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.

Masculinity: “Qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men”

It’s clear that men have always had a stereotype associated to them. The man is always supposed to be “tough” and show no feelings. For some reason, men who show feelings, are considered “unmanly”. The term “unmanly, is the most ridiculous concept to me. Men and women are both humans, and both have feelings, as they should! So why is it considered unacceptable for a man to show them? How does being a man and having feelings make you any less of a man? This concept never made sense to me. Men also have the fear of being portrayed as homosexual if they act in this way. “Homophobia is the fear that other men will unmask us, emasculate us, reveal to us and the world that we do. not measure up, that we are not real men. We are afraid to let other men see that fear” (Kimmel 147).

Bell hooks and Kimmel have similar points on how men are viewed. “Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation.” (Hooks).  Hooks explains a story about her childhood, and a game she liked to play with her brother. Her father however made it understood that this was a game for girls only. When she stood up for her brother and contradicted him, she was made sure to never do that again. And that’s everything wrong with how these social norms.

In Michael S. Kimmel’s, Masculinity as Homophobia, he targets more the way men are pressured to act tough and follow the stereotype if they don’t want to be portrayed as homosexual. If a fight breaks out, no man wants to go through the embarrassment of not fighting back. This is to avoid the feeling of being “unmanly”. They have to follow these “norms” that shouldn’t even be norms, because in reality they make no sense.  

The only way to diminish these views for men, is being open and okay with the fact that they are equal to women. As young adults, we are the ones that should be promoting this idea, because our children should grow up with the mentality that men and women are both allowed to speak, act, dress, and do what they want without being judged. We are all human beings, and more importantly all unique, different, and special human beings. A man’s tears have no correlation with their sexuality.

I will say that slowly this stereotype will be less common. I’ve already been noticing within the passed year or two, that men are more comfortable with their sexuality in the sense where they are not afraid to be that “icebreaker”. Once men loose that fear of being perceived as not powerful, homosexual, or “unmanly”, that is when this ideology will change completely. And I think that’s super important because the more men ACCEPT other men and don’t judge them for acting the way they do, the easily this will be on them. Of course, this is a lot easier said than done and I understand that!

Blog 4: International Women’s Week

For International Women’s Week, I went to the lecture called “Sex, Lies, and Evolution”. The purpose of the speech was to debunk some of the arguments used against feminism based on supposed “human nature”. In other words, the speaker wanted to explain any stereotypes that people used when explaining why the gender roles are the way they are. One misconception that we’ve been taught to believe is true would be that all human societies since the beginning of time have been dominated by men. Another misconception that is more commonly known, is that men have led all the major cultural advances, such as hunting tools, and making the creation of fire.

I liked this speaker because he didn’t just assume we knew everything about this topic. He didn’t assume that we took an anthropology course before, which was perfect for myself because I never did! He described anthropology as “the scientific field that studies humans, past and present, as biological and cultural beings”. I also learned what a meta-narrative was for the first time, because this term came into the lecture very often. A meta-narrative is a widely accepted story about why things are the way they are in the “grand scheme of things”. They’re composed of a multitude of unproven stories that appear factual.

A common portrayal of evolution is a picture of a man evolving. But why is this iconic picture of evolution solely based on men? (picture is shown below). My favorite meta-narrative story that he discussed was titled; Woman the Child Bearer. Women can’t hunt or make tools because they are busy reproducing and taking care of children. However, women performed importance subsistence tasks, with their kids!  So where did the “fact” that women had no purpose in the society come from?

This event was really well done, and I think he was able to portray it in a way that kept the listeners interested. I actually did learn a few things, and even some ideas of which I always believed to be true about the portrayal of men turned out to be completely false. I would definitely recommend this event to a friend, because he addressed a lot of stereotypes and false information that we have been tricked to believe for years.

Blog 4: Inspirational Woman Involved with Climate Change

Jessica Alba is an actress, born April 28, 1981. This 38-year-old is not only an actress but a businesswoman. But before being an actress and a businesswoman, she’s a human being trying to live her best life, just like you and me. Jessica believes it’s important to practice what you preach. She believes every person can do something small to help the planet, and that will make a big difference in the end. “I try to do my best to compost, recycle, use eco-friendly and sustainable materials” Jessica says.

Alongside her eco-friendly lifestyle at home, Jessica is the co-founder of The Honest Company, a company which specializes in eco-friendly products. She created this company because she believes no one should have to choose between what works for them and what’s good for them. She was never able to find one brand to trust with her everyday needs, especially being a mother. She figured there were others looking for safe products, simple solutions and clear information about their choices as well. If you visit her website (link below), everything is divided in different categories. For example, babies, beauty, home, bath and body. The company provides a variety of products!

Jessica is an inspiring woman to me for more than one reason. Firstly, she is someone who used her fame and success in a positive way. She has such an optimistic attitude about her company, and I respect her immensely for that. “It’s possible to put people and the planet first, all while making profit.” She shows how businesses can play a powerful role in climate movement, and that is something most companies and entrepreneurs lack. Most times, buying eco-friendly products means spending more money, but Jessica is trying to make her products safe while still being affordable. I relate to Jessica because of her mentality of preaching the importance of every individual doing their part in saving the planet. There is a stereotype of being an environmentalist, but in the end no matter how big a difference you are making you are still considered an environmentalist. You don’t have to be an extreme, you can simply have a balanced approach because every little thing makes a big difference. She started off changing simple lifestyle choices and brought it to a whole new level. Jessica went the extra step of creating her business, which is something I cannot relate to. Not because I haven’t created a business, but because I’ve never began any sort of movement involving climate change.

Blog 3: Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period

After reading “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period” I learnt a lot regarding how societies were organized. There is an obvious difference between the European and the Indigenous culture. More specifically, there is a huge difference in equality within genders.

At the very beginning, the Indigenous culture was mainly matriarchal societies. It wasn’t until their population began growing that men became an important part of the society. For some indigenous groups, these men were even chosen by the women! However overall, the indigenous society followed an egalitarian structure. Men had responsibilities to fulfill but so did women. All tasks were distributed equally. Both men and women were appreciated for the work they did, without taking their gender into consideration. Because of this, men didn’t have a higher power over women. People were treated as equals.

For the indigenous society, their way of living seemed completely normal. It wasn’t even something that was spoken about because this is what worked best for them. Why would they discriminate women when they all needed to work together to have an organized society? Unfortunately, this changed quickly upon the arrival of the Europeans. This equality between genders was a shock to them. They were used to a patriarchal society, and they wanted to implement this mindset on anyone who lived differently. They believed that women would have no say or vote in what was decided. For example, marriage wasn’t a commitment to someone you loved. Marriage was a social institution. Women were not seen as equals with men but instead as someone who will obey men and not have a voice.

This European mindset is still seen today. However after lots of hard work, determination, and sacrifice, some aspects have changed over time . It’s still going to a lot to have an equal society, and while that may sound discouraging I believe someday in the far future the European mindset will be completely faded from our culture.