Somebody got bored and decided to create a study. In the end, it was the authors who learned a thing or two.

I think we can all agree that social media platforms, namely Instagram and Twitter, are a form of self expression. You can post literally whatever you want, from a pic of what you made for dinner to a pic of your dog sleeping. Believe it or not, you can even post a pic of yourself in a bikini (gasp)—because these are all examples of self expression no matter who you are or what job you do.

Well, a recent study tries to argue otherwise.

Titled “Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons,” this study was published in the August 2020 edition of the Journal of Vascular Surgery, and it’s presenting a controversial argument about how female medical professionals are using their social media platforms.

The study argues that ‘social media content may affect patient choice of physician, hospital, and medical facility, as well as having the potential to affect professional reputation among peers and employers.’ In order to prove their theory, neutral social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were created in order to basically spy on these health professionals to observe the type of content they were posting, recording what they categorize as ‘Clearly Unprofessional Content’ versus ‘Potentially Unprofessional Content.’ Both of these categories include ‘behaviors such as intoxicated appearance, uncensored profanity, and controversial political/religious comments’ to name a few.

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Taken from Prevalence of unprofessional social media content among young vascular surgeons Report

The most controversial part of the study happens to be what they categorized as ‘inappropriate/offensive attire’, which was found on 20 of the 235 observed accounts. The study defines such attire as ‘pictures in underwear, provocative Halloween costumes, and provocative posing in bikinis/swimwear.

And with that, the internet sounded off.

Medical professionals from around the world came to womens’ defense for having a life on social media, but women also took the movement into their own hands by creating the hashtag #MedBikini.

Posting two photos side by side, one in their medical scrubs and one in a bathing suit, these women are standing in solidarity with one another the prove that a single post does not change the level of healthcare they provide. The hashtag has now been used in hundreds of women’s posts, bringing together the community of female healthcare professionals.

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Dr Bikini 👙will save your life in the middle of the Ocean when you get hit by a boat. I will take you out of the ocean on a surfboard turned into a backboard, tie off your exsanguinating wound with my rash guard, take you to my under equipped urgent care, stabilize you in 1 hour with an IV, oxygen, morphine, fluids, Foley, and put your open femur fracture in Bucks traction, fly you by helicopter to a local hospital, order and interpret all the labs, xrays, CT scans, suture/staple all your wounds, splint your clavicle/ humerus and scapula fractures,sedate you, put a chest tube in your 5 rib fractured hemopneumothorax and fly you by jet to a specialty hospital in another country….all in my you guessed it 👙 I am an Emergency Medicine Physician 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 published in a well respected medical journal, 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 FEMALES IN BIKINIS – BUT GET THIS: NOT MEN IN BATHING SUITS.  Other topics considered “inappropriate” were Halloween costumes (should I take down my pregnant nun costume?) GUN CONTROL and politics.  The “study” was written by 3 men who created fake social media accounts to spy on applicants. My dad who was a triple boarded cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon would not approve of their study. Especially since he liked gardening in a speedo. 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, and #medbikini . We have to drown out the sexism in medicine and keep it moving. It’s 2020 people. Sexism is cancelled.

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

Thankfully, this study has been retracted and both the authors as well as the journal have issued an apology. Hopefully the message is now clear: female medical professionals are humans, they have a social life, and you bet your pompous a$$ they’re gonna post about it.