FIGS Offensive Ad Aftermath

October 15, 2020

My final thoughts on the aftermath of a FIGS offensive sexist ad I aim to make 3 points relating to: Accountability, Privilege, and what it really looks like to be a doctor in real life. Accountability Cancel culture is actually appropriate right now. For real. This is not a disagreement on the best fall latte. […]

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My final thoughts on the aftermath of a FIGS offensive sexist ad

I aim to make 3 points relating to: Accountability, Privilege, and what it really looks like to be a doctor in real life.


Cancel culture is actually appropriate right now. For real. This is not a disagreement on the best fall latte. This is what a systemic take-down looks like by the people when a corporation is inherently wrong on so many levels. This is accountability.

It’s not mean or bullying. The feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse are a normal human reaction to being held accountable for being in the wrong. Especially, when you’re wrong in such a spectacular fashion and have been for years. And you’ll feel it even more so when your entire customer demographic are healthcare professionals, held to the highest society standards.

You’re going to feel shame.


Like Brene Brown hard.

The FIG scrub ambassadors can label it a “mistake” and call for a “second chance” on their social media posts all they want, and align themselves with one of the top 3 sexist mistakes the medical social media world has ever seen (Gary women don’t work as hard Tigges and #medbikini).

I don’t think it’s smart per se, but people will hold you accountable in the same regard when you mesh your brand into theirs. People are watching when you pick and choose to serve grace. I personally don’t understand it, because many of you don’t get paid appropriately for your time. VCs probably haven’t seen marketing costs that low, with a high ROI, and large profit margin on a physical product in ages. But It’s called exploitation, and doctors like Dr. Mike recognize it.

And technically if we’re counting “mistakes”, Figs didn’t make 1 mistake. They made 3 in a row.

The ad.

The first apology.

The more formal second apology.

All 3 dripping in the same inherent privileged narrative.

In fact, I think their marketing department is smarter than you believe. They used the people’s OWN WORDS in their apology.

“How did this even get made?”

You see, as a marketer and copywriter (with a w, not r), I recognized this immediately.

It’s literally a strategy I teach my pre-med students in my Future Doctor Formula program for writing personal statements. It’s a quick and easy way to build trust, likability, and credibility. (side note: My premed program isn’t shady like that, but adcoms gotta see you as a younger version of themselves. They have to see that potential. And you have to build up that credibility in 5300 characters.)

Not to mention the countless gaslighting and pacifying language in the apology that @Lesliexgp pointed out. Amazing breakdown woman!


FIG ambassadors can not fix this, as they are part of the problem. They are silent and oddly loyal.

Ever heard of the naked emperor and his new clothes?

They walked into photoshoots and were also blind to the problems or too scared to speak up, except for a few who have thankfully been vocal about leaving. You da real MVP @nurseclara (previously used as the token asian in their blatantly all skinny white women 2017 campaigns).

You need to hire someone who literally, physically, does not even fit into your scrubs. You need to hire someone with dark skin. You need to hire someone who isn’t even a consumer of your product, as there can be objectivity and no loyalty. There are several POC who have branding companies throughout Silicon Valley. 

Lastly, There IS hypocrisy with the responses we’ve seen to this medical terminology for dummies fiasco compared to med bikini.

Many didn’t think about those male med students’ feelings of remorse, or label it as “an honest mistake.”

Implicit societal bias is real and they need to be held accountable.


Even the outrage of the white Mississippi male medical student’s unprofessional response to BLM was justified, right?

Why? What’s different with FIG CEOs?

It’s the same old systemic problematic response to “fragile white women” narratives. The quintessential “damsel in distress.” In society, this group is often not even allowed to be held accountable for breaking dog leash rules in NYC’s central park (remember #blackbirdersweek?).

The white woman must be protected at all costs (Yo, Mariah really nailed this in her new memoir #lamb).

Dude, did no one seriously see this as obvious? I mean, except for all the WOC in my DMs. It’s tragic white feminism. The white libral response. Also, side note, you don’t have to be white or cis-female to fall into these societal traps. 

Who watched BLM roll by this year and thought, hey, lets not start anti-racism and implicit bias training at our company?

Like literally where have y’all been? It’s 2020. Fergie coined the term “two thousand and late,” too early in 2008.

Where HAVE YOU BEEN???? It’s 2000nLate.

In summary, do better.

POC are sooooooooooo over it.

What it Really Looks Like to be a Doctor in Real Life

For my young lil ones. I’m here to tell you that the prestige and honor of being a doctor does not come from likes or followers. Your paycheck is not reliant on being a blogger or influencer. I make MORE money as a good ol’ fashion doctor. This is not a hey look at me I’m rich post. 

Here’s the lesson:

Be so good, that they can’t ignore you.

Read that again.

Be sooooooooooo good at being a doctor, that they CAN’T ignore you.

Don’t just learn critical care.

Learn neurocritical care too.

Don’t just learn ultrasound.

Learn TEEs too.

Don’t just learn how to put in a dialysis catheter.

Learn how to order and run your own dialysis.

Don’t just know when a tracheotomy is required.

Learn how to do them at the bedside.

Be. So. Good. They. Can’t. Afford. To. Ignore. You.

That’s how your passion pays you.

You don’t need to be anything but you, out here in the real world just living life, to be a happy, healthy and successful doc.

Now go watch The Social Dilemma

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I'm a double board certified ICU doctor currently working on the frontlines and I teach pre-med students how to get into the medical school of their dreams with the Future Doctor Formula.

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