Medical apparel company Figs apologizes for sexist ad targeting osteopathic doctors
Figs removed the video and apologized Tuesday.
Medical apparel company Figs has issued an apology for posting a video advertisement on its website that portrays female doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO) in a negative light.
In the ad, a woman in Figs scrubs with an ID tag that says “DO” walks onto the screen while reading an upsidedown book called Medical Terminology for Dummies.
Hundreds of medical workers took to social media to criticize the video for promoting negative stereotypes.
“Oddly, haven’t found any male docs, MDs, or other med professionals shown reading “Dummy” books upside down on Figs website. Definitely questioning my patronage.”
“As a current DO student and future physician, the disrespect for female physicians and DOs exhibited in this ad … is unforgivable,” Breanna H. said.
“I will not be supporting FIGS, and encourage all those who purchase scrubs to join me.”
The video has since been removed from the Figs website.
The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), a non-profit that supports the 37 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the U.S., took to Facebook to condemn the ad.
“We are outraged that in 2020, women physicians and doctors of osteopathic medicine are still attacked in thoughtless and ignorant marketing campaigns,” AACOM said in a statement.
“A company like FIGS that asks us to spend money on its product should be ashamed for promoting these stereotypes. We demand the respect we’ve earned AND a public apology.”
As per the American Osteopathic Association, doctors of osteopathic medicine are fully-licensed physicians. They take a holistic approach to medical care, going beyond symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors contribute to a patient’s well-being.
Figs issued its apology Tuesday on social media.
“A lot of you guys have pointed out an insensitive video we had on our site — we are incredibly sorry for any hurt this has caused you, especially our female DOs (who are amazing!),” the company said in a statement.
“FIGS is a female founded company whose only mission is to make you guys feel awesome.”
Some users questioned the sincerity of the apology, given the ad would have been vetted by several members of the Figs team before going live.
In a message on the Figs’ Facebook page, Marie Thigpen, a neonatologist in North Carolina, called the video “shameful.”
“Female doc here,” she wrote on the company’s Facebook page.
“How many execs saw this and no one said a thing? How many in your company thought this would be a good ad? That’s the real problem. You don’t even realize that your ad is trash. Well, female docs, nurses, and staff have spending power and we will spend elsewhere.”
Online discussions turned into a wider discourse about sexism in the medical profession and a lack of inclusion on the Figs website. Some customers pointed out the company tailors its sizing to thin women and predominantly features younger models.
Medical scrubs range in cost, and Figs is on the high end with tops selling for around USD 38 and pants ranging in price from $46 to USD 56.
At the time of this writing, Figs could not be reached for comment.