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Lab Coats = Sex Symbols?

When did wearing a lab coat make someone a sex symbol? I know your mother always wanted you to grow up and marry a doctor, but I never really grew up thinking that doctors were sex symbols. Lab coats are essentially work clothes developed to keep gross stuff off of a doctor. What's sexy about someone who looks down people throats and has handwriting so terrible that you need some kind of amulet to decipher it.

Apparently, in the past twenty years things have changed. Thanks mostly in part to TV shows the idea of doctors as sex symbols has gained much traction. It probably started with General Hospital. For those of you who have never watched the show, General Hospital is a long running ABC soap opera where a bunch of beautiful people work in a hospital. Typical soap opera stuff occurs in droves: lots of sexy doctors with their shirts off, lots of casual hookups, etc.

The continuing popularity of soaps like General Hospital led to an explosion in prime time hospital dramas in the 1990s. Famously two hospital dramas premiered in the 1994-95 season. Chicago Hope and ER both featured sexy doctors in dramatic situations. It made sex symbols out of people like George Clooney and Noah Wyle and essentially set the stage for what was to come for doctors in prime time for decades to come. Of course, Chicago Hope only lasted a few season while ER lasted for 15 years and become one of the most beloved dramas in television history.

While ER might have kick started the "sexy" doctor genre, it was ABC's Grey's Anatomy which came to symbolize just how "sexy" a doctor in a lab coat could be. It was a show that featured just as many in hospital hookups as medical cases. They actors were so sexy, in fact, that they were given sexy nicknames like "McDreamy and "McSteamy". The female doctors were not hacks either. Katherine Heigl became a big star thanks to the show as she seems to spend as much time in tight clothing as she does in doctor's gear.

Of course Grey's Anatomy has led to a slew of copy cats on television. Now each network has their Grey's knockoff featuring sexy doctors hooking up and working on cool cases in random city hospitals. I don't really watch any of them but I know the stars thanks to the buzz. Are they sexy? Sure. Is it an accurate portrayal of doctors? Not really. Do real doctors mind being thought at as sex symbols? I'm sure they don't.