This sort of “sisterhood” among the female characters in critical in the development and success of each other. While the media often focuses on male dominant relationships in society, such as father-son, brothers, bros, uncle-nephew, and husbands, woman seem to take second seat to this; even when females are included in the relationship, it still seems to center around the males, such as father-daughter and husband-wife. What about woman??
We often forget how crucial female relationships are, such as sister, female friends, mother-daughter, and wives, when going through careers and personal lives, even more so when going through internships, residency, and surgical careers.
Grey’s Anatomy has always been known to “favor” the female characters in the shows, in comparison to many TV dramas. The character list is primarily female, which is interesting in a show like this which follows the lives of surgeons, while the medical field today is primarily male dominant (66% of physicians are male while 33% are female, according to recent studies). There is definitely a good number of male characters in the show, but they are typically introduced through relation to to females, a perfect example being Derek and Meredith. Woman in TV dramas are first seen as wives, sisters, mothers, and supporting character before ever developing into a character of their own. In comparison, Grey’s Anatomy introduces its women as strong, independent, and successful figures in the medical field, alongside their male colleagues.
Woman in today’s society, and in any field of work, are more often than not regulated and judged based upon how they look, feel, think, or act. Meredith is often criticized for being a whiny, spineless, and selfish character, despite her horrific childhood, tragic love with Derek Shepherd who is now dead making her a single mother of three, and incredible accomplishments in the field of medicine.
Characters such as Dr. Miranda Bailey is seen as a strong, independent, driven, and respected character, most likely do to her cold demeanor. Both of these characters are incredibly strong and able woman and should be seen as such. By giving the audience a look into the lives of each doctor, we are able to see different tiers of their character, through personal struggles, past experiences, and general stress of being a surgeon. The audience has seen these two characters as well as all of the woman portrayed on the show at both extremes, thriving in medicine and proving their worth through their success, as well as breaking down, unable to carry the weight of everything on their shoulders any longer. The show sets a principle for woman in the fact that we can be successful, we can be a mess, we can be successful and a mess simultaneously, and it is okay.
Grey’s Anatomy not only shows that woman are strong, beautiful, and powerful doctors, but also that woman of color are doctors, woman with different body images are doctors, disabled women are doctors, and lesbian woman are doctors. As Dr. Bailey pointed out in season 12 episode 3, we need to be able to advocate for ourselves and know our own worth, that we are strong, capable, and deserving; we are more than what the media says we are.