• Dolores Fawcett Till

Want to be a doctor? You'd better have no personality beyond the white coat...#Medbikini

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

Have you ever drunk alcohol? Worn a bikini? Sworn? I’ve got some bad news - the Journal of Vascular Surgery is coming for you, straight for the jugular. 

A team of fun-loving surgeons have released a twitter storm unto themselves after creating fake social media accounts to cyber-stalk young doctors, after acquiring their names from a list designed for internal society use only. In their expose of the ‘unprofessional’ behaviour amongst these physicians, they logged social media content containing inappropriate attire, censored profanity, holding/consuming alcohol, and controversial comments, including those surrounding religion, and social issues such as gun control and abortion, and publicly shamed the culprits via the medium of nicely presented tables and p-values. 

As a student body, we can only hope that the prudish editorial board of the Journal never comes across our collective social media presence, where the medic social calendar involves an event where future doctors strip for money while the audience drinks to excess. Even the £40,000 raised for children with cancer might not be enough to persuade them that we shouldn’t all have our stethoscopes seized and NHS lanyards cruelly ripped from our necks. 

The authors did a good job, however. It was the first scientific journal article I’ve read in months, but as amusing as it is to scoff at more conservative American attitudes to pubs and profanity, the piece highlights a bigger issue of sexism in medicine. An open letter to students from the Galenicals committee summed it up perfectly: ‘women should be able to wear what they feel comfortable and confident in without fear of being branded unprofessional’, a notion that is particularly important when you consider the disparity between the proportion of female medical students, and the proportion of female surgeons. 

As we all know, it doesn’t take much to persuade Bristol medics to take their clothes off and flaunt those new Chloe Ting abs, but if you needed some added incentive, #MedBikini is circulating on Twitter and Instagram and is encouraging the healthcare world to call out sexism in medicine, while showing that what we do (or don’t) wear doesn’t void our hard work, or deem us to be less-than just for the way we dress.

Written by Dolores Fawcett Till