12 Posts of Christmas: Cristina Yang as Feminist.

In the spirit Christmas, I’ve decided to revisit some of my favourite posts of the year in the twelve days leading up to December 25th.

It’s no secret I love underdogs and Grey’s Anatomy, so what better way than to combine the doctor drama with one of its most dramatic doctors, Cristina Yang, in a post about—what else?—feminism? The original post is here.

When it comes to “likeable” female characters on TV, you might think of Buffy Summers. Or Rachel Green. Or the Gilmore girls. But Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina Yang probably isn’t one of them.

She’s abrasive, unfeeling, career-driven, ruthless and selfish. Everything a woman shouldn’t be, according to patriarchal norms.

Perhaps she could be more like the ousted Izzie Stevens, who was bubbly and sexy and baked cookies. Or the virginal and highly-strung April Kempner, whom Cristina praises for having “virgin super powers”, enabling her to be super-organised.

But I like Cristina just the way she is. She’s got her eye on the prize, won’t compromise her personal beliefs or goals to be liked or for a man, and she’s got “tiny little genius” hands that enable her to roll with the big guns.

This is why Cristina Yang is one of the only “feminist”—or “strong female”—characters on television. Nay, in all of fiction.

For one thing, she refuses to rely on her looks or her feminine wiles to get ahead. In “This is How We Do It” in season seven, she rejects Owen’s compliment about her beauty, saying, “If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.”

And in last week’s final, we saw Cristina exercise her right to choose, and schedule her second abortion on the show, after much (mostly solo) deliberation. While excluding the opinion of her significant other and father of the future child wasn’t the most respectful thing to do, ultimately it came down to her choice, and she chose to terminate the pregnancy.

In season two, Cristina divulges that she’s pregnant to Dr. Burke and, again, makes the decision to get an abortion on her own. Whereas a character like Izzie seems to serve the pro-life agenda (she gave up her own baby for adoption when she was a teenager growing up in a trailer park, and convinced a HIV-positive woman to carry her pregnancy to term), Cristina resists the societal pressures to tap into her maternal instincts and give birth to a child she does not want.

Regardless of whose agenda could be seen as being served by Cristina’s character, she acts without fear of what other people will think of her.

As a person, no matter what gender, it is seemingly second nature to want others to like us, and to portray our best selves to them. Just look at the ritual of the date or the job interview. That Cristina defies this action (though we have seen her star struck when meeting surgeons like Tom Evans, and Preston Burke for the first time) makes her not just a feminist character, but a truly humanist one.

There are people in this world who challenge us, grate on us, and whom we genuinely don’t like or approve of. But that’s what makes the world go around. Cristina Yang being one of these kinds of people, and being portrayed to us as a whole person on television, with hopes and dreams and trials and tribulations and relationships and a career and no desire for children, and not just as the bitchy mother-in-law who lives off her husband’s money and needs a good fuck, is truly a sight to behold.

Related: Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

The Underlying Meaning in Grey’s Anatomy’s “Superfreak” Episode.

Sookie as Feminist? Hear Her Roar.

Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Elsewhere: [The Feel of Free] Cristina Yang + You Can’t Compromise on a Baby.

[Marinagraphy] Motherhood, Cristina Yang & Grey’s Anatomy.

TV: Cristina Yang as Feminist.

 

When it comes to “likeable” female characters on TV, you might think of Buffy Summers. Or Rachel Green. Or the Gilmore girls. But Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina Yang probably isn’t one of them.

She’s abrasive, unfeeling, career-driven, ruthless and selfish. Everything a woman shouldn’t be, according to patriarchal norms.

Perhaps she could be more like the ousted Izzie Stevens, who was bubbly and sexy and baked cookies. Or the virginal and highly-strung April Kempner, whom Cristina praises for having “virgin super powers”, enabling her to be super-organised.

But I like Cristina just the way she is. She’s got her eye on the prize, won’t compromise her personal beliefs or goals to be liked or for a man, and she’s got “tiny little genius” hands that enable her to roll with the big guns.

This is why Cristina Yang is one of the only “feminist”—or “strong female”—characters on television. Nay, in all of fiction.

For one thing, she refuses to rely on her looks or her feminine wiles to get ahead. In “This is How We Do It” in season seven, she rejects Owen’s compliment about her beauty, saying, “If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.” (Stay tuned for more on beauty versus brains this week.)

And in last week’s final, we saw Cristina exercise her right to choose, and schedule her second abortion on the show, after much (mostly solo) deliberation. While excluding the opinion of her significant other and father of the future child wasn’t the most respectful thing to do, ultimately it came down to her choice, and she chose to terminate the pregnancy.

In season two, Cristina divulges that she’s pregnant to Dr. Burke and, again, makes the decision to get an abortion on her own. Whereas a character like Izzie seems to serve the pro-life agenda (she gave up her own baby for adoption when she was a teenager growing up in a trailer park, and convinced a HIV-positive woman to carry her pregnancy to term), Cristina resists the societal pressures to tap into her maternal instincts and give birth to a child she does not want.

Regardless of whose agenda could be seen as being served by Cristina’s character, she acts without fear of what other people will think of her.

As a person, no matter what gender, it is seemingly second nature to want others to like us, and to portray our best selves to them. Just look at the ritual of the date or the job interview. That Cristina defies this action (though we have seen her star struck when meeting surgeons like Tom Evans, and Preston Burke for the first time) makes her not just a feminist character, but a truly humanist one.

There are people in this world who challenge us, grate on us, and whom we genuinely don’t like or approve of. But that’s what makes the world go around. Cristina Yang being one of these kinds of people, and being portrayed to us as a whole person on television, with hopes and dreams and trials and tribulations and relationships and a career and no desire for children, and not just as the bitchy mother-in-law who lives off her husband’s money and needs a good fuck, is truly a sight to behold.

Related: Grey’s Anatomy Final Asks “When Does Life Begin?”

The Underlying Meaning in Grey’s Anatomy’s “Superfreak” Episode.

Sookie as Feminist? Hear Her Roar.

Are Our Favourite Fictional Females Actually Strong, or Stereotypes?

Elsewhere: [The Feel of Free] Cristina Yang + You Can’t Compromise on a Baby.

[Marinagraphy] Motherhood, Cristina Yang & Grey’s Anatomy.

Image via Home of the Nutty.

TV: Top 10 Grey’s Anatomy Moments.

I’ve recently re-watched every season of Grey’s Anatomy (but that wasn’t enough for me: I’ve gone back and started from season 4 again, so that the later seasons are on par with the first three, which I’ve watched copious amounts of!). So, to celebrate the greatness of Grey’s, here are my top ten moments of the show. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

1. OMGSW.

I’ve blogged about this ep a couple of times, but I cannot reiterate how shocking/sad/good it is. If you haven’t seen this, you can’t call yourself a Grey’s fan.

2. “It’s George!”

Equally as shocking. We all knew by the time the season five final aired that T.R. Knight was leaving the show, but I had no idea he was the John Doe who got hit by a bus.

3. Denny.

Ahh, Denny. He’s one of those characters that stay with you. Luckily, the Grey’s writers picked up on this, and he has literally stayed with us (albeit as a ghost) since his debut and tragic death in season two.

4. “Holy Mother Of…”

Meredith drowns. Christina gets engaged. Izzie drills burr holes with hardware. Alex discovers Jane Doe/Ava/Rebecca.

5. “I’m Here for You.”

Cancer and Denny hallucinations. I supposed that’s what you get when you complain about your storylines, Katherine Heigl. It was amazing how long it took for Izzie to realise that seeing her dead fiancé wasn’t normal. And how long it took Alex and George to realise something was wrong with her. For all Alex’s preaching about how he dealt with his crazy mum and crazy girlfriends, he didn’t think that Izzie talking to herself was out of the ordinary?

6. Code Black.

Also known as “Pink Mist”, this was the first episode of Grey’s I saw. I was so intrigued by the “Code Black” commercial that I had to see what it was all about: I’ve never looked back.

7. “I’m Addison Shepherd… And You Must Be the Woman Who’s Been Sleeping With My Husband.”

As the above entry would imply, I already knew about Addison before she showed up at the end of season one as McDreamy’s husband. That didn’t make it any less shocking when she accosted Meredith and her seemingly perfect neurosurgeon boyfriend, claiming to be his wife. OMG!

8. McSteamy.

No. Explanation. Necessary.

9. “Today I’m Accountable to Someone Other Than Myself.”

Alex finally makes good and marries Izzie. We all know that didn’t work out so well for him, but it was a beautiful gesture on the part of Derek and Meredith, who ended up getting married on a Post-It instead.

10. Jumping the Shark with Gizzie.

Again: this is what you get when you complain about your storylines, or lack thereof. George and Izzie getting together was a bit of an experiment, I think, as a means to an end for George’s marriage to Callie and Heigl’s plot discontent.

Related: Gunshot Wound to the Head: Grey’s Anatomy Season Final.

Top 10 TV Moments of the Year.

The Underlying Meaning in Grey’s Anatomy’s “Superfreak” Episode.

Images via YouTube, TV Rage.