Women Are Re-Creating This Magazine Cover To Break Stereotypes Of What A Surgeon Looks Like

"Women can be surgeons and anything else they want to be."

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The April 3 edition of the New Yorker magazine featured this cover illustration by French artist Malika Favre.

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The striking image – showing four women in surgical masks looking down at an operating table – was noticed by Susan Pitt, who specialises in endocrine surgery at the University of Wisconsin.

"The New Yorker issue came out right before I went to our annual American Association of Endocrine Surgeons meeting," Pitt told BuzzFeed News.

"The instant I saw it I thought about how cool it would be to replicate in real life."

Pitt gathered a group of women at the Orlando conference and they replicated the photo minus masks and operating theatre.

Pitt tweeted out the photo and challenged other women surgeons to do their own.

@NewYorker @TheAAES @WomenSurgeons @womeninsurgery @LoggheMD @KickAsana #ILookLikeASurgeon #AAES2017

The first to respond was Marissa Boeck, a surgery resident at Columbia University who tweets at @KickAsana.

Challenge accepted @susieQP8! @NewYorker #ILookLikeASurgeon 😷cover photo 📷 #IRL #LikeALadyDoc #SurgTweeting… https://t.co/xEMMIQq1Kb

Then, surgeons from across the United States started to take up the challenge.

Instagram: @jessicashepherdmd

Many tweeted pictures to the #ILookLikeASurgeon hashtag – an online movement encouraging women, people of colour, and other diverse groups in the male-dominated profession to stand up and be visible.

@MGHSurgery @NewYorker OR challenge with @WomenSurgeons founder Dr. Patricia Numann #ILookLikeASurgeon

@susieQP8 @drkarenhorton @NewYorker @KickAsana @utswhpb @LoggheMD @heenastat @DrSabha @gianamontana @nganttmd… https://t.co/beg0nIDnX6

A bunch of other women propelled the movement forward, including Dr Karen Horton, Dr Amber Leis, resident surgeon Emily Clark, the Association of Women Surgeons and artist Favre.

Instagram: @drkarenhorton

One entry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed the other side of the photo, too.

Surgeons from @WiscSurgery take on the @NewYorker cover challenge. #ILookLikeASurgeon @WomenSurgeons… https://t.co/Htf5LyGSQ3

@uwhealth @WiscSurgery @NewYorker @WomenSurgeons Photo cred: John Maniaci-went to all lengths: on the floor surroun… https://t.co/5itIyA21m7

Overseas entries started to roll in. Dr Haneen Gomawi posted this photo from Saudi Arabia.

. @NewYorker Cover challenge! @KickAsana kicks Where's yours? #ILookLikeASurgeon @susieQP8 @WomenSurgeons all the… https://t.co/5tXEQP39Fj

The challenge was accepted in Istanbul...

Instagram: @doncel

...Mexico...

Very proud of my team of #womensurgeons @incmnszmx #NYerORCoverChallenge in Mexico City! #ILookLikeASurgeon @ADRITOR

@NewYorker cover challenge... right from Mexico @incmnszmx #ILookLikeASurgeon #womeninsurgery @JFreischlag

...and Brazil.

@WomenSurgeons #ILookLikeASurgeon @NewYorker 😎😍💪 Trabalhando em família!

Pitt said it gave her chills every time she saw another group of women in surgical masks re-creating the photo.

Check out our @NewYorker #NYerORCoverChallenge!!! With @NjmsR, @scrubbedin, @AnneMosenthalMD, @DrKunac @FhwangMD… https://t.co/Cc8o0DggH8

She said it feels like a "punch in the gut" when people automatically assume women in hospitals or operating theatres must not be surgeons.

"I hope to open people's eyes and minds that women can be surgeons and anything else they want to be," she said. "That there is no such thing as a 'a man's world'."

Pitt is also passionate about pay equality.

"Women deserve and should be paid the same amount for the same job.

On the whole, we are all equal and worth the same.

"In surgery, there's been a strong movement in the past couple of years towards equality. In the context of our field, the timing of the Malika Favre cover was perfect for women to rally around."

Our #NYerORCoverChallenge @WomenSurgeons @NirajGusani @CassieSonntag @mblinskey @womeninsurgery @AfifKulaylat… https://t.co/zPwZJFR1dK

"It's meant to be inclusive and not just about women surgeons," Pitt added.

"I think we're just a symbol of a greater problem. A lot of people who have responded have mentioned that they want to show the pictures to their daughters so they will learn that they can be anything."

We are loving the #NYerORCoverChallenge tweets! Send us your photos and don't forget to tag @WomenSurgeons so we ca… https://t.co/NPxPLB41oA

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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