Medical professionals took to the internet to share bikini pictures last week after a medical journal published a study about “unprofessional” social media posts from young surgeons.
Titled "Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons,” and published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, the article targeted photos that featured "provocative posing in bikinis/swimwear" and "holding/consuming alcohol”.
Naturally, many young medical professionals took the story as a barely veiled sexist attack on what constitutes “professionalism”.
In response, the hashtag #Medbikini began trending on Friday, with hundreds of furious doctors of all genders attaching pictures of themselves in swimwear, alongside captions explaining exactly why their two-pieces didn’t have any impact on their capability.
There were side-by-side comparisons.
Many used the hashtag to also highlight other instances of sexism they experienced.
Others asked why women in particular weren’t allowed to exist as fully-rounded individuals in order to be considered “professional”.
There were questions raised about why wearing swimwear when not at the hospital was ‘unprofessional’.
Older doctors joined in too.
As did allies.
Some doctors who’d worn bikinis while on shift even pointed out it hadn’t affected their ability to save lives either.
There was also anger after it was revealed that the study had been authored by three men who had created fake social media accounts to “spy” on people.
Turns out the rage of many medical professionals is effective; the journal has now retracted the study and apologised for its publication, admitting the study design didn’t properly address “unconscious bias”.
One of the individual study authors has also apologised, claiming their intent was to “empower” surgeons.
A good way to check for unconscious sexism in future: ask yourself, ‘is this unprofessional or is it something that mostly young women enjoy doing in their free time?’