirted models" dressed as nurses at a stock market share launch by cosmetic surgery firm Corporacion Dermoestetica. There is no indication of whether any models appeared at the share launch dressed as cosmetic surgery firm executives. The piece suggests, as did a similar ad campaign launch by Virgin Mobile Canada in March, that the harmful "naughty nurse" image remains a mainstream advertising staple throughout the developed world.

The piece is headlined "Cosmetic surgery firm riles Spanish nurses." It reports that the nurses have asked the company to apologize and "publicly repair the honor and good image of nurses" after it "paraded 50 mini-skirted models, sporting uniforms and stethoscopes, onto the stock market for its share launch" last week. (Yes, apparently, at the actual stock exchange, not just a publicity event--top that, Richard Branson!) The national nursing council has reportedly filed complaints with both the Health Ministry and the company; both declined comment. The piece has an excellent quote from council president Maximo Gonzalez Jurado: "These women are dressed as objects of is not the image of a person who saves lives." That's really the point, in a nutshell. The piece also says that the council is "preparing legal action" if the company does not "make amends;" it is not clear what form the legal action or the amends might take. In a bit of reporting that may say something about the sensitivity of investors to nursing issues, the piece notes that "shares in the company, which says it aims to make beauty affordable for all, were trading 20 percent above their offer price."

As the Center has often had cause to explain, linking sexual images so closely to the profession of nursing--to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to 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. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current shortage, which threatens lives worldwide, and to meet the challenges of 21st Century health care.

The Center salutes Mr. Gonzalez Jurado and the Spanish nursing council for their aggressive nursing advocacy.

Please click here to send a letter to Corporacion Dermoestetica about their damaging use of naughty nurse images.

See the article "Cosmetic surgery firm riles Spanish nurses" released by Reuters on July 20, 2005.

Also see the Spanish Nursing Council's page on the incident in Spanish.

July 29, 2005 -- The Vice-president first of the Government and Minister of the Presidency has sent a letter condemning the actions of Corporacion Dermoestetica. See that announcement in Spanish.

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