A few months ago one of the ortho professors asked me what I plan to do after graduation. I'll never forget the look on his face when I told him I matched into Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. He was filled with shock and hesitation and his response to my news was "But you're so fragile!?"
You would think that his reaction surprised and infuriated me. It didn't. I am now numb to these kinds of patronizing remarks. Throughout my entire life I've been underestimated, underappreciated and overprotected simply because I didn't "look" like someone who could handle a challenge. By someone's standard, I was certainly way too social and into my fashion to be "accomplished".
When I did excel and consistently perform above average clinically and academically, it was attributed to my "looks" and my skills were dismissed. I was often told that I was ahead of the curve because "I was pretty". I was told in different ways during dental school that I should just "give it up and be a trophy wife" because it would be easier and more fitting for a middle eastern woman. Of course this bothered me. Sometimes it bothered me so much I questioned whether or not I should go into such a male dominated field. But if I didn't, how could we ever change the stereotype? .
I was blessed to have an amazing group of family and friends who helped me stay confident. But I know not everyone has that. That's the reason I started this account and why I am supporting the fight against using the word "pretty" to devalue a woman. If you're a woman who's ever been doubted, rise above. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do it.
I am not sure how I am suppose to look and what outfit I am suppose to wear to satisfy the status quo but I do know that I am going to keep wearing my stilettos and I am going to keep putting on my lipstick and I am going to keep being a surgeon in training 👊🏻 so here's a throwback to all the times I've been judged and doubted and all the times I've proved them wrong .