I Want to Be a Nurse, or, Let Sexism Get in the Way Of Your Dreams

A long time ago, in a kingdom far away, I read a book called Pink Think, by Lynn Peril. Basically, the author unveils a collection of ways in which women of the 1940s through the 1970s were made to “think pink,” that is to say, be ultra-feminine. The era where woman’s goal was catching a man, that sort of thing.

I raided that bibliography. Fun Fact: one of the sex ed books in that collection of works was the genesis for this very blog!

Anyway, one of the books in the list was called I Want to Be a Nurse, by Carla Greene. I finally tracked down a copy via WorldCat, and was giddy when my local library emailed me to let me know that it was in.

It’s a children’s book, and the only way to get the full feel for it is through images, so I’ve taken the liberty of taking photos of the pages. I have a scanner, but the book is so old that I didn’t want to do further damage to the spine. So, cropped pictures it is! (Please ignore any remnants of cat-tail that may appear; she wouldn’t get out of the way of my important business)! [Pictures will open into large versions when clicked].


Look, the baby doll is desperate to escape!

From this page, you can see that the copyright date is 1957.

What Jane means to say is, “I stabbed her with the scissors in my pocket. You’re next, Jack, with your stupid sailor hat and ugly trousers!”

And why can’t the little girl be a doctor? There were female doctors during this time . . . Ugh.
It almost seems like Jack is taunting her, with his “Do you know how to be a nurse?” Whatta douche!


Here comes Miss Baker, tripping along in her cape. For all nurses wear capes.


Miss Baker, instead of doing her real job, shows Jane how to give her doll a bath. Wait, she has an open wound; you can’t just immerse her into a tub of soapy water like that! Meanwhile, Jack learns how to watch. Stop ogling the naked doll, pervert.


Jane should learn to aim higher. Just sayin’. Not that nursing isn’t a good profession, but . . .


Oh, so that’s what the heart looks like!


The big dolls are creepy. And wouldn’t it be as “small as a baby?” Semantics, I know.


I just noticed in this picture, JUST NOW, that the little boy in the hat has “I’m fine” written all over his pajamas. You know what that means?

He’s marked for death, obviously.


Submitted without comment.


What a bizarre stove. The soup stays INside.


Magical cap! That’s all it takes? Really? How much more talking down are we gonna do in this book?


Oh, okay, that makes more sense now.


*sings* All night long . . .


. . . As opposed to being the faking faker she currently is.


Oh, no! It’s alive! Run!


The End.

4 Comments

Filed under children's books

4 responses to “I Want to Be a Nurse, or, Let Sexism Get in the Way Of Your Dreams

  1. I missed your posts! :D God that made me laugh.

    So, a nurse has to be a bather, a masseuse, and a chef along with magical cape and hat wearer. That’s pretty intense!

  2. Matthew Green

    Capes totally need to come back into style. I’d certainly trust medical professionals a lot more if they wore capes.

  3. NanC

    I am hoping you are just writing for the laugh factor, and not serious. This book was written in 1957-a different era. It was my first book purchase at age 5 or 6, and I still have it. Look at the simplicity of the words, the values of learning, caring, and a child going from play acting to aspiring to help others. This book was one of my first steps to a life long love of reading. Broaden your scope of vision instead of being so negative.

    • Nicole

      No, my blog is not completely serious. I understand that the book was written in a “different era.” However, so was Huck Finn, so should we completely forgive Mark Twain his racism? I’m glad that the book has good childhood memories for you. However, I was surprised and rather appalled to find that series only had a nurse book for girls, and not one for doctors. There is nothing wrong with being a nurse, of course, but I’m sure there were little girls of this time period who were just patted on the head when they aspired to be doctors. Maybe you find nothing wrong with that, as you are also of a different era than I, but I thought it rather criminal, and that’s why I had to poke it with a metaphorical stick.

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