Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I had an experience that bothered me last week. I was watching a movie with a couple of my kids. The setting of the movie was a high school with entirely superhero students and faculty. There was a scene in the movie where a young man was in the school clinic being examined by a female faculty member who was had on a white lab coat and a stethoscope around her neck. As part of the check up she revealed that her super power was x-ray vision. She was able to look at the boys chest and tell that everything was working fine without a trip down the hall to radiology. After this scene Rachel looked at me and said, "Dad, That's so cool that a nurse had x-ray vision." I was really taken aback by this comment. I immediately asked her how she was able to tell that she was a nurse and not a doctor. Her answers focused entirely on the fact that she was female. I pulled her aside and took advantage of this teaching opportunity. The world is already putting pressures on her to tell her what she can and can't be based on her gender. She doesn't need to start limiting others. I'm not quite sure how she reacted to this. I was just more than a little bothered by seeing my little girl with so much potential showing signs of gender stereotyping.


  1. There may have been more to her assuming the person in question was a nurse than she was aware of when you asked the question. The one thing that would have made me assume nurse and not doctor was the context of a school clinic. Doctors don't work in school clinics, nurses do. Her conclusion was probably based on a subconscious awareness of this fact, but she could not adequately describe it consciously, so she resorted to an explanation that seemed logical, though false.

    Even if this is what happened, I like the way you handled it. At least next time she will have to think twice about the silly "she's a girl" excuse.

  2. i checked imdb.com and the character's name is Nurse Spex. Even so I didn't want to reenforce the gender stereotype.