In the marketing materials, a woman wearing a set of pink scrubs and a name tag with the abbreviation DO, which stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, holds upside down a book called Medical Terminology for Dummies. Many in the medical community criticized the since then removed report as misogynistic and disrespectful to doctors.
“We are outraged that osteopathic medicine doctors will still be attacked in thoughtless and ignorant marketing campaigns in 2020,” said a statement from the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine. “A company like FIGS that encourages us to spend money on its product should be ashamed of promoting these stereotypes. We demand the respect we deserve AND a public apology. ”
Doctors for Patient Protection said it was “dismayed” by the marketing of the Los Angeles-based company.
“Our DO colleagues are highly qualified doctors, many of whom hold leadership positions in science and have written medical texts themselves,” the organization said in a statement to ABC News. “Many of our DO colleagues are also women. And they might wear pink scrubs, but they never had to read a textbook that was made ‘for dummies’. ”
FIGS apologized for the video on Tuesday and said it “dropped the ball.”
“Many of you pointed to an insensitive video that we had on our website. We’re incredibly sorry that this hurt you, especially our female DOs (who are amazing!), ”The company tweeted on Tuesday. “FIGS is a company founded by women whose only mission is to make you feel great.”
Dr. Stephanie Markle, DO, MPH, an intensive care physician and surgeon in Kalamazoo, Michigan, told ABC News that the “obviously misogynistic” ad had angered many in the medical community. Markle said the ad was particularly harmful to someone who experiences sexism and has to “constantly validate” themselves as a health care professional.
“I have to explain to people several times: I’m not the nurse, I’m not the nutritionist, I’m not the caretaker,” she said.
Women doctors also tend to do less than men, she noted. According to Medscape, male GPs earn about 25% more than their female counterparts. Among specialists, they do 31% more, it found.
“Sexism is still so prevalent that this was a slap in the face,” said Markle.
DOs are fully licensed doctors who take a more holistic approach to medicine when compared to doctors. Dr. Miranda Rosenberg, MD, an employee of the ABC News Medical Unit, said the ad was particularly insensitive “especially after so many doctors sacrificed so much to care for patients during the COVID pandemic.”
“There’s nothing stupid about spending at least seven years postgraduate training for doctors, both MDs and DOs, before practicing independently,” said Rosenberg.
Brenna Hohl, a current DO student, told ABC News that she found the ad “extremely disrespectful to any woman who works in the healthcare sector.”
“In the midst of a pandemic, we should support and build our health care workers without bringing them down,” she said.
A doctor, a clothing company’s brand ambassador, was more forgiving after the advertisement.
“Yes, hold them accountable to our colleagues,” said Dr. Michelle Nguyen Maneevese, a vascular and interventional radiologist, in an Instagram post. “I understand the pain, outrage and disappointment and wholeheartedly respect all reactions to the video, but please give them a chance to learn and grow. Remember that their mission is to serve us as health care providers. ”
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