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Female Medical Professionals Shamed For Posting Bikini Pics in Published Study


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    A group of researchers published a study that recently went viral last week for judging young doctors’ professionalism based on their social media posts.

    Sexist study: On December 24, 2019, the study was published behind a paywall in the Journal of Vascular Surgery and looked at the social media accounts of 480 recent vascular-surgery graduates from 2016 to 2018.

    • To be able to view these personal photos, the doctors and researchers created fake social media profiles.
    • Based on their findings, 61 of the 235 medical residents they reviewed had “unprofessional or potentially unprofessional content.”
    • These types of content were defined in their paper as: “drinking alcohol, using profane language, and wearing Halloween costumes, and sharing bikini photos.”
    • The study posits: “One-half of recent and soon to be graduating vascular surgery trainees had an identifiable social media account with more than one-quarter of these containing unprofessional content.”
    • “Account holders who self-identified as vascular surgeons were more likely to be associated with unprofessional social media behavior,” the paper continued. “Young surgeons should be aware of the permanent public exposure of unprofessional content that can be accessed by peers, patients, and current/future employers.”
    Graphic obtained from

    Public reaction:  When the study became free to view last week and was recently promoted on social media, it caught the attention and disapproval of many. The hashtag #MedBikini started trending on both Twitter and Instagram with medical professionals posting photos in their swimwear and showing their support for fellow “unprofessional” medical professionals.

    • Thomas Cheng, one of the study’s researchers, shared a link to the paper via a tweet. His Twitter account has since been deleted or deactivated as of this writing.

    • Social media users found the study deplorable for “shaming” female doctors and nurses. 
    • On Twitter and Instagram, many female medical practitioners posted bikini selfies using the hashtag #MedBikini to combat the stigma perpetuated by the study.
    • Along with the bikini photos, the medics also shared details of their credentials and accomplishments.
    • In her Twitter post, gynecologist Dr. Ariela Rozenek pointed out the double-standards in professionalism between male and female doctors and linked a separate report titled, “How Women Experience Gender-Based Discrimination During Postgraduate Surgical Training.”

    • Meanwhile, Rush University radiation oncology chief resident Dr. Mudit Chowdhary called the study “disturbing.”


    View this post on Instagram


    Just in case you thought me wearing a bikini has anything to do with how good or “professional” of a #nurse I am #medbikini 👙. As you’ve probably heard by now, yesterday a study was published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery where some male doctors took it upon themselves to become the social media police and go through other surgeons accounts to deem whether it was “professional” by their standards. They determined that wearing a bikini an “inappropriate outfit” and holding alcohol in a photo was also a big red flag.. along with so many other comical statements. Overall the study is a piece of trash. Not sure who gave them permission to determine what is and is not appropriate for a woman’s body. Swipe to see the study 🤣.

    A post shared by Miki Rai, BSN, RN (@mikirai) on


    View this post on Instagram


    I’m a cardiologist standing in solidarity with female vascular surgeons today. NEWSFLASH: FEMALE DOCTORS CAN WEAR WHATEVER THEY WANT. ⁣ Female doctors, nurses, NPs/PAs, all healthcare professionals - we can wear a bikini, a dress, or we can wear scrubs. This does not change how good we are at being a healthcare provider. We can wear WHATEVER we want on our free time, and still save your life. Sexism in medicine is alive and well. But we won’t let that stop us. In this ridiculous article making its rounds on social media, the vascular surgery authors sought out to determine how many vascular surgeons had participated in what they state is “inappropriate social media behavior”, which they defined as photos in BIKINIS - BUT ?? NOT MEN IN BATHING SUITS. Other topics considered “inappropriate” were Halloween costumes, GUN CONTROL and politics. The “study” was written by 3 men who created fake social media accounts to spy on applicants. Is this a joke? Women in medicine: whether you’re a nurse, medical student, resident, an attending, post your favorite bikini pic/dress pic/halloween pic/anything today and tag me, hashtag #medbikini . We have to drown out the sexism in medicine and keep it moving. It’s 2020 people. Sexism is cancelled.*******UPDATE******* July 24th 6:54 pm EST — this study is OFFICIALLY RETRACTED!! 👏👏 see the statement from the journal in my stories

    A post shared by Dr. Danielle Belardo, M.D. (@daniellebelardomd) on


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    SHE CAN BE BOTH 👩🏻‍⚕️👙💪🏼 Because my intelligence and ability to be a good future doctor is not defined by what I wear outside of work/school. P.S Im aware that the article posted in the Journal of Vascular Surgery has been retracted but the fact that it was published in the first place shows how male physicians feel threatened by female physicians success that they try to undermine it by shaming us. There’s no excuse for the behavior of those involved in the article. #womenempowerment #medbikini #medicalstudent #ms2 #womenempowerment #womeninmedicine #latina #latinainmedicine #feminism #feminist #equalityforall #equality #genderequality #premed #futuredoctor #futuresurgeon

    A post shared by Helen, MS2 (@elena_dg93) on


    View this post on Instagram


    A woman can be a DOCTOR and she can wear ANYTHING she wants! My friend @ashleyypelaez_ said it best "what we wear outside does not change the fact that we are competent, highly trained, and committed to helping our patients achieve optimal wellness." Standing with my fellow healthcare professionals today in #medbikini. Thanks to @daniellebelardomd for bringing awareness to the horrible study published on women in social media and medicine. Let's end the double standard! #realheroes9 #medical #medico #medicine #mbbs #studymotivation #neetpg #fmge #usmle #medicos #neet #mci #exams #doctors #doctorslife #aiims #doc #medicalschool #medschool #medbikini #anatomy #shoutout #shoutoutforshoutout #realheroes

    A post shared by Medical Members-Real Heroes (@realheroes9) on


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    Thank you SOOOOO much for the overwhelming comments of kindness, love, & support for WOMEN in MEDICINE 👩🏿‍⚕️👩🏻‍⚕️👩🏽‍⚕️👩🏼‍⚕️👩🏾‍⚕️! I chose to speak up for a cause that I believe in after having experienced so much sexism in medicine; starting in medical school & throughout my 20 years working in Emergency Medicine 💉 Just two days ago I had 300 followers. You never know what sort of positive impact you can make by speaking up & expressing your thoughts! But, this is not about me. This is about the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of sexes. This is about showing support for marginalized voices and fighting for equality. We are all speaking up for the unequal treatment of women in medicine. Get out & vote, listen to scientists, & be proud of your voice! “You can not be afraid to speak up and speak out for what you believe. You have to have courage, raw courage.” ~John Lewis. I will continue to use this platform to be inspired by all of you, share my ER stories, & spread positive awareness! 🖤 xo Dr. Bikini 👙 #medbikini #womensupportingwomen #challengeaccepted @lizzymitchermd @room53c @kprimacio In the spirit of supporting women, I challenge you to follow @sustainabergie where she gives tips and tricks to live sustainably! ♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️

    A post shared by Dr. Candice 👙 Myhre (@drcandysurfvival) on

    • A med student noted one account of a doctor who was in her bikini when she saved a patient who was hit by a boat at the beach. The photos are suspected to be a recreation of the incident when she was in Indonesia and can be viewed in the "Discovery Life: Untold Stories of the ER" series here.

    Researchers apologize: Dr. Jeff Siracuse, one of the authors of the study, apologized for the “paper's framing” and noted that their intention was to “empower surgeons." His Twitter account appears to have been deleted or deactivated as of this writing. Senior author and vascular surgeon, Alik Farber, apologized in a tweet on Sunday.

    • Siracuse wrote: “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 on social media."
    • He added: "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 judgement."
    • Based on the objectives listed on the paper itself, the authors' goal was "to evaluate the extent of unprofessional social media content among recent vascular surgery fellows and residents."

    • The study was retracted on Friday by the journal's editorial board after being published in the August 2020 issue, according to Forbes.

    Feature Image via @mikirai

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