A few people recently pointed out the proliferation of the 'split image' concept on various social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Somebody once asked me, "Do you care?". I thought to myself..."I care about it as much as Michael Jordan cares about head lice".
Prior to building this platform, I was never on social media, BUT I always suspected that it encouraged certain types of behavior:
- Narcissism (duh, right?);
- Hating on Others (duh x2); and,
- Selfish Promotion of Oneself Disguised as Altruism.
After building a platform predicated & dependent, in large part, on social media, I have not only discovered that my 3 suspicions are true, but they're more true than I ever could have imagined. The primary reason I remain anonymous is because you can't be narcissistic if you are unknown; it's hard to hate on others if you are unknown; and, you can't be promoting yourself...if you are unknown. You can agree or disagree on many things, but you cannot argue with anonymity as the purest form of altruism.
I am sure I am not the pioneer of the 'split image' concept - it may not have ever been democratized through women in surgery, but it's most certainly not the first of its kind. Furthermore, it represents something far beyond the aesthetics of its imagery as I wrote about previously in a post called, "There are Two Sides to Every Story".
So, if somebody wants to further promote that message by using a picture to reinforce the idea that women in surgery don't need identities that are fully and completely consumed by surgery, go for it - it's a great message that others need to hear [and see] (IMO).
But, the most disappointing thing that I have found on social media is 'Women Hating on Women'. You'd be shocked at some of the things I have seen and read as it relates to women attacking the achievements of other women. I tell it like it is, and if there is one truth I can tell you from this whole thing it's this..."women have a hand in laying sheets of glass on that ceiling" - I say that in 'present tense' because it's still going on. So we can talk about, write about, and complain about the gender inequities that exist in all aspects of surgery, but I can tell you firsthand that the systemic inequity we are trying to defeat is being fueled (in some part) by women. I know many won't want to hear that, but it's the naked truth. And as someone that has conversed with well over 400 women in surgery, received daily feedback on others (90% of it is positive, btw), and holds a front row seat to peoples' passive aggressive behaviors for well over a year now, I can speak as somewhat of an authoritative source on this subject.
The women who I have selected for 'Restricted Area' are builders & promoters of others' accomplishments, not glass sculptors; they will tell you about many other amazing women before they ever talk about themselves; and, they simply don't have time to engage in petty, unproductive hating that has created more walls than bridges.
[Note: There are many women not in 'Restricted Area' that represent the best of what I've described, but that was a criteria for selection].