Artist Emma Bolland took and shared on twitter a photo of a mannequin in the window of the Amazing Party Company fancy dress shop in Leeds. After seeing the photo, I called the shop to complain, by this time they had removed the knife from her chest, they told me “It isn’t a woman who has been stabbed. It’s a zombie nurse. Zombie’s don’t really exist. It’s just a bit of fun”
The stereotype of the ‘sexy nurse’ isn’t fun, it is objectification, 90% of nurses are women, it is reducing the role of a nurse to a woman’s sexual agency. It is pure and simple sexism. A UK poll found that for men a nurse was the most sexually-fantasized-about job. Reducing nurses to sex objects is an insult to the hard work and professionalism of the thousands of women in nursing and contributes to the devaluing of the role and towards sexual harassment of nurses in their place of work.
As the Amazing Party Company – who describe themselves as a family run retail business –said “Zombie nurses don’t exit.” Zombie nurses don’t exist, but stabbed women do, stabbed nurses do. I’d like to see them explain the fun of stabbed nurses to Penny and John Clough, whose daughter, 26 year old nurse Jane Clough, was stabbed 71 times by her former boyfriend Jonathan Vass before he slit her throat in the hospital car park. Or the family and friends of 25 year-old estate agent Nicole Waterhouse from York or 28 year-old Gabrielle Stanley from Doncaster, both of whom were stabbed to death this month. From my records of women killed through suspected male violence I know that 33 UK women were stabbed to death by violent men in 2012. At least a further 11 women have been killed though stabbing so far this year, probably more – if 2012 was typical, stabbing seems to be the most frequently used form of murder. Stabbed nurses, stabbed women, I’m failing to see the fun side.
Those stabbings take place within a wider context of fatal male violence against women. In total, I know of 120 women killed though male violence in 2012 and a further 100 already suspected so far this year. Not fun.
Jane Clough had written in her diary that she thought Jonathan Vass would try to kill her after she ended their relationship. In the December before he murdered her, Vass was charged with 9 counts of rape and 4 of assault against Jane. Against the reported wishes of both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, Judge Simon Newel granted him bail. Making male violence against women fun contributes to a society that doesn’t take the threat of male violence against women seriously. A society that doesn’t taken male violence against women seriously is one in which bail can be granted to men with a history of violence against women.
I’m still not finding this fun. Happy Halloween Amazing Party Company. Did you make a good profit out of the fun that is fatal male violence against women?