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In Myanmar, A Female Doctor’s Medical Licence Got Revoked For Being Too Sexy On Social Media. WTF Even?

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It doesn’t matter how old this practice is, or how many times we express our disappointment, we’re still left baffled each time we hear of a woman’s personal choices becoming the subject of public debate. You know, it happens on several levels, like your neighbour aunty scanning you with judgemental eyes when you go out on a Saturday night, craning their necks to see who you are leaving with. Or that infamous aunty who told a bunch of young girls they deserve to be raped because they weren’t fully covered.

We belong to the school of thought that if it’s someone’s personal life, you leave it at that. But that’s us. Apparently, the Government of Myanmar doesn’t think so. They decided to take the matters of a woman’s personal outfit choices in their hands…because, you know, she is a doctor.

So here’s what happened. The Myanmar Medical Council suspended the medical license of Nang Mwe San in a letter to her dated June 3, saying she dressed inappropriately. So, this gorgeous general physician has been a model and often posts sexy pictures of herself on social media. Because if you have it, flaunt it, right? She posts pics of her in swimwear, lingerie, see-through outfits and looking sexy AF. But while the world is okay with Kendall Jenner do it, the Myanmar Medical Council believes that she is disrespecting the Burmese culture. And according to them (we can’t find the logic here) this takes away her right to cure people of their illnesses.

She had received a warning from the council in January and now her licence is being revoked. Mwe San uploaded the letter on her Facebook profile, which says her outfits didn’t “fit with Burmese tradition”. Mwe San was obviously very shocked and sad. She told Thomson Reuters Foundation, “Did I dress in sexy outfits when I was meeting my patients? Never.”

While she received support from most netizens, some people went on to criticise her for her outfit choices. One user wrote, “You must choose between being a medical professional and an exhibitionist. You can’t take both because they contradict each other.” First, get your definition of exhibitionism right, maybe? And second, we don’t understand how dressing sexy is a contradiction of being in medicine. Like does your bikini have the power to cure people of cholera? We are forever stumped at how some brains function.

But she has received support from the more sensible of the human lot. A user wrote, “What she wears…outside of work should not matter to her profession.” As long as she isn’t treating the common cold dressed in lingerie, what lines is she crossing? A medical council is supposed to be rational and more sensible than this, right? Instead of her licence being revoked, can someone check the credibility of the very inefficient medical council?

Shunn Lei, a founder of the Myanmar feminist magazine Rainfall, criticised what happened with Mwe San and we completely agree. She said, “Sexism is rooted in the mindset of the Burmese. The problem is our patriarchal society equates a woman’s role with protecting Burmese traditions and  culture.”

Mwe San said she will appeal against the medical council and we are hoping things work out for her.


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