hospital in Gansu province has insisted that more than a dozen of its female medics got their heads shaved “voluntarily” following a publicity stunt that backfired.
Over the weekend, local media outlets in Gansu showcased a video of a group of female medical staff getting buzzcuts ahead of being sent off to Wuhan to help fight the coronavirus at its epicenter.
The footage was evidently supposed to be inspirational, with news outlets writing captions like: “After having their hair cut off they are ready to go into battle!” and referring to the women as “beautiful warriors.”
However, actually watching the video has provoked different emotions for many as several of the women appear to be on the verge of tears while getting their heads shaved.
Soon, an online backlash erupted against the video with netizens asking why it’s necessary for female medics to shave their heads bald when so many male doctors are allowed to keep their full head of hair.
That criticism is particularly on point when you look at a group photo of the medical team from the Gansu Provincial Maternity and Child-care Hospital after their trip to the barber, showing 14 women and one man with the guy having the most hair out of all of them.
In response to the backlash, a spokesperson at the hospital has declared that the medical workers were not forced into getting buzzcuts but made the decision “voluntarily,” noting that the hair cuts were for the medics’ own protection.
Having no hair prevents the virus from spreading via exposed hair and also makes it easier to put on and take off protective gear.
Female medical workers in Wuhan and Xi’an have been shown shaving their heads this month as well, drumming up public sympathy and support, which one hospital in Gansu also evidently wanted a piece of.