Sexy Instagram photos, participation in an erotic film and a performance in a burlesque-show cost a Belgian psychologist her title. Harmful to the profession, the disciplinary committee judges. A minister is disgraceful of the committees opinion and wants explanations.
Sexologist and relationship therapist Kaat Bollen (35) is frank about her own sexuality. On Instagram, she also shares one with her family and friends with a bit more skin or décolleté, directed a woman-friendly porn film (porna) and did a nightclub presentation in corset and fishnet stockings.
A colleague protested at the Belgian Psychologists Committee at the beginning of last year. He felt that her performances undermine the dignity and credibility of their joint profession. The committee went along with that, and also tapped Bollens fingers at the end of last year on appeal.
The verdict states that Bollen “must be aware of its profiling and dignity at all times”, otherwise “the dignity of their profession will be compromised and image damage will be caused”.
The four-headed committee did not care that the erotic activities took place in her spare time. “Her public outing blurs the distinction and has to take into account the fact that its behaviour can harm the profession.”
Bulbs are furious and immediately after the reprimand gave up her title. She calls it a difficult and painful decision, but “being a psychologist anno 2021 means I cant be myself (not even in my personal life, because thats what this is about!) Id rather not be a psychologist.”
“ It is a punishment that I have to answer for this in 2021. We are allowed to talk about sexuality gradually, but apparently it has to be done in a very clinical context.”
“ I cant reach it. Why is sexy and/or feminine not worthy? And since when do we judge psychologists about the dignity of others? Shouldnt we have an open sight and encourage authenticity?” , writes Bollen on Instagram.
“ Since when do we as psychologists have to be more worthy than others? Arent we like people trying to be there for other people? Isnt our strength as a psychologist just in being human and meeting two people?”
The Flemish Minister Somers for Equal Treatment wants to see what he can do against the attitude of the committee. “This is harming what women may or may not do or wear in their spare time.”
“ We should not be a clothing police here”, he reacts disgruntled. “This is really unheard of. When I read it, I thought I had fallen back in the 1950s.”
Bollen is also receiving support from others online. For example, lingerie designer Marlies Dekkers tells us to stand behind Bollen and radio presenter Heidi Lenaerts placed a photo in underwear with the call: “Come on. All in our underpants for Kaat Bollen.”
Many Belgian women share seductive photos with the hashtag #istandwithkaat. They ask whether they are no longer competent, according to the committee. “I have a masters degree and also breasts, can I?” asks one. “How many meters of fabric on clothes is needed to be competent”, asks another.
“ Fortunately, I have a job on the radio”, shampers presenter Sharon Slegers. “Then you cant see how sexy I look when I do my job.”