Come and see the oppression inherent in the system!

One female surgeon reported that their theatre uniform policy is for surgeons to wear blue caps and nurses to wear pink.

“The only female caps available were in pink and after repeated requests to managers and requisition staff for female blue surgeon caps, I was laughed at and told I shouldn’t care about it,” she said.

Well, yes, perhaps shouldn’t have been. That interaction between a Stalinist state monopoly and the changes inherent in the modern world never will work well.

But it’s hardly crushing oppression, is it?

The women who responded said they (…) were judged on their looks,

Terrible. Humans do that you know. Ever met any?

13 thoughts on “Come and see the oppression inherent in the system!”

  1. I assume the female caps accommodate their typically longer hair. Easy solution then. Women cut their hair shorter and they can wear men’s caps.

  2. Some of us are old enough to remember when it was pink for a boy(*) and blue for a girl. Seems to have swapped over in the 70s. As such it’s totally arbitrary. I thought the main purpose of coloured hospital clothing was to show up blood stains.

    (*) For youngsters: due to association with Mars, the god of war.

  3. Crumbs, I never realised female heads were a different shape to male heads, neccessitating different headgear.

  4. Cat: And blue == the Virgin Mary == girl.

    Dammit, cat and blue in the same post, now I’ve got to write:
    Blue is beautiful, blue is best.
    I’m blue, I’m beautiful, I’m *best*!

  5. This is actually a more serious problem than it seems; it’s harder for people to identify each other in surgery in masks and caps, which can make effective communication more difficult (especially for new or ad hoc teams) which can be dangerous for patients. It seems to me a case of management and/or procurement not understanding the reason for and importance of the differences in kitting.

  6. Crumbs, I never realised female heads were a different shape to male heads, neccessitating different headgear.

    Shape, perhaps not; size, yes. Female heads are, on average, smaller than male.

  7. Long hair –> hair net. As can be seen in any “clean” working environment..

    Given that operating theatre gear is already as unisex and function-led as you can get, and like army kit uses a “three sizes fits all” principle to begin with, I can’t see how there’d be “female” caps to begin with.

    Unless the dear surgeon in question equates nurses with being female, which is sexist in and of itself.. Cancel her!!

  8. Now I understand why nobody answers my phone calls and emails about my seemingly forgotten treatment. They’re all too busy finding the right colour cap.

  9. A female surgeon was made to wear a pink cap during theatre meant for nurses

    I dunno if journos are getting dumber, fasterer than what me is, but I think this mangled sentence contains a clue.

    It’s not really “sexism” that chafes here, it’s the very feminine sensitivity to symbols of status. How dare they expect a highly edumacated lady surgeon to wear something a mere nurse would put on her pointy little head?

    Keeping Up Appearances was a wonderful, and wonderfully British, comedy because it was true to life. It’s usually the wimmins who go Hyacinth Bucket and the blokes who are long-suffering Richards or Onslows.

  10. Looks is generally a pretty accurate way of judging a woman’s worth, until you marry her and find out that it’s not.

  11. @Steve

    “How dare they expect a highly edumacated lady surgeon to wear something a mere nurse would put on her pointy little head?”

    This is actually a surprisingly serious problem as @TomJ says. It is safety critical that doctors and nurses are immediately distinguishable in theatre. The core of this complaint isn’t ‘boo-hoo don’t I look like a mere nurse?’ but rather ‘Why didn’t you do procurement in a way that allowed for the existence of women doctors?’ Which I think is fair enough.

    Also re judging on looks – yeah clearly it happens everywhere in every human society, I don’t think mentally it’s even possible for people to totally shut this part of their brain down. But the social aspect of appearance judging doesn’t happen in quite the same way in all workplaces. In some environments there’s an understanding of “professionalism” in which it’s considered Not Okay for members of one sex to stand round gossiping about which members of the other sex are hottest / fittest / have the best posterior / would be most fun in bed, and especially so while the people under discussion are in earshot. But there are other settings where it’s considered perfectly acceptable banter. If there’s a serious mismatch of what different people at a workplace consider acceptable, then managers are probably best advised to try shifting the local culture towards the Not Okay Professionally side of the scale – you’re never going to persuade the offended that It’s Just Banter and you’re just going to get a whole heap of drama if you let other people continue to treat it that way.

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