Last year, my wife, son, daughter and I visited our local library to view the documentary “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.”
Having a daughter of my own, I found this film to be very thought provoking. It challenged my previous perceptions about how women are portrayed in popular media. I learned by watching this film that, when it comes to easily recognizable heroines in cartoons, our society is serious lacking.
Fortunately, when it comes to real life, heroines can be found everywhere – including the fields of general surgery and urology.
As the months have passed since I first saw this film, I’ve paid closer attention to how women are depicted in other forms of traditional media – many times, I don’t like what I see.
Qualities of a Heroine and a Hero
After watching the movie, those of us in attendance circled up and had a discussion about the film. We shared with each other the attributes each of us wanted to see in our heroes and heroines. The qualities discussed included honesty, dependability, determination, humility, compassion and self-sacrifice for others.
Heroines in Surgery
At each stage of my surgical career, I have been fortunate to work with a number of general surgeons and urologists who happen to be women. These women are intelligent, talented, and committed. Like their male colleagues, they work countless hours and are true professionals.
— Michelle Fillion M.D (@MFillionMD) August 15, 2015
Many women in surgery and urology are also mothers. In addition to their clinical responsibilities, they may have the added responsibility of managing families at home. Perhaps as a result, I’ve learned over the years that my female colleagues in medicine have the ability to multi-task much better than I do.
#ILookLikeASurgeon – Twitter Tells the Story
— Heather Logghe, MD (@LoggheMD) August 7, 2015
I’ve really enjoyed following this hashtag. Even though we clearly have a long way to go, the diversity that already exists within these two surgical specialties is really amazing! Building upon the success of the movement, the #ILookLikeAUrologist hashtag was recently started for the surgical subspecialty of urology.
— Stacy Loeb, MD (@LoebStacy) August 13, 2015
I hope that the urology community will embrace it. Diversity not only makes urology stronger, it makes it more fun. I’m excited to announce, in the Spring of 2016, West Shore Urology will be welcoming a new urologist to our practice. We are very much looking forward to her arrival.
Social Media Creates New Opportunities – #HeForShe
— ElliottHaut (@elliotthaut) August 13, 2015
There may be a paucity of iconic heroines in the cartoon world, but, in the real world, there are an abundance of heroines in urology, surgery and medicine.
Real heroines, in my mind, don’t wear red boots and throw a golden lasso, they rock high heels and wield a scalpel!
I’d like to thank the women and men around the world who have contributed to the #ILookLikeASurgeon and #ILookLikeAUrologist conversations on Twitter. I think the images and discussions, particularly when combined with the broader #HeForShe movement, send a powerful message to our daughters, and our sons. Hopefully, these modern images and messages will empower our children to become heroines and heroes themselves.