Why Doctors Are Posing in Swimwear on Social Media

Beginning on July 23, physicians all over the world took to social media to post pictures of themselves in bikinis, using the hashtag #MedBikini. …

It initially started with a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery that purported to analyze the behavior of physicians on social media. The study, conducted by a team of researchers based at the Boston Medical Center and Boston University School of Medicine, was an attempt to classify the posts of trainees in vascular surgery as either professional or unprofessional.

The bigger problem, which led to the #MedBikini hashtag, were the authors’ definitions of “unprofessional,” including “controversial political or religious comments,” “controversial social topics” and “inappropriate attire.” In that last category, they included “pictures in underwear, provocative Halloween costumes, and provocative posing in bikinis/swimwear.” And whether something was provocative or not was judged by the nearly all-male research team. …

But what this study has shown, and why there has been so much outrage around it, is how people with privilege can use the label “professionalism” to target women, people of color, sexual and gender minorities, and anyone else they don’t approve of.

By Arghavan Salles, Rena Malik , Scientific American Mind

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