Don't let new Nurse Ratched show be an American Horror Story for real nurses!

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New petition for Nurse Ratched

Despite over 2,000 people protesting, the makers of Netflix plan to start shooting two seasons of Ratched starting next week.

Please click here to sign our new petition on our new platform!

Nurse Ratched embodies the enduring battle-axe stereotype of nursing. That is the idea that any female nurse in authority must be a repressed maternal tyrant bent on torturing patients and emasculating innocent, freedom-loving men. This deeply misogynous portrayal, which links female power with oppression, has spawned countless copies and variations in later media. Recent reports suggest that the creators of the new show actually see it as "feminist," presumably because it will provide context for the Ratched character's malevolence, perhaps explaining how she became so abusive in a patriarchal society.

But simply explaining why a powerful female nurse became abusive is not enough to avoid damage to nursing. Nor is offering nurse characters that embody other stereotypes, like the handmaiden or the unskilled angel. Nor is including positive female physician characters who may suggest that any smart, able woman would become a physician rather than a nurse.

The battle-axe and other female-oriented media stereotypes have played a devastating role in the global nursing shortage that takes countless lives every year, especially through under-staffing. The world needs millions more nurses than it has ever been willing to pay for. In large part, this stems from the media-fueled undervaluation of nursing. In fact, nurses in general, and psychiatric nurses in particular, are not sociopathic abusers. Instead, they are college-educated science professionals of all genders who monitor, evaluate, educate, advocate for, and save patients. Research shows that having too few nurses leads to patient deaths--and that popular media stereotypes play a role in undermining nurses' claims to respect and resources.

In sum, far from having any "feminist" effect, influential media that reinforces powerful stereotypes like the nurse battle-axe harms women, both as nurses and as patients.

Please click here to sign our new petition!

Thank you very much!!

Sandy Summers, executive director, The Truth About Nursing

The Truth About Nursing
3 years ago