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Nurses are the most noble, sweetest and affectionate people on earth. Despite their tiresome profession, they have always been stereotyped and tagged in various ways. From sexy to saint like, from motherly to tough, but most importantly they all have one thing in common, the fact that they all are women.
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An ad from 1890's depicting nurse dressed as nun. Here she is a saintly figure lending her help to the ill.
Pretty, sexy nurse and the bullying, angry nurse stereotypes were forming at this time.
This postcard suggests that a pretty nurse will appeal to police (who is apparently a male here) and thus keep children safer.
In this poster, the nurse can be seen feeding the poor. This clearly evokes an idea of the Virgin Mary.
This picture shows one of the earlier portrayal of the nurse as "someone you desire". She is certainly lost in the religious looking clothes and wears something more like a maid's uniform.
Here nurse can be seen rescuing a soldier. Nurse's status as a near-religious figure and a guardian is very apparent.
This illustration depicts the nurse as a parental figure rather than an object of desire.
Nurses ditched the flowing, robe-like garments by now and went for more fitted uniforms.
This picture shows how women worked together and learned from one another.
Here a nurse is praying for her patient's recovery.
This is a 1950s postcard where a head nurse, in scrubs, can be seen holding clear authority. It's a significant step forward as Nurses got acknowledgment of their skills.
Yet, there were also some sizable steps back.
Nurses made great content for pulp novels. Here, an in-home nurse is being shown the target of advances, but remains a sexy character.
Nurses were particularly famous in 1960s, perhaps because of the fantasy of providing "service" to male patients. Although its too clear that no one can walk through a hospital all day in shoes like that!
Here nurse is just being pretty. This is actually an ad for medical equipment and this beautiful nurse is being used to sell it.
The stereotype of the ruthless nurse who enjoys giving pain to male patients is clearly an opposite to the delicate, accommodating sexy nurse. This certainly has its roots from the beginning of the century.
Here is a reprint to celebrate the Red Cross's 100th anniversary. You can see the modern graphic in the background. Both the 19th and 20th century nurses are highly feminine and nurturing figures here.
By 2000s, nurses were definitely ready to drop the gender divide and encourage men to take up the profession.
But like its said old habits die hard, the pin-up nurse remained famous. Be it movies, novels, or any other form of media, nurses were still being portrayed as sexy.
Realistic portrayal of a nurse by TV's Nurse Jackie was praised by people. The show really helped to see nurses in a much practical setup rather than stereotypes.