The doctor is out: Myanmar medical license revoked over ‘sexy photos’

Doctor and model Nang Mwe San posing on a beach in Myanmar via Nang Mwe San Official Facebook Page
Doctor and model Nang Mwe San posing on a beach in Myanmar via Nang Mwe San Official Facebook Page

A former doctor who willingly traded in her scrubs for scanties in pursuit of a career as a “sexy model,” won’t be headed back into medicine any time soon.

That door was officially closed to 29-year-old Nang Mwe San earlier this month when the Myanmar Medical Council revoked her license for posting racy images and videos to Facebook, something she had allegedly promised not to do.

The pics, the council explained in a letter the ex-doctor posted to her Facebook account last week, do not “fit with Myanmar culture and tradition.”

If you guessed that might draw the attention of international media, you guessed correctly. If you guessed it would be the Daily Mail, guess again.

Mwe San only became a doctor in the first place to honor her parents wishes, she said in an exclusive interview today with the New York Times, before then training her sights on Myanmar’s entrenched patriarchy.

“Here there is so much sexism,” she told the venerable Gray Lady. “They don’t want women to have higher positions. And they judge women on what we wear. They don’t even want us to wear trousers.”

It wasn’t long after beginning her medical career that Mwe San found herself confronting the issue, butting heads with the bosses at her NGO, who warned her not to “shoot sexy photos,” she told the Myanmar Times last year.

Instead of complying with that request, she quit her job and began modeling full-time.

Shortly thereafter, however, she found herself on the radar of the Myanmar Medical Council, which also took issue with the risqué pics and warned her to stop posting them on Jan. 14.

Four-and-a-half months after that initial warning, the council moved to officially revoke her license.

Last week, Mwe San questioned that decision, asking her followers: “What is human rights? Where is democracy?”

While some in the deeply conservative country failed to see the connection between Mwe San’s case and those broader questions, other netizens praised her for taking a stand against a society that too often uses women’s sexuality as a cudgel against free expression.

Historically, medicine and the entertainment fields haven’t mixed particularly well in Myanmar.

While in Mwe San’s case, the council took issue with specific videos and pictures they deemed contrary to “Myanmar culture,” doctors-turned-mainstream actresses Chit Thu Wai and Paing Phyo Thu have had their licenses revoked simply for entering the entertainment field.

Unfortunately for Mwe San, some who agree with the council are taking their own form of retribution by reposting captured Snapchat stories — theoretically intended to exist for just 24 hours — in which she appeared topless for followers and reposting them to YouTube and adult video websites.

Despite it all, Mwe San remains defiant and plans to appeal the council’s decision to get her license back and has a strong message for haters and supporters alike.

“Society doesn’t own women’s body. My body, my right,” she wrote on her page, with a brand new photoshoot of her in a gold bikini next to a swimming pool.

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