TV: Grey’s Anatomy—You’re Abnormal if You Don’t Want Children.

 

According to Owen Hunt, anyway.

He’s still having issues with Cristina’s abortion four months after the fact. Cristina laments that he was supportive and held her hand through the procedure and the next thing she knows “you’re screaming, ‘You killed our baby,’ in front of all our friends.”

I’ve written before that Owen is rightfully upset that Cristina essentially made the decision to terminate her pregnancy solo, without his input, but it seems he’s now moved on to being frustrated with Cristina’s utter lack of desire to have children.

He says it’s not normal to not want children and that seeing as she and Meredith do everything together, Cristina should want a kid, too. Cristina yells, “there is no deeper reason” for her not wanting a baby; she just doesn’t. “It’s alright to never want kids,” she offers.

This episode touches on the very real stigma against women who don’t want kids. As I grow older and my priorities evolve, I’ve come to better understand this disinterest in raising children. That’s not to say I don’t want kids (I know I definitely do not want biological children, and in that respect I can relate to Cristina), but the fact that I want to adopt means there’s a very real possibility that I will not have children at all. But not everyone is as empathetic to Cristina’s plight, as Owen demonstrates. Dealing with such delicate circumstances within the confines of a relationship must make it that much harder.

Related: Grey’s Anatomy—“You Killed Our Baby”.

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

Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Image via Watch Shows Now.

TV: Grey’s Anatomy—“You Killed Our Baby”.

 

Owen has always struggled with Cristina’s decision to have an abortion at the end of last season, and it seems he’s still holding it over her head halfway into this one.

From the point of view of Owen, this is fair enough: Cristina never allowed him a say in the termination, and he struggled with her exerting her right to choose.

On the other hand, though: it’s just an abortion. It’s not like Cristina killed an actual living, breathing human with a personality and autonomy outside the womb. She killed his hopes and dreams that he projected onto something that could have been. Tragic on both counts for both characters who can’t seem to grasp where the other is coming from.

Cristina takes the position I do: a foetus is not a human. It doesn’t have rights. It’s subject to whatever the woman whose body it’s residing in chooses to do. Cristina had an operation to get rid of unwanted matter in her body, and now she’s moving on with her life.

I don’t pretend to really understand how the pro-life side, to which Owen evidently belongs, can get so hung up on the (non-existent) rights of the foetus which, at the time of Cristina’s abortion, would have been none the wiser.

Owen seems to think that Cristina committed murder, when he shouts at her during an argument in Meredith and Derek’s kitchen whilst Zola’s birthday/Richard’s 10,000th surgery party is happening in the next room, “you killed our baby!”

Personally, if you have the view that abortion is murder, then I don’t think you should be a doctor. A pro-life campaigner/terrorist out the front of an abortion clinic, perhaps? It’s less dangerous that way.

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

Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Private Practice: Pro-Choice?

Image via YouTube.

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.

Beauty VS. Brains*.

Earlier this week I blogged about Grey’s Anatomy’s Cristina Yang being a feminist.

I mentioned that she scoffs at being called beautiful by her husband, Owen, and would rather be complimented for her brains, not her beauty.

Sure, I enjoy being called beautiful just as much as the next girl, but I, too, would rather people recognise me for what’s on the inside, not what’s on the outside.

From “What’s the Point of Pretty?” by Sarah Von on Yes & Yes:

“‘How would you feel if the only thing people ever praised you for was something you had no control over? And how would you feel if every day, you were slowing losing the one thing people complimented you on?’”

Pretty shitty, especially when striving to be good at things outside the realm of the physical.

So I asked my friend Katrina, the most beautiful woman I know, what her thoughts on the matter were. Would she rather be considered beautiful, or be complimented on her mind?

“It’s a tough question really, so many women—beautiful or not—are inherently self-conscious. Living in the world we do, so much pressure is put on us to fit a particular type of mould. Sometimes I look at other women and think ‘I wish I had her legs’ or ‘I wish I was a unique creature like her’, but it’s not that often. More often I am happy with the way that I appear. In fact, I put more pressure on myself to be intelligent! This is therefore my choice—brains over beauty. I suppose I feel I have something to prove to myself—I’m always striving to be better, to know things. I feel like a failure if I’m not getting where I want to go—but it is my brain that enables me to get how far I am now! Our intelligence enables the world to be our opus, and I’d much rather be admired for taking up that challenge than for swanning around it in a cloud of beauty!”

But do those who are beautiful take it for granted? Is that why they choose brains over beauty? Because they’re already physically blessed? I’d be interested to know in the comments if anyone reading this feels they’re more well endowed in the brains than beauty department, and if they would change this given the choice.

As the quote from Yes & Yes illustrates, it’s actually kind of insulting to be complimented on your looks alone. If anyone should be proud of the way you look, it’s your parents, right? Beyond getting a flattering haircut, using makeup to present your (arguably) best self and—in extreme cases—getting cosmetic surgery, we don’t really have a hand in the way we look.

Maybe this is why young, cute girls are always told how young and cute they are over how smart, how unique, how funny, how nice they are. It’s usually parents and adults who say these things; children are often oblivious to the way they look until a certain age. There are articles circulating the blogosphere at the moment in regards to this. Let’s focus on things other than looks in kids, lest we end up with a world of Heidi Montag’s et al.

It’s also a generational thing, I think. People my age are more aware of the effects of focusing on looks alone, especially for women, and will hopefully raise their kids accordingly.

I had a coworker who’s pushing 40 comment on my hair recently. I was having a bad hair day anyway, and I asked if he was insulting me. He replied: “I could never insult you… not on your looks, anyway.” I found that even more insulting than the fact he thought my body hair was open for discussion!

Perhaps it was the age difference, perhaps it was because he was a man… I don’t know. I just know it’s so not appropriate to comment on people’s looks in the workplace (more on this to come tomorrow). And that equating looks to the only positive thing about someone is reprehensible.

So back to the question at hand: brains or beauty?

I would choose brains hands down. I have chosen brains.

If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have gone to uni. Or started a blog. Or read books. Or incite spirited arguments amongst my friends to see what their opinions are on asylum seekers and SlutWalks, and to challenge my own.

Brains will still be with you when your looks have been washed down the drain with the dirty dish basin water. (Provided you don’t get dementia which, if my dad inherits from his dad, could be a very real possibility for me. Argh!)

*And by no means are brains and beauty mutually exclusive.

Related: Cristina Yang as Feminist.

Poor Little Rich Girl: Who Cover Girl Heidi Montag.

The Hills Have (Dead) Eyes.

My Response: Go Back to Where You Came From.

Elsewhere: [Yes & Yes] What’s the Point of Pretty?

[Jezebel] Should We Tell Little Girls They’re Pretty?

[The Huffington Post] How to Talk to Little Girls.

Image via All Posters.

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

 

Last night’s Grey’s final saw the seeming collapse of Derek and Meredith’s marriage over Meredith tampering with the Alzheimer’s clinical trial just as baby Zola came into their lives, pending the finalisation of the adoption papers.

Derek chided Meredith for swapping the active drug with the placebo for Richard’s wife, Adele, asking her how she couldn’t differentiate between right and wrong. Meredith replied that to her, things aren’t just right and wrong; there are shades of grey (hello, her last name’s Grey!), and that she’d do it all over again if it meant that Adele got better.

Derek should know this. Back in season five, when Derek introduces Meredith to his mother, she exclaimed that Meredith was good for him: he’s black and white and she’s grey.

But it didn’t stop him walking out on his wife for failing to see her reasoning, much like Owen failed to see Cristina’s reasoning, and kicked her out after she scheduled an abortion without his input.

Yes, that’s right: Cristina’s pregnant, much to her dismay.

She doesn’t want a baby. Never has, and never will. But Owen can’t understand this, and pushes her to see his side.

Now, this is where it starts to get messy. I’m not ashamed to say I’m staunchly pro-choice, so much so that I take the line of reasoning that if in doubt, abort. Especially if the woman in question is young, a victim of rape or incest, or can’t afford to have a baby. To me, life begins when the foetus is out of the womb and has taken its first breath. But I agree with Owen in that Cristina should have allowed him to have a say in the matter of abortion. But I also think that if Owen married Cristina knowing she didn’t want children but thinking he could persuade her anyway, he’s an idiot.

Cristina echoes this notion somewhat when she informs her husband she’s pregnant. Owen is overjoyed; Cristina has a migraine.

She tells him flat out that she doesn’t want a baby, and he responds with, “Well, you have one.”

“Are you getting all lifey on me?!” she remarks in disbelief, while he proceeds to ask her how far along she is, and if the foetus has feet and hands. How dare he tell her when life begins, she reasons.

While the storyline is clearly personal, not medical, it seems that Owen leans towards pro-life, though that could just be because the foetus in question contains his DNA. I don’t think doctors should push their personal opinions onto a pregnant woman who is coming to terms with the “unwanted tissue” inside her. I would go as far to say that I don’t think doctors with pro-life beliefs should be practicing medicine.

Still, Cristina is absolutely right when she says she’s not “compromising” on a baby: “You don’t have half a baby!… You don’t ‘give a little’ on a baby.”

While it’s perhaps easier for the father to bow out on raising their biological child, mothers usually don’t have that (ad)option. Cristina just plain and simply doesn’t. Want. A. Baby. But if she has it, she knows she’ll love it. (That’s the risk women run when they give their children up for adoption.) Owen shouldn’t have put her in the position to do something she doesn’t want to do (“It’s not like pizza or Thai.”), thinking she will “come around” later.

While Derek and Meredith deal with the fall out of Meredith’s “wrong” decision, how will Owen deal with Cristina’s decision? Was it “right” or “wrong”? And how will Grey’s Anatomy continue to discuss the “when does life begin?” question?

Related: The Underlying Message in Grey’s Anatomy‘s “Superfreak” Episode.

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

[Marinagraphy] Resisting Motherhood in Grey’s Anatomy.

Images via VideoBB.

TV: “Seattle Grace Mercy Death”—Grey’s Anatomy “Song Beneath the Song” Review.

 

It’s kind of hard to take the potential death of Callie and her unborn baby seriously when everyone’s singing, and in most cases, not well.

I wasn’t sure if I was delighted or perturbed by the announcement of a musical episode of Grey’s, and wondered how it would all go down.

(Un)luckily I didn’t have to wonder too long, as my friend Sallie spoiled it for me when we were discussing the show a couple of weeks ago. I was still catching up from re-watching all the seasons, and she asked me where I was up to in the latest season: “Callie’s accident?” No, but thanks! And when I accidentally looked up from my book in the final moments of last week’s episode before Desperate Housewives came on to find Callie and Arizona driving and talking, I put three and three together and figured there would be a car accident which would result in Callie’s supernatural musical experience, and voilà, you’ve got “Song Beneath the Song”. It’s like Glee meets Supernatural meets E.R. And not in a good way.

Some of the renditions, especially at the beginning of the episode, are cringeworthy, but Callie—played by Tony Award-winning actress, Sara Ramirez—and Owen (Kevin McKidd) put in performances that push the episode into watchable territory.

Grey’s Anatomy is known for its heartrending storylines and strong acting, and apart from the horrendous soundtrack, this episode is a good one: it’s touch and go with Callie’s survival and the life of her unborn baby, which Addison flies in to tend to when Lucy tanks it. (That doesn’t lessen her appeal to Alex, though!) Mark’s a mess, and tells Arizona she’s “nothing” in the parentage equation, and later apologises. Lexie comforts Mark, but still chooses Jackson. And Meredith breaks down over her desire to have a baby, when it happened so easily for Callie. And Owen’s singing ability just makes him hotter!

The one effective aspect I think the singing brought to the table was it acting as a metaphor for the mile-a-minute emotions everyone tending to Callie’s case was feeling. Sometimes the singing became very overwhelming, what with everything else going on in the scenes. But in the end, I think it worked to the shows advantage.

Now, let’s just sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened.

Related: Top 10 Grey’s Anatomy Moments.

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

Gun Shot Wound to the Head: Grey’s Anatomy Season Final.

Images via MegaVideo.