Furious medical professionals the world over have protested against a controversial study by posting photos of themselves wearing bikinis.
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 & hard-working can exist in the same space. I can wear swimwear to the beach in my free time & be a competent & compassionate physician at work. #medbikini pic.twitter.com/bWC4tSEVTR
— Vera Bajarias, MD (@invinovera) July 24, 2020
“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”.
— Kesia (@KesiaNguyen) July 25, 2020
In case you wanna know what’s happening in doctor twitter today: a “scientific” publication just announced that holding alcoholic drinks and wearing bikinis are unprofessional behaviors for a doctor.
What till they hear that med schools started letting women wear pants! pic.twitter.com/waoKfWW4qE
— Dr. M (@MaaloufMD) July 24, 2020
— Daisy Sanchez (@ladaisysanchez) July 25, 2020
Although no one will want to see this Dad bod here it is in full support of my female colleagues and this misogynistic study. Without my female mentor in medschool and the one in residency, I wouldn’t be the surgeon I am today. #MedBikini pic.twitter.com/nSlDtA5hTZ
— Anthony Tucker (@AnthonyTuckerMD) July 24, 2020
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.”
My wife isn’t on twitter but she’s a fucking bad ass doctor, wife and mom and wears a bikini and drinks at the beach like a normal fucking human being. #MedBikini #fuckthepatriarchy pic.twitter.com/sbbb3nhu4e
— Jacob Charles (@JacobinCA) July 25, 2020
I am a woman in medicine who loves to travel to tropical locations and dress accordingly. I will not wear my white coat and scrubs to Hawaii. This does not make me unprofessional or less intelligent or compassionate compared to my male colleagues. #medbikini #girlmedtwitter pic.twitter.com/RmCQBnUme6
— saphrophyticus⁷ (@stephlococcus) July 23, 2020
— Ariela Rozenek (@Gyneonbeat) July 24, 2020
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.”
Editor’s Statement Regarding “Prevalence of unprofessional society media content among young vascular surgeons” pic.twitter.com/JAoFgcRtPx
— J Vascular Surgery (@JVascSurg) July 25, 2020
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