- Former medical students, medical residents, and EMTs are sharing their bikini selfies in protest of a study that called such imagery “unprofessional.”
- Doctors and other medical professionals are calling the study “disturbing” and using the hashtag #MedBikini to show how harmful the study’s conclusions could be.
- On Friday, one of the study authors apologized after the hashtag took off on Twitter.
A study quietly published months ago, that called female doctors “provocative,” “unprofessional,” and “inappropriate” for posting bikini photos on their social media, is regaining attention and causing a stir on Twitter.
The paper, published online behind a paywall on December 25, 2019 in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, looked at the social media accounts of 480 recent vascular-surgery graduates between 2016 and 2018.
The researchers created fake social media profiles to view each person’s personal photos. They determined that 61 of the 235 medical residents they studied had “unprofessional or potentially unprofessional content,” which they defined as: drinking alcohol, using profane language, and wearing Halloween costumes, and sharing bikini photos.
Late Thursday, medics began sharing the seven-months-old findings, saying the research is “shaming” women doctors and exposing sexism within the industry. Soon, the hashtag #MedBikini started taking off, with medics posting bikini selfies, along with details of their credentials and accomplishments.
— Ariela Rozenek (@Gyneonbeat) July 24, 2020
Ariela Rozenek, a fifth year obstetrics and gynecology resident, wrote on Twitter about the double-standards in professionalism between men and women doctors, and shared a study about the gender-based discrimination women surgeons face.
“Instead of tagging the flaming garbage paper that’s inspiring the hashtag – here’s some actual examples of unprofessional behaviour,” Rozenek wrote.
— Mel (@melshray) July 24, 2020
It breaks my heart, but this just shows a peak behind the curtain at how behind and backwards the culture in medicine is. Here's a picture of me after finishing my leading Research Thesis on Emergency Vehicle Trauma. Doctors are people too #MedBikini pic.twitter.com/A4zrSYEFNo
— Emily Casey (@emilyscasey) July 24, 2020
Crazy to think that youcan save a life AND have a a drink in a bikini outside of work. pic.twitter.com/RAG1USiPFT
— bree. (@EMSandMessyBuns) July 24, 2020
Dr. Mudit Chowdhary, a radiation oncology chief resident at Rush University in Chicago, called the study “disturbing” and urged male doctors to stand behind their female counterparts.
On Friday, study author Dr. Jeff Siracuse apologized for the paper’s framing.
“Our intent was to empower surgeons to be aware and then personally decide what may be easily available for our patients and colleagues to see about us social media,” Siracuse wrote on Twitter.
“However, this was clearly not the result. We realize that the definition of professionalism is rapidly changing in medicine and that we need to support our trainees and surgeons as our society changes without the appearance of judgment.”