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Doctorates strive to change perceptions through Weibo

Photo: provided by @PETD亚洲善待博士组织

The Weibo account @PETD亚洲善待博士组织  has shot to fame these days in China’s micro-blogging world. Behind this Weibo account is a team constituted of seven doctoral students from mainland China, Hong Kong, the US and Europe; and in just a few months since its registration this January, they have gained considerable attention and drawn over 16,000 fans.

Finding the most gorgeous women with doctorates

People may naturally wonder how a Weibo by an unknown group could gain such popularity and what the account name ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of PhDs’ means.

Actually, a recent online activity called ‘Finding the Most Gorgeous Women with Doctorate Degrees’ initiated by @PETD may provide some insights. ran an article about it earlier. (Please refer to

The activity invites women with doctorate degrees to post pictures from their undergraduate, postgraduate, and PHD days, respectively, on the website for comparison—to find out if the women are getting more and more unattractive as the learning goes on, considering there is a widely held opinion in China that women with doctorate degrees tend to be asexual.

The buzz triggered on the Internet was described by one of the seven founders as ‘beyond their expectations’, which is true because quite a few media including was enticed by their refreshing photos.

Many netizens even admitted, the photos have overturned their formerly biased perspectives about the group—female PhDs, who are usually thought to be leftover ladies (also called 3S ladies剩女) or nerds.

Based on all the ‘solid proofs’, the answer turned out to be negative because the conclusion was crystal clear—talented women become more graceful and charming as their knowledge accumulate.

@PETD亚洲善待博士组织: we are a team

Now, I think you’ve realized the true mission of @PETD亚洲善待博士组织—Yes, they aim to restore the image of the ‘minority’ group—people with doctorate degrees, considering the fact that they are being demonized these years.
“The ID name ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Doctors’ just intends to be funny and to amuse. We hope the Weibo could work as a platform for the public to know us better—we refuse to be tagged as nerds or impersonal or the third sex; instead, we hope we could spread positive energy (正能量). The seven of us are all doctoral students; although burdened with heavy academic tasks, we devote our limited spare time to @PETD, just hoping to provide netizens really useful and interesting information about the true lives of PhDs,” the person in-charge of @PETD in Beijing told

He refused to be mentioned by real name, saying that they are a team and so he would just represent @PETD. “Our team would communicate on the Internet, exchange ideas and do brainstorming together.”

With the number of their fans snowballing, now they feel more motivated. “Our fans would leave us messages, like “Oh, there is such an organization (referring to the Weibo and the seven behind the scene), what a good thing!” or “Now, I find a shelter”, or “I’m going to become a doctoral student; I hope I could be treated fairly.”

The team is working really hard, while their fatigue and weariness just vaporize after getting all the warm messages. “It proves that our efforts are not in vain,” said @PETD.

Hard facts about PhDs in China

(All the following information and opinions are presented by @PETD)

In China people like us (PhDs) are put in a quite embarrassing situation: although shouldering heavy pressures from research work, we are mostly meagerly paid. We have almost no spare time as all weekends and holidays may be occupied by research work; thus, a part of the group voluntarily or involuntarily misses the prime time for finding life partners.

Even for those who have formed a family, a meager salary would not allow them to provide solid financial support for their family. On the other hand, compared with peers, most PhDs are lagging behind in big events like finding a job or starting a family, so, except for financial burden, they tend to also have emotional pressures. 

Biased opinions about PhDs in China

(All the following information and opinions are presented by @PETD.)

The general public opinion about us has actually gone to two extremes. On the one hand, we are highly acclaimed as the kind of privileged groups with profound educational background, while on the other hand, we tend to be tagged as just the opposite by the media for drawing attention—they emphasize those PhD holders who are subject of negative news. Then the public is misled and form negative opinion about the group as a whole.

For example, women with doctorate degrees are generally labeled as the third sex or fishlike nerds. But that’s definitely not true. There are many talented females PhD holders who are quite lovely and even gorgeous. And most of them are happily involved in a relationship. Even if there is only a small number that are still single, the public is misled by the media to think that female PhDs are usually repelled by eligible bachelors (singles).

See, a man's different images from his undergraduate, postgraduate and PHD days. Apparently, he is also becoming more in style. Photo: @PETD亚洲善待博士组织 

“We try to present a whole picture of the group.”

"We hope we could collect and present varied images about the group. Only in this way, the public could be given a whole picture about these people and their lives, and thus realize the fact that people immersed in strenuous research work every day could also be lovely and charming, and live a rosy life,” revealed the person representing @ PETD.

Except for #Finding the Most Gorgeous Women with Doctorates#, @PETD meanwhile also initiated many other online interactive activities, like #Finding a Heart-throb among Men with Doctorate Degrees #, #Had a Thing for the Super Scholar#, #PhD in the Movies#, #Let’s Just Comment, Maybe Sarcastically!#, #Step Into the World of Science#, #My Academic Supervisor is a Stunner (or heartthrob)#.

No wonder the account is so popular!

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