3rd year appearance - hair, looks, discrimination?

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by greenflower, 05.16.14.

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Which groups, if any, were subject to unfair stereotypes during rotations based on appearance?

  1. Attractive Men

    7 vote(s)
    22.6%
  2. Average Men

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Unattractive Men

    5 vote(s)
    16.1%
  4. Attractive Women

    12 vote(s)
    38.7%
  5. Average Women

    2 vote(s)
    6.5%
  6. Unattractive Women

    9 vote(s)
    29.0%
  7. None - Attractiveness is not a factor

    3 vote(s)
    9.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. greenflower

    greenflower 2+ Year Member

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    Hi all,
    I recently got into a discussion with some friends about who does the best appearance wise during rotations. I've heard some people say the attractive, well-groomed feminine types did unfairly well (rated highly by men), but others say that they were unfairly discriminated against for being dumb or too sensitive. Basically this all came about after one very pretty blonde girl who said she dyed her hair light brown and wore glasses on rotations to be taken more seriously - she swears it's why she did well. This caused quite a reaction from many who said she would have done better if she had gone even blonder or red (something to stand out).

    Anyway, I hadn't really thought of this factor too much before and I was wondering what people's thoughts are here? Did people see discrimination based on physical appearance/attractiveness? And I don't mean blatantly unprofessional looks - like visible tattoos or super short skirts. I'm just wondering if it really makes such a difference with something as trivial (and uncontrollable) as attractiveness, hair color, height, or wearing glasses?
     
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  3. Brain Bucket

    Brain Bucket Oh man, I forgot to bring the marshmallows. 2+ Year Member

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    Prettier people will always do better, unless your preceptor is a spiteful douche. However, if you're exceptionally beautiful, toning it down might be the smart way to go.

    Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    We always joked that the easiest way to get honors was to be a flirtatious blonde woman...except on OB.
     
  5. @JackShephard

    @JackShephard

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    It's simple. This isn't a medicine thing, it's a human thing.

    Being good looking helps almost always. Nothing is 100%, you'll find some women who like men with beer guts...

    Being a good looking female and receiving evals from men helps the most. As stated above, all bets are off for females on OB.

    I wouldn't over think this. Present yourself the best you can, that's all you can control. Focus on things you can control.
     
  6. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    I agree with all of the above.

    The effect of appearance is more powerful than I think we tend to give it credit for. When it comes to pleasing supervisors attractiveness is generally good up until the point where you become a threat. For instance, short men have often given me trouble by no fault of my own. Male supervising physicians, unless confident or with a sense of humor, are not comfortable trying to convey authority while looking at my tits or stomach, no matter how deferential I try to be.

    I think the girl who made herself less threatening and more serious appearing might very well have had the right insight. But attractiveness will almost always convey competence and intelligence and skill that one may or may not possess. The lies we tell ourselves about how unimpeachably balanced and fair-minded we are, just offer more cover for these biases to act in full force. Attendings, I've come to observe, seem to misplace their clinical competence and mastery, into believing themselves above these baser notions--and in so doing participate in them incorrigibly.

    I think some of the mistakes 3rd years typically make are to have ridiculous haircuts with lots of gel, huge ostentatious watches, short skirts and cleavage, too much make up and/or perfume/cologne, wearing clothes that are more ultra fashionable than stylish--super skinny cock buldge showing pants in pastel colors. Or perhaps worse looking unkempt, sloppy, and too casual. These are all things you can most control and modulate. If you're not clueless or just don't give an F that is.
     
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  7. Dharma

    Dharma 5+ Year Member

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    Wait… Nasrudin is a 6 foot chick? Or are these man ta-tas you speak of?
     
  8. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    :laugh:. Yes, man teets. Such as they are--more muscle and fur than tit I suppose.
     
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  9. Dharma

    Dharma 5+ Year Member

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    Attendings couldn't handle the powerful pectorals of their underlings!
     
  10. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Well. Variably so, yes. Not that I'm that powerful. It's just rough out there for short men. But I can't do anything about it except avoid the insecure ones as much as possible. Until I'm attending and it no longer matters.
     
  11. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    There are many who would agree with you; I was told to "nerd it up" for my ABS oral surgery board examination in an effort to appear more serious than my usual appearance provides.
     
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  12. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah I'm a fan of Robert Greene's 48 Laws of Power which describe this process among others. I've read more research on the psychology of dress, because I've been trying to become a good dresser and have become fascinated by how it communicates things about us. But, managing your looks is an interesting topic as well.

    It seems pretty blondes might have more use for disguise in some situations, however unfortunate that hassle is. What can we hope to expect from clothed apes with stethoscopes?
     
    Last edited: 05.17.14
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  13. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

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    Nasrudin,
    How tall are you?

    BTW, I love the way you write.
     
  14. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Well that's nice of you. But I get flak for it that frankly I can see good reason for. But...appreciate it because I'm gonna keep on being ridiculous. Umm...I'm 6'5". Or at least was. I'm probably shorter now them I'm older.

    I've squired for physicians a lot longer than just med school so my sample size for making these generalization is larger than your average bear.
     
    Last edited: 05.17.14
  15. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

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    How old are you? When did you start medical school?
     
  16. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    40. 40-4...so I guess 36. [email protected]
     
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  17. Silent Cool

    Silent Cool Member Banned 10+ Year Member

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    What did you do in your previous life?
    What school do you attend? (understand if you don't want to say).
     
  18. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    I can imagine on Surgery being pretty can lead to others - residents, attendings to not take you seriously when first coming into contact with you (Just ask Dr. Greenfield: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/201...on-resigns-post-after-backlash-over-editorial), or be unnecessarily hard on you. I'm guessing the nerd glasses came out for your oral surgery board exam.
    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    Glasses were suggested but I was afraid Id spend a lot of time adjusting them (not being used to wearing vision correction).

    BTW there's a meme I posted in the Surgery forum commenting on the Greenfield debacle.
     
  20. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Just saw it! LOL. Love the sad face that goes with it.
     
  21. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    It was more of a face of disgust rather than sadness (at least that was the original emotion when the photo was first taken).
     
  22. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    I tried to find the joke. Even went to the surgery forum for the first time in my life. But I couldn't find it. It seems like there's the circle of funny over there and I'm over here.

    For instance who is greenfield and what is his/her debacle...?
     
  23. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    OMG, just realized it's you!!!! I thought the image was a stock photo like Getty Images or something.
     
  24. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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  25. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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  26. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Yes, it was an editorial made in complete humor (I believe). I would not blame a female for being offended, however, and it would be wrong of me to say that a female shouldn't be offended. I think he inadvertently contributed even further to Surgery being thought of as being misogynistic by doing so.
     
  27. boogaloo

    boogaloo Senior Member 2+ Year Member

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    @Winged Scapula confirmed hotty. Is it okay to hit on mods, or is that against the SDN TOS?

    Yes.
     
  28. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Lazar Greenfield - retired former chair of surgery. Editor of one of the main surgery textbooks. Was president-elect of the American College of Surgeons. Wrote an editorial on Valentine's day about how semen made women happier, and women who were depressed needed more semen - or something of that nature. Was intended to be humorous. Caused a huge blowback and he had to resign from the position in the college.

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/thr...as-a-valentines-day-gift-in-editorial.813378/
     
  29. touchpause13

    touchpause13 nolite te bastardes carborundorum 2+ Year Member

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    I always suspected WS was hot. (I'm not hitting on you, I know you're straight)

    So are we going with being an attractive blonde is an overall positive?
     
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  30. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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  31. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    :laugh:. I think it's contextual. For example I don't want weaponized hotness pointed in my direction. Like my prosecuting attorney if I had one. Or a spiteful ex wife who is robbing me blind. You don't want to be disarmed by hotness in these situations. It could be a focus of envy if one possesses it, but she's the boss now so it doesn't matter. Med students might be wise to deflect envy of residents (looking at you OB) or attendings.

    But yeah I imagined her hot as well. It's just...she looks better than I imagined.
     
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  32. touchpause13

    touchpause13 nolite te bastardes carborundorum 2+ Year Member

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    I'm not one to be intimidated easily, especially by straight girls. I was more wondering if my attractiveness would be a net positive or negative.
     
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  33. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Nice. It will always be a net positive throughout the life course and in most situations in your training. Everything I've seen in what the science has to say about it indicates that human biases in favor of the attractive among us is very dependable.
     
  34. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Not with female OB-Gyn residents. Your attractiveness puts a target on your back, esp. if you're nice and attractive.
     
  35. Substance

    Substance 5+ Year Member

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    I agree with you here. Nas might just be my favorite poster, probably because any time I read what he writes, I picture it being spoken by that Monsterpiece theater-styled Kermit.

    As for the topic; you gotta look good. Full stop. How many ugly derm chicks do you know? How many ugly family med chicks do you know? What's the average income for each of those fields?
     
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  36. greenflower

    greenflower 2+ Year Member

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    Very interesting perspectives! Although I always attributed the attractiveness the derm ladies to be related to the OCD qualities of the bunch - the ones I knew were more physically fit and well-groomed.
     
  37. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    Thank you for all the kind comments on my picture; it's very flattering (especially since I was making a funny face in that one).

    The return investment on being attractive puts one "in the black"; the benefits outweigh the negative aspects. There will be women who treat you poorly if they see you as a threat and there is always the assumption, at least upon first meeting, that your achievements have been gotten through sexual means. FWIW I don't recall any issues on Ob-Gyn personally so I'm not sure that's a universal experience.

    But IMHO the human psychological research on attractiveness does tend to hold up with both males and females; patients and colleagues assume you are smarter, more successful, friendlier etc whether its true or not.
     
  38. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    I don't want to spend any more time talking about my appearance, as doing so is somewhat distasteful for me to do, but wanted to comment about a related experience.

    A few years ago I was sued for malpractice (dismissed in my favor) and my attorney talked about my appearance as a "weapon" in our arsenal. Backing up psychological theory, it was his experience (in over 30 years as a trial lawyer), that attractive defendants were treated better by Judge and jury because they were assumed to be more honest, successful etc. Thus it could be seen as a weapon against the plaintiffs. Apparently the only time this didn't work was with female criminal cases; what I referred to as the Black Dahlia effect.
     
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  39. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Very interesting. Thanks for relating this. I have my eye on forensic psychiatry and am always intrigued by law and medicine. Sorry if you were uncomfortable. I feel the same way whenever the subject matter focuses on me. Although to my thinly disguised disappointment, hotness, is something not broached in my regard as of yet.

    Black Dahlia is an amazing story. James Ellroy's rendering of the subject matter is one of my favorite crime novels. I see what you mean there. Her beauty made her a whore and villain and the subject matter of juicy lies.
     
    Last edited: 05.20.14
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  40. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    I'm more uncomfortable talking about my own appearance rather than others doing it; it's difficult to discuss certain attributes without coming off as self involved and frankly since my appearance is due to inheritance, rather than something I worked to achieve, it seems pointless.

    Yes. Many women in film noir were also painted with the same brush. The good girl persona was always less conventionally attractive and interesting than the bad girl.
     
  41. styphon

    styphon Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I will be the only one here to disagree...

    Of course being attractive will help you with people who put value in such things - and I know a few physicians who do - but I do not feel it has that effect on everyone.

    Then again, I can only see thru my perspective. I feel as if my problems with aspergers has allowed me to to judge people without involving emotions or nonverbal influences(also considered a weakness).
     
  42. greenflower

    greenflower 2+ Year Member

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    Maybe we only feel comfortable with women having 2/3 positive traits. Meaning we're okay with these ladies, and sadly probably even in this order:
    hot, kind, dumb woman
    plain looking, kind, smart woman
    and even... hot, bitchy, smart woman (we may not want to date her, but we could potentially respect her)

    However, if a woman is truly hot, kind, and smart - this seems to throw a wrench into how to categorize said female. I think it leaves people with a feeling that something must be amiss... like maybe she's so evil and manipulative she's tricking us all into thinking she's sweet, or that she's vapid and shallow, sleeping her way to the top, secretly a man, or something crazy to equalize the playing field. I say this fully aware that I probably am somewhat suspicious if I see what appears to be a 3/3 type, and usually just end up categorizing them as lacking of one of the three qualities after further interactions (perhaps unfairly?).

    That said, I think if a guy is 3/3 (hot, kind, and smart) I think people just sort of want to elect him class president and give him gold stars.
     
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  43. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Lifetime Donor SDN Chief Administrator 10+ Year Member

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    Interesting.

    How would you then view the neuropsych studies on facial attractiveness where infants, without benefit of verbal or nonverbal cues or media influence, react more favorably to symmetrical classically attractive faces?
     
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  44. Nasrudin

    Nasrudin Apropos of Nothing 10+ Year Member

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    Very interesting. Thanks for that insight.
     
  45. SouthernSurgeon

    SouthernSurgeon Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    I think Nasrudin's post above nailed it - the ivory tower white coat attendings who think they are "above" these things are fooling themselves.

    Now I would agree that someone on the autism spectrum likely has a very different way of interacting in the world and would not be subject to the same innate biases. But for the majority of attendings and residents, I think there is more of an influence than they would admit.
     
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