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#MedBikini: Doctors share bikini pictures in protest against ‘misogynistic study’

Furious medical professionals the world over have protested against a controversial study by posting photos of themselves wearing bikinis.

#MedBikini: Doctors share bikini pictures in protest against ‘misogynistic study’
#MedBikini: Doctors share bikini pictures in protest against ‘misogynistic study’

The hashtag #MedBikini began trending on Friday after an article in the Journal of Vascular Surgery claimed health workers who posted photos of themselves wearing bikinis or holding alcohol on social media were “unprofessional”.

Researchers for the article — Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons — set up burner social media accounts to scour the profiles of surgeons on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Close to 500 young surgeons had their accounts and posts looked over.

It found 26 per cent had either “clearly unprofessional or potentially unprofessional content”, concluding “young surgeons should be aware of the permanent public exposure of unprofessional content that can be accessed by peers, patients, and current/future employers”.

Looking intoxicated, possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia, and uncensored profanity or offensive comments about colleagues and the workplace was included in behaviour considered “unprofessional”.

The study quickly went viral with health workers arguing the study targeted women and others saying it had put the spotlight on sexism in the medical field.

“Misogyny is medieval. Do I have to wear my white coat at all times to deserve the title of ‘professional’? Fun, sexy, smart and hard-working can exist in the same space,” nephrologist in training Vera Bajarias posted on Twitter, together with a photo of herself in a bikini.

“I can wear swimwear to the beach in my free time and be a competent and compassionate physician at work.”

She wasn’t alone, with women and even their male colleagues drawing attention to the “misogynistic study”.

The controversial study was published last December, but only garnered attention after it was including in the Journal of Vascular Surgery’s August edition.

Barjarias said the “backlash” should have come immediately.

“As a female doctor, I’m incredibly aware of how sexist the medical world is,” she told CNN.

“Unless women are regarded as equals, we cannot achieve full progress not just in medicine, but in any other field of occupation.”

The reaction to the piece saw an apology from a co-author and a retraction from the journal.

“I would like to apologise for the paper ‘Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons’,” Thomas Cheng wrote on Twitter.

“Our intent was to empower surgeons to be aware and then personally decide what may be easily available for patients and colleagues to see about us.”

The Journal also took to Twitter to issue a statement, saying it understood the intent of the authors but noted the criticism “for its methodology and the implicit bias found in its analysis.”

It also concluded that the authors did not secure permission to use a database identifying the young surgeons and “chose to remove the study and retract its contents”. PerthNow

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