Is it professional for doctors to wear bikinis? The answer should be obvious. In their personal lives they should be free to wear what they want. If they wear bikinis while they’re interacting with patients or performing surgeries, that’s a different story. But if they’re sitting on the beach, by a swimming pool or sailing with friends, they can wear whatever swim attire they want.
However, a 2019 study from the Journal of Vascular Surgery suggests a different opinion. The study claims that bikini pictures are “unprofessional” and if patients choose their hospital or doctor based on the doctor’s personal social media content, they wouldn’t select doctors who posted pictures of themselves wearing bikinis.
Shocked at the news, doctors from around the world have been posting bikini selfies on social media to protest the study. Doctors can be professional at work and with their patients and still wear whatever they want during their free time. The selfies have gone viral in a new social media trend that proves a valid point.
Making a Case
The study from the Journal of Vascular Surgery created numerous fake social media profiles to study medical professional’s personal profiles and photos. Researchers found that 61 of the 235 doctors had “unprofessional or potentially unprofessional content.” The study clarified that the “unprofessional behavior” included drinking alcohol, wearing Halloween costumes, using profane language and wearing bikinis.
The study was first shared in December 2019, but it was rediscovered in July 2020 on Twitter by Dr. Mudit Chowdhary (@DrChowdharyMD). He wrote, “If you are a true #heforshe then you must speak up against this disturbing study. Three men created fake social media accounts to purposefully spy on applicants. Worse they are shaming our women physician colleagues for wearing bikinis.”
Posting Bikini Pictures
It didn’t take long for Chowdhary’s post to go viral on Twitter. Medical professionals added their own opinions, creating the hashtag #MedBikini to raise awareness about this issue. As a result, many female doctors began posting bikini pictures just to protest the study.
For example, Dr. Victoria Dooley (@DrDooleyMD) posted a picture of herself wearing a bikini and drinking in her swimming pool. She remarked, “Apparently it’s unprofessional for doctors to post social media pics wearing bikinis and drinking alcohol, so here’s me doing both. #MedBikini. Also deemed unprofessional, profanity and political talk, but these dudes can [expletive] off because health care should be free at the point of care.”
Another doctor, Dr. Karen Estefany (@thekinkymedgirl), shared a similar picture of herself wearing a bikini. She wrote, “I’m excellent at my job, I’m a professional. I’m a doctor. I’m a human. I’m VERY sexually active. If you have a problem with that, there’s the [explative] door. Nobody tells me what I can/can’t wear since I’m in health care, like this see-through set I’m wearing.”
I’m excellent at my job, I’m a professional. I’m a doctor. I’m a human. I’m VERY sexually active. If you have a problem with that, there’s the fucking door. Nobody tells me what I can/can’t wear since I’m in healthcare, like this see-through set I’m wearing #MedBikini #medbikini pic.twitter.com/AAq9f5bwIb
— Karen Estefany (@thekinkymedgirl) July 24, 2020
Demanding a Retraction
The social media trend became so viral that even male doctors posted swimsuit photos showing their support. Is it also inappropriate for a male doctor to post a picture of himself shirtless by a swimming pool? No, it’s not, and that’s the problem.
Medical professionals demanded the study to be retracted. Eventually, researcher Dr. Jeff Siracuse apologized for the study. He publicly tweeted that the study’s intent was to “empower surgeons to be aware and then personally decide” what they should and shouldn’t post on social media.
He remarked, “However, this was clearly not the result. We were wrong not to have considered the inherent gender bias and have certainly learned from this experience. I am sorry that we made our young surgeons feel targeted and that we were judgmental.”
Sometimes, all it takes is a viral social media trend to create change. Hopefully, this movement is more progressive and will change the way the public views medical professionals. After all, they’re just like you when they’re home. They ditch the scrubs and white coats and they enjoy the time off that they have to relax.