Grey’s Anatomy

The one good thing that came out of this quarantine was the show I started to watch on Netflix; Greys Anatomy! I have been obsessed with it for over a month, and I seriously have never watched a show that could bring up so many emotions, I have to remind myself that this is just a story line and the characters aren’t real! The show is now at 16 seasons, and I believe they are filming more. This being said, over the course of the seasons, Shonda Rhimes (the executive producer and creator of the show) has incorporated many important subjects, such as feminism and the LGTBQ community.

The first time this is demonstrated is in the fourth episode of the first season. This episode seemed to focus a lot on the female gender, because most of it focused on how Izzie Stevens used to be a model. This led to many of her pictures being posted and talk around the hospital and underlined the way that men and women think about female models. One patient even denied her the opportunity to conduct surgery on him because he fantasized about her before. Izzie used the money she made from modelling to pay for all her Medical school bills, and is now a surgeon, so why is she shamed for modelling? This does not defy her in any way, or change any aspect of her mind, and intelligence. We see throughout the episode and the season that she is often faced with this subject but learns how to overcome and confront it.

One episode in the more recent seasons, showed a controversial scene. When neurosurgeon Amelia Shepard heard that one of her interns, Stephanie Edwards, had lied about “being sick her entire childhood” to get in on a surgery, she immediately confronted her, and punished her for lying. However, Amelia came to find out that she was not lying and felt terrible for accusing her. Before they entered the operating room, Amelia apologized to Stephanie for quickly believing she was a liar. Because Stephanie is a woman of color, Amelia worried that Stephanie would think she was racist. So, Amelia asked her; you don’t think it’s because…that I believed you were a liar, right? Because that’s not the case. Stephanie proceeded with explaining to Amelia, that the thought of people around her treating her different will always be there, and in fact she did think of it at first, when she was first accused. But she knew that Amelia was genuine and looked at her as an equal, this was just a mistake. While their conversation was brief, Amelia still found herself thinking about it after the surgery. She brought the subject up to another surgeon and friend, Maggie Pierce, who is also a woman of color. Maggie proceeded to tell her; I am not the spokesperson for all black woman, but I will say that it is something we deal with our whole life. But I am sure she does believe you and there is nothing to feel bad about. The whole situation really made Amelia reflect, and come to realize that this really is something that will always be a part of their lives, and as long as she kept treating Stephanie as an equal, she would not feel discriminated. Grey’s Anatomy not only brought up the subject of race in this episode, but gender as well.

African American women are often shown in the show, as powerful and successful! Miranda Bailey, who eventually becomes the chief of surgery! Maggie Peirce who is the chief of cardiovascular surgery. Lastly, Catherine Avery/Fox, who is an extremely successful surgeon of color who is known worldwide, owning 20 hospitals! Apart from African American women, they also portray a lot of other women as successful chiefs and attending. Arizona: Chief of pediatrics, Callie: chief of ortho, Meredith: chief of general, Teddy: chief of cardio, to name a few!) I love that they do not show men as more successful surgeons, but instead an equal amount for each gender. Especially with the continuous throwbacks of Meredith Grey’s mother, who was the first female surgeon to receive a Harper Avery award. Her character also plays a huge role with the feminism aspect of the show. Speaking of the prestigious Harper Avery Award, only 2 surgeons from Seattle Grace hospital are nominated throughout the seasons, and both are women! (Cristina and Meredith, Meredith even wins it!)

The show can connect gender, race, and everything in between very well. Race seems to be varied between the characters and gender as well with both males and females taking positions of power in the hospital. In my opinion, the show does a good job of including all types of people, even if they’re not main characters. For example, the show includes many different types of patients, some with mental illnesses, some with disabilities, and patients of many different classes.

Blog 7: Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Self-Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker is a four part limited series on Netflix. It displays the life of Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first African American self-made millionaire. The series aired March 20th 2020 starring Octavia Spencer – who has played many gender defying roles like Hidden Figures and The Shape of Water. I first saw it when it premiered on my “Suggested for You”. The series takes place in 1910 America, a little bit over 40 years after the American civil war. Sarah Breedlove is an African American woman, born and raised in St. Louis, Louisiana, who was orphaned at the age of 7, married at the age of 14 pregnant at the age of 15 and to top it off widowed at the age of 20. She did remarry twice afterwards and gave herself the title Madam C. J. Walker after her last husband, Charles Joseph Walker. She had a dream to create a hair product for African American women as well as being suitable for their hair type. She suffered from hair loss due to stress while being a washerwoman for many years and could not take care of her hair due to the lack of hair grower on the market. As a result, she chose to fabricate and sell her own hair grower after another women had introduced it to her.

Sarah Breedlove was approached by a light skinned women who introduced her to the powers of hair growth. The light skinned woman, Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone, met Breedlove at a very dark time in her life. When African American women were using goose fat, heavy oils, soap, or bacon grease to grow and strengthen their hair, Annie had created a sulfur based hair-grower. History and movie tell it different, Breedlove and Malone had a disagreement over how the hair grower should be sold. This pushed Breedlove to make her own formula of hair grower and sell it as her as her own product and brand. To avoid living in Malone’s shadow, she moved to Indianapolis – with her husband C. J. Walker – to start her business there. At the time, many African American citizens moved to Indianapolis because the real estate was cheap and they had a lot of people from the same community as them settled in the city and its outskirts. At first, not many people believed in Breedlove because of her race and gender. However, she defied odds, by herself, by successfully selling her product and opening a hair salon. Contrary to what you would assume, she did have the full support of her husband. In the series, he is portrayed as a caring and loving husband. His father, on the other hand, did not appreciate the fact that it was his wife coming up with the bright ideas and acting upon her dreams. He says to his son, “What kind of self-respecting negro works for his wife?” then follows with “Never get your money where you get your honey”.

There are many obstacles that Madam C.J.Walker had to face in order to reach her goal. Nevertheless, she was determined. She lived in a society where African American people were still referred to as “colored” and “negro“. She was not respected and, you can even say, highly underestimated. What Madam C. J. Walker did was use all of these labels that society had placed on her and made herself a millionaire out of it. To be specific, she targeted what was missing in the market and sold the dream. She used herself as marketing by telling her story to the women who were willing to listen to her. If you think about it logically, a African American woman made a product for the millions of African American women and flourished from there. In the series, she’s seen telling her story to a crown of dark skinned women in order to sell her product. However, what could be seen is that she is reaching out to the women; by targeting their struggles and their insecurities and linking them to her own, she was able to make them believe her and in her.

Furthermore, the main antagonist, Addie Malone, claims that dark skinned women want to look like her and that is the idea she wants to sell with her product. Which can suggest that white is the beauty standard in early 1900 America. Frankly, it is still the case in multiple environments in 2020. When Sarah Breedlove offers to sell her product for her, Malone declines her request by saying “you don’t have the right look”, referring to her darker skin tone. This is a representation of how racial discrimination still plagued the United States of America and, in a way, shackled every dark skinned American with a dream. In fact, even in the famous movie Hidden Figures, which is based a lot later in time, 1961, there is still discrimination against dark skinned women. Not only is it hard for a women, even in this day and age, to make a name for herself without the help of a man; it’s even harder for a dark skinned woman. The same situation can be seen in the movies The Help and Daughters of the Dust.

To sum up, I really enjoyed watching the series. It tackles many subjects like racism, sexism, gender norms and business. The tale of Sarah Breedlove – Madam C. J. Walker – paved the way for many other dark skinned woman to create what they need and make a living out of it. When I watch movies with a leading woman, of any race, it gives me confidence to pursue any career I want. It also reminds me to be stand up for myself as well as be confident about who I am and where I’m from. As much as I want to say that we should not pay attention to gender or race, I cannot. All these inspiring stories are inspiring because the main characters embraced what made them different and left their mark on the world with those exacts differences. Madam C. J. Walker embraced the fact that she was a dark skinned woman, pushed through social and gender norms, worked hard, made a millionaire of herself and that’s why her story is, now, a four part series on the biggest streaming network of 2020. To add, I see a pattern of women who have been discriminated for their gender, as well as their race, have bigger breakthroughs than men and women who are more socially accept for their race.

“Portrait de la jeune fille en feu”


“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” is a French film, written and directed by Celine Sciamma. This film is a beautiful art piece that celebrates women in a million different ways. 99% of the cast for this film were female, and any men who are in this movie are blurred, in the background and noticeably an intrusion. This film centers around a lesbian love affair as it deals with abortion, forced marriage and women as artists.


Set in the 18th century, in coastal France, we meet a young painter following in her fathers footsteps.portrait-of-a-lady-on-firemotherdaughter She has come to a manor to paint the portrait of a lady who has just been forcibly removed from her convent life so that she can marry a man who has been chosen for her. Immediately we are met with patriarchy at its finest. Heloise has been enjoying her pious life until she is expected to fulfill her roles as a daughter after her sister commits suicide. Even Heloise’s mother is so deeply ingrained in the patriarchal construct that she sees nothing wrong with the situation and expects Heloise to believe it also. Her betrothed has never met nor seen her, therefore her mother commissions a portrait to be done of her to send to this stranger. Heloise resists and at the moment Marianne arrives, we learn that Heloise has already refused to pose for one painter therefore Marianne must paint her without her knowing.


Marianne is the daughter of a very famous painter – she is known only for her relation to him instead of being known for her incredible talent. During the 18th century it was not common for women to become artists. Women were expected to marry as soon as possible, start a family and become wives and mothers, upholding patriarchal expectations of what it meant to be female. The only reason Marianne was able to follow her passion, was because of her fathers fame and fortune – the family was rich enough that it was not necessary for Marianne to seek wealth and security from marriage. She is a unique exception for women at that time, and it is brought up between Heloise and Marianne many times, especially when Heloise is upset at not being able to choose her own future.

One of the most poignant moments of this film is when the character of the housemaid, Sophie, finds herself pregnant without any other option but to terminate the pregnancy. 18th Century society did not condone abortions – they were considered a sin and medical professionals did not perform them due to social and religious stigma. Sophie confides in Heloise and Marianne, and together they are able to find a woman who performs them in her house – not very sterile, not very safe – however, during these times it would have been impossible for Sophie to have a child and not lose her entire livelihood. This scene is raw, dark and emotional. It is difficult to watch, but Heloise is fascinated and forces Marianne to watch the procedure – she later instructs Marianne to paint the scene, using poor recovering Sophie as the model of herself. The act of reproducing this scene, as a form of art, really calls to light how women’s suffering has historically been swept under the rug and considered taboo. There are no images from history that tell this very real story – women were continuously forced to sacrifice themselves for their own survival. Turning that horrific experience into a piece of art acts as a catalyst for Sophie, and women in general, to claim this painful experience as their own – as a woman’s experience.

Heloise, Marianne and Sophie are left alone in the house for a week while Heloise’s mother visits a nearby city. During this time, the three women form a very close and unique friendship. There are some beautiful scenes where each of them seem to switch roles with each other.


Heloise, the aristocrat, is seen preparing a meal – cutting vegetables and handling a knife. This role is typically done by the house staff, yet Heloise has her sleeves rolled up and is enthusiastically consumed by her task. Marianne, the artist, sips wine and surveys the scene – looking over the other’s shoulders and observing. This role would typically be played by the aristocrat, yet Marianne looks poised and perfect as she holds her glass. Sophie, the housemaid, is sitting quietly at the table working on an embroidery – carefully stitching with a delicate needle, creating art. Customarily, the artist would be creating art, yet here we see Sophie, the hired help, sitting calmly and peacefully stitching away. This scene shows the importance of female friendship, and when all men are gone, when no one else is watching, the women become just that – women. No preconceived roles or expectations are present, each woman is doing what each of them wants to do without any pressures to conform or act a certain way. It is a beautiful display of female friendship, showcasing the undeniable bond that links all women together.

I could probably talk about this film forever and ever – it is truly a wonderful piece of art. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that if you see this film, make sure to have some tissues handy, especially near the end. It is a heartbreaking story that really champions the importance of female unity, friendship and understanding. Also – the story behind the muse and inspiration of this film could be made into a film itself….I’ll let you discover that one on your own.

Portrait de la jeune fille en feu. Director: Celine Sciamme. Pyramide Films, 2020. Film.


“Under the Shadow”: Womanhood is More than Just Motherhood

Under the shadow was a beautiful horror movie that combined war, motherhood, and the supernatural. Set in Tehran, during the Iran-Iraq war, the story follows Shideh and her daughter Dorsa who’s building gets hit by a missile. Shideh then becomes convinced that the missile carried a Djinn, a Middle-Eastern malicious spirit, into the building and that Dorsa is the main target. Right from the beginning of the movie, we follow Shideh as she gets refused re entrance to her university after she had joined a political group who took violent routes of rebellion. We see that Shideh once had the opportunity to enter university as a medical student and was actually encouraged by her mother. This is important to note as not that many women usually enter medicine back in the 80’s and especially not for such a patriarchal society. It is then seen that Shideh has quite a few rights and her husband sees her as an equal. She has basic rights like driving, which is noted by a secondary character in the movie who points out she is the only woman in the whole building to drive.

Once Shideh arrives home, we get to see a fight with her husband. He believes that the war is becoming much too dangerous for them to stay in that city and Shideh refuses to leave her home because of rumors that say Tehran is the next target for attack. In the fight, her husband suggests that they should relocate to his family’s house, to which Shideh responds is unnecessary. She makes it a point to him that she can take care of her child and is a capable mother. With this fight, a lot of people might have assumed that she was a neglectful or selfish mother because she didn’t put her child’s safety above everything. However, later in the movie, you can very clearly see how much she’s willing to do for her child. Dorsa, the daughter, had a very strong emotional attachment to a doll and the Djinn stole the doll in order to keep them hostage. Dorsa refused to leave without it, and Shideh spent long periods of time searching for it, even putting her life in danger to make her child happy.

On the topic of her refusal to leave, her husband calls her stubborn and irresponsible. In some cases, you could say that if a man were to refuse to leave his home during war, he is strong and brave. However, for a woman in the same context, she is selfish and a bad mother. Her refusal is a huge act of bravery and she stays strong for her child the whole time even when there’s alarms of missile attacks and they must hide in the basement. However, once she feels the supernatural is dangerous and they must leave, they are the last ones left in the building; all of the other families left one by one throughout the movie. She faces these horrific things alone, protects her child, and fights the Djinn. In the end, she does leave to go live with her in-laws, but I truly do feel like she showed absolute bravery the whole time. Her refusing to leave her home was strength to me, not stubbornness. And at no point in the movie did I ever think: “Shideh is a bad mother”.

Although the supernatural is a strong part of the movie, it’s also a very important thing to note how the war affected the setting. Not only did it make it scarier, but we get to see a strong woman go through such tough times. When she was younger, she had joined a political group who wanted to revolt against the gouvernement. She believed it was patriotic and she should do something for her country which is why she stopped attending her medical school. This is so important because even though the execution of her actions weren’t the best, she still was patriotic which is something you usually only see portrayed on men. Her husband also leaves to join the army as it’s annual mandatory enrollment forces him to. We then see how much women also go through when they’re left with their families during war. The man may be protecting his country, but the woman needs to protect her children alone now.

Another important aspect of womanhood that was highlighted in this movie was female friendships. When Shideh comes home from her rejection into the college, she picks up Dorsa from a neighbor. This neighbor was an older woman who offered solace to Shideh more than once. Not only could Shideh entrust her with her daughter, but she could also talk to her when she felt scared in their apartment. When another air raid siren goes off and everyone is forced into the basement, you see this older motherly figure stand with Shideh and comfort her while Dorsa talks to the kids of the other families. When the grandfather of the Ebrahimi family gets a heart attack from the missile landing in front of him, the family goes to Shideh asking for her help since she had some medical knowledge. When Shideh fails to save him and they’re all sitting outside as they wait for police, medics and bomb agents to clean up the place, that neighbor comforts Shideh by telling her she tried her best and there was nothing more she could do. Overall, having that relationship with someone is probably one of the reasons why Shideh stayed so strong through everything and that is why female friendship is important.

Blog 5: Captain Marvel and feminism

  A superhero is seen as a character who has power and who is present to bring some kind of balance to the world. But the superhero world created by Marvel is not very balanced in terms of gender balance. To change this disparity, Marvel decided to make a movie about a superheroine named captain Marvel. The movie was a success and I think that it also had a strong feminist message to pass. Captain Marvel is the story of Carol Danvers, who will become one of the most powerful superheroines in the universe when Earth is threatened by a galactic war between two extraterrestrial races.

  To begin, the main character of the movie is a female, and this female is a superheroine. It’s very interesting and something rare in the comix world. I think that this alone is a feminist message, because it shows that women can be very strong too and can even save the whole world. It’s not the first time that we have a superhero movie where the main character is a woman, but it’s still something rare and I’m glad to see that big companies like Marvel are doing some steps to make the comix world more gender balanced.

  Another thing that I found interesting is the fact that captain Marvel considered the strongest superhero in the Marvel world. If we closely follow the Marvel universe, we can even see that captain Marvel is supposed to save the whole universe in other movies. It transmits the message that women are equal to men and that we all need each other to survive.

  A scene that I found very inspiring for young women is the one where a little girl watches captain Marvel fly away in the sky, and this little girl wants to be as strong as her idol. This scene shows us that female characters can also be very inspiring, and it shows that young women should aspire to be as good as they can and that there is no limit for their growth. It’s a great message for everybody!

  Finally, I would really recommend watching this movie, especially if you’re into the Marvel universe. Captain Marvel represents a strong and ambitious woman who worked hard and never gave up on her dreams and friends, it has a lot of progressive messages in the whole movie. It’s a truly inspirational character and is in fact some sort of revolutionary movie for the comix world.