“Looks like a prostitute.”
This is a statement from a Twitter user after seeing picture of Dr Viwe Mtwesi, who has become known as South Africa’s youngest cardiologist, when she appeared for an interview at Metro FM's radio station.
Derogatory and sexist comments like these were directed at Viwe because she wore a sheer printed top when she visited the radio station. But she's been quick to defend herself.
Viwe says she asked the Twitter user to apologise but instead the user blocked her and in standing up for herself decided to lay a charge of crimen injuria against the user.
“That is defamatory,” she says. “She's taking my income from me. When people Google me they will see this [sex worker] situation.”
I will make sure I teach this bully a lesson. she has blocked me .But mama , you will learn to respect people .and your friends will not do it to the next person because the lesson you are about to learn will teach them that blacks people have a voice too... pic.twitter.com/ftsEKd7d2G— viwe mtwesi (@vieez) February 13, 2019
“I will never be bullied. I just want to make an example of her and all the other bullies,” Viwe adds.
She isn't the only woman who has had to face unfounded online criticism because of the way she chooses to dress. Just last week, Buhle Menziwa had her pictures shared on the platform with people saying she was dressed inappropriately for a school teacher. Now, Viwe is being told she’s dressed inappropriately for a cardiologist.
A Cardiologist doesn't dress like that. Specially for a professional radio show— Man's not Kim Jon-Un (@elkalombo) February 12, 2019
“If I feel like wearing a bikini and walk around wearing a bikini, I should be free to do so, irrespective of what I do. The way I dress has nothing to do with sexual connotations… I dress in things I am comfortable with.
“And if someone chooses to be a [sex worker] that is their decision, why judge them?”
Viwe says the Twitter users' comments hit home because that's the bias that she already has to struggle with.
“When you dress up [in the hospital] people don’t respect you,” she says. “When I wore heels to work it was a big deal that ‘what type of a doctor wears heels to work, what type of a doctor wears suits to [Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital]’, like you can’t dress up because you’re a doctor. When I dress up I feel good!”
Because she is based in Canada, Viwe says she has been on holiday and knew she wasn’t working while in South Africa so she packed holiday clothes.
“I am comfortable in my own skin, irrespective of my scars, irrespective of my stretch marks I am very comfortable in my own skin and what I do really has nothing to do with how I dress up.
“Those pictures were taken for me and for the station, for social media – something very casual.”
She says people stereotype what all doctors are supposed to be like, but mostly women doctors.
“I love cardiology, I love it, but that’s not who I am. It’s my career but it’s not who I am,” says Viwe.
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