What the Woman-Hating Crap is This Crap?

by

I’m one of the three and a half people still watching Grey’s Anatomy. I have no real defense, I used to tell people that while the scenarios were outlandish, the emotions were written in a very real way, which I thought felt true. Meredith and Christina’s friendship was, at its height, among the best written friendships between women on tv (currently I’m like Anne and Leslie on Parks and Rec).  But things have gone downhill.  Many have laid the blame at Katherine Heigl’s feet, but I think that’s just sexism at work. (After all, it’s not her fault her character has sucked, that’s at the feet of the writers. And if a male actor complained that his character was only given stereotypical work to do, I can’t imagine there would be the huge backlash Heigl has faced.)

I wish I could quit this show, but I am not a quitter, I tend to stick with shows until the bitter end. (See Hill, One Tree.)

So it was with increasingly heavy heart, that I watched the season finale.  (And yes, tears were jerked, I’m not made of stone, people. (Of course, tears were jerked at seeing Izzie, going to heaven in the prom dress she wore when Denny died and she got into bed with his body, and then Alex carried her out while that Snow Patrol song played, which was a season finale so moving I was dehydrated for days.))

I expected Meredith to be annoying, and Izzie to die. I expected Derek to be condescending, and Alex to be frustrating, but kind of appealing. I did not expect this:

Dr. Arizona Robins, upon learning that Bailey will be scrubbing in with the Chief and not her:  So I guess I’m on my own for this afternoon? My neuroblastoma? No no, don’t worry, you don’t have to. You’ll have the rest of your life to do neuroblastomas.

Bailey walks away.

AZ: Chief. I am going to cry. And I just want you to know that I know it’s going to happen. And I just want you to ignore it. And I’m not crying because I’m upset, it’s just what happens when I get mad at people in authority.

Chief: You’re mad at me?

AZ, crying now: I’m mad at you, and I’m crying because you’re the boss– my boss, which brings up my issues of  authority and my dad who you remind me of. Not that you’re old, but, you command respect, people respect you, I mean, I know I do, and Bailey does, which is why I’m mad, because it’s wrong, sir, it’s wrong to use a robot to lure Dr. Bailey back into general surgery because I don’t have a robot, all I have are little kids, they’re not as fun as a robot, and they’re not shiny and new and silver, and they don’t have things coming out of their belly buttons, but… I will fight you. And I will win. [Sob.] Sir.

And I really didn’t expect for that to be followed up with Bailey, our hard as nails chief resident, crying to the Chief while scrubbing in about her marriage.

Well that’s just fucking spectacular. We have two women crying at work, sobbing to their boss about personal, family issues. And not just any women, the woman is the head of the pediatrics department, and the chief resident. When I was but a young Gnatalby, my doctor mother impressed upon me the importance of never crying at work and keeping your personal issues personal.  This right here, these Grey’s Anatomy scenes, are the nightmare that misogynists try to invoke when they rail about women in the workplace… “What if the woman who holds your child’s life in her hands is too emotional to get the job done or is on the rag or something.”

I know it’s just a nighttime hospital soap, which is more about relationships than doctoring, but there has never been a scene where a male doctor was disabled by his feelings or tried to use said feelings to manipulate another doctor.  Yes, the male doctors have been incompetent plenty, but in ways that can’t be generalized to the population of working men.  When Dr. Burke developed a hand tremor that he concealed from his boss, that’s not a situation you can generalize onto all of man-kind, as when Dr. Shepard (Hey, I just realized that both Lost and Grey’s have Dr. Shepards. I guess the pun is too hard to resist.) retreats for awhile because he is despondant about losing so many patients.  Why that’s even noble.

Until we see comparable scenes of  male doctors breaking down for wholly personal reasons, or female doctors behaving consistently in a professional manner, Grey’s is getting the sideways look of off-pissery.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

3 Responses to “What the Woman-Hating Crap is This Crap?”

  1. T. Says:

    Very interesting and enjoyable post. I agree with your sentiments re the sexist bias, but I’m also wondering: perhaps men manifest their nervous break-downs with aggression rather than tearful emotion? Maybe that question itself sounds sexist, but having been immersed in surgical environments for years, I have to wonder…I wonder if there are indeed gender differences in the EXPRESSION of stress…I’ve seen men lose control, really lose control in unprofessional ways, but with anger or verbal assault rather than crying…I don’t know, maybe it’s just my impression. I could be wrong. Anyway, thanks for the reflections!

  2. gnatalby Says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

    I’m sure your impressions are correct– I am under no impression that Grey’s Anatomy is reflective of any sort of reality. 😉

    I suppose that what’s bothering me is that unprofessional behavior by the men on the show was shown as an aberration, one requiring a special response from colleagues, while the women crying at work didn’t seem to strike anyone as unusual.

    It seemed like a double standard meant to suggest that women acting unprofessional is just a day that ends in y. I really don’t know what it’s like in real hospitals, but I imagine men and women are held to the same standards of professional behavior and that both genders disappoint in more or less equal numbers.

  3. Making Love to the Pooch « Booze. TV. Food. How Do *You* Spend Friday Nights? Says:

    […] Holy God. My favorite thing about this show is that it’s overtly feminist in a way that’s just a premise of the show, it reminds me of Donna on That 70s Show in a way. Leslie has to deal with sexist assholes at work ALL the time, and it bugs her, but she just keeps doing her job and kicking butt. We don’t have to learn a little lesson about how these guys aren’t really sexist or sometimes ladies really are bad at their jobs (for an offender on this front, Grey’s Anatomy). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: