Nang Mwe San, a 28-year-old doctor from Myanmar, has claimed that a prominent medical council in her country revoked her license because she was “dressed inappropriately” on Facebook. On June 3, a letter addressed to Mwe San by Myanmar Medical Council stated that her photographs “did not fit with Burmese tradition”.
Mwe San had been a practising general physician for four years until she decided to give it up two years ago to pursue a career in modelling. And just as anyone has the right to do on social media, she would often post pictures of herself on Facebook in skin-fit dresses, lingerie, swimwear and even traditional Burmese clothing while striking a sexy poses. Except the council kinda thinks this goes against the national culture, and suspended her medical license. They also said that they had no choice but to do this since despite giving her a warning against doing so in January.
"I was shocked and very sad. To be a doctor, it was a long struggle," Mwe San told Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF). "Did I dress in sexy outfits when I was meeting my patients? Never."
Mwe San’s post of the council’s letter has drawn more than 19,000 reactions and 5,800 comments on Facebook. While some critics say she should choose between being "a medical professional and an exhibitionist", others argue that there is nothing wrong with dressing exactly how you want to, regardless of your profession. Some have even commented how this is just a tactic to draw attention away from the nation’s pressing matters like the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in its Rakhine state.
"Sexism is rooted in the mindset of the Burmese," Shunn Lei, the founder of the Myanmar feminist magazine Rainfall, told TRF. "The problem is our patriarchal society equates a woman’s role with protecting Burmese traditions and culture."
While Mwe San says she has not been in contact with the council yet, she plans on taking action and appealing their decision. "There are many important ethical issues in Myanmar’s medical sector. I don’t want them wasting time taking care of minor issues like my modelling," Mwe San said. "But whatever I’m facing, I won’t give up my modelling profession."
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This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.