It’s giving classic Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress! It’s giving Greek muse in Hercules! It’s giving bridesmaids toasting with champagne in matching Etsy robes! It’s Mindy Kaling’s exam gown at a mammogram appointment, and it is serving.
If you’ve never sat alone in a doctor’s office styling your exam robe, taking a furtive selfie, and praying the door doesn’t swing open, well, you should try it. Never have I ever taken a selfie at a gynecologist appointment that was unflattering. On Thursday, October 21, Kaling posted an iconic example of this extremely specific genre of self-portraiture. She captioned the pic: “Feeling cute in my annual mammogram robe! Last year a lot of women missed their yearly mammogram, hopefully you can make an appointment to get checked. It’s so important. Tag me in your mammogram pic and you KNOW I’m gonna comment.”
Kaling has millions of followers on social media, so it’s a big deal for her to promote mammograms—x-rays that can catch breast cancer early—and offer an incentive to fans to get them. In a study of over 1,300 people published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 41% said they skipped out on medical care during the first months of the pandemic. Now more than ever, it’s important to listen to healthcare professionals. When the medical assistant says, “Please put on your gown, the doctor will be in to see you soon,” you should treat the word “gown” literally. And as Kaling shows, the very best selfies are taken in gynecology offices and breast cancer screening rooms. Pink flatters all. This is a versatile look that you can wear to a picnic, the office, brunch with friends, a date-night…the list goes on.
You should get a breast exam every 1-3 years between the ages of 25 and 39, and a mammogram every year or two after you turn 40, according to Planned Parenthood. Other great opportunities for a gown photo opp: an STI check! A mole screening! An annual physical! Plenty of people skipped doctors appointments during the height of the pandemic out of safety concerns, but the JAMA study showed that significant numbers skipped their appointments for financial reasons. If you have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, mammograms are covered every two years for women after the age of 50. And Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics offer reduced rates as needed, including for people who do not have health insurance. (This is one of the many, many ways Planned Parenthood saves lives.)
Scroll down the responses to Mindy Kaling’s tweet, and you will be treated to a parade of looks—women in hot pinks and Pepto Bismols, semi-sheer fabrics, deep-Vs, and high slits. There are stories from cancer survivors and mammogram newbies, gratitude and grief and cheerful grumbling. There is language for breasts that runs from “tatas” to “boobs” to “sloppy bags.”
All of it is perfect. Let this be a new trend—our Instagram explore pages should just be women taking selfies as they wait for their doctor to come back in. With this, I begin to pull together my makeup look my upcoming yearly wellness exam.
There really is only one question left: Could you use a speculum as a claw clip?