The General Nursing Council of Spain has called on retailers to stop selling “sexy nurse” costumes this Halloween.
The group believes the costume reinforces a “sexualized, trivial and frivolous” view of women in the profession and negatively impacts the industry in its entirety.
The council also opposes zombie nurse and killer nurse costumes.
“As people prepare to celebrate Halloween and All Saints’ Day, the general nursing council regrets the proliferation of costumes that have offensive and degrading connotations as far as the profession is concerned,” the professional organization said in a statement, per The Guardian.
“Take, for example, the very short and sexy nurses’ outfits that bear no resemblance whatsoever to real uniforms,” the nursing council continued. “And then there are the outfits bathed in blood, the killer ones, and the living dead ones, all of which are now typical of this celebration that has become so entrenched in our country, especially among children and young people.”
Florentino Pérez Raya, the president of the council, said the costumes “damage the public image of a profession whose dedication demands not only top-tier academic and university qualifications, but which is also recognised as a bastion of healthcare quality.”
The council’s vice president, Raquel Rodríguez Llanos, added that their opposition to the “sexy nurse” costume is not limited to Halloween but at “parties, stag parties, private parties and carnivals” as well.
“We’re calling on all mothers and fathers not to dress their sons and daughters in costumes that are offensive to the profession because that’s how these practices become normalised and are carried on into adulthood,” said Rodríguez Llanos.
Efforts have been made in other countries to terminate the tradition of the sexy nurse in recent years. A Canadian nursing organization, Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, also called for an end to the sale of sexy nurse costumes in 2022.
“The profession has evolved, but stereotypes persist,” the group’s president, Luc Mathieu, said in a statement. “The erotization of the profession is socially and professionally unacceptable. Nurses have a scientific profession and their expertise needs to be better known and valued. It is time for perceptions to change.”
Allana Akhtar, a senior health reporter for Business Insider, wrote in 2019 that the sexy nurse costume not only perpetuates stereotypes but also could contribute to workplace harassment.
“Science-minded women and men can feel alienated going into the profession if they view it as less respectable than physicians,” wrote Akhtar.