If you want to see how public media has changed the way doctors are portrayed, look no further than #ilooklikeasurgeon. This hashtag meme shows how surgeons have defied a stereotype. Female surgeons have taken to the social airwaves with candid displays of who they are. They are redefining the answer to the question: What does a surgeon look like?
Physicians were traditionally portrayed one way by the mainstream media. The concept of physician-as-man meeting the white trifecta (hair, skin, lab coat) had us seeing doctors through one lens. Hollywood played its part in building powerfully crisp stereotypes. While doctors looked more alike a generation ago, individuality has never been celebrated or shown as physicianly.
But as public physicians tell their stories through pictures and conversations, the way we are viewed is changing. This is due in no small part to the newfound capacity of physicians to create media and show themselves in ways we’ve never seen. I might go further and submit that public presence is changing the way physicians see their patients and the communities they serve.
Doctors of all sexes and shapes have become human to the public eye. What does a surgeon look like shows us that the lady doctor has become just doctor. And it’s fascinating to watch.