succumbing to peer pressure

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Feminism (and Grey's Anatomy??)

There was a nice moment in tonight's episode, but I'll give you some back story first. The chief of surgery is played by a black man, and two other main surgical attendants are white men. A third attendant was just recently replaced by a white woman. At the opening of the episode we see the three men (chief and two attendings) planning a "gentleman's evening." There's much snickering about whether this implies porn or strippers or what. Toward the end of the episode, the new female attending catches wind of this plan, and in the course of a totally separate conversation (during which the chief is attempting to call her out for not running a surgery plan past him) she reminds him that social events where only the male attendings are invited are like the old days when a club would invite only its white members for a weekend getaway. It's nicely played out, because I think it nails the subtle forms sexism can take, as I've mentioned here before. Because we 'know' the characters in the opening scene it's easy to think of their guys' night out as something innocuous. We 'know' they aren't really sexist, aren't actually being malicious. They've been 'friends' for a couple of seasons now and this newbie just stepped in and it's just a coincidence that she's a woman, that's why they didn't think to invite her. Which may all be fine and true. But doesn't make the action any more ok, since it involves careers and power. It's nice the way the new attending calls them on it, and gets invited, and it's all ok and friendly in the end. I know the real world doesn't work that way, and most viewers probably just thought she was being a bitch. But maybe one or two people out there got an idea planted in the backs of their minds, and maybe one or two more female colleagues will get invited out for drinks next time. It would be nice to think so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't seen the ep yet as I'm technically against Grey's since last season's finale (but end up watching them all online eventually anyway), but I've actually been more moved by feminism in "Brothers & Sisters" recently. When the Senator told Kitty to sit down cause she was pregnant and she immediately said "that's a myth", she was awesome. Also, it was heartbreaking when Sarah is talking to Tommy after discovering Joe wants full custody. She talks about how they both agreed she would contribute by working and he would stay at home. Then she says: "And I thought he was so progressive". And it made me weepy.
-A (who else?)

12:50 AM  
Blogger Sudhir said...

My reading comprehension is notoriously bad, so correct me if I am wrong here, but I think you're saying I should invite my female coworkers to watch porn with me.

See, that's one of those things that works well on TV, but it totally falls apart when you try it in real life. If I asked female coworkers if they wanted to watch porn with me, they'd want to watch gay porn. And you know what? I don't want to watch gay porn. So if not wanting to watch gay porn makes me a sexist, well, then I'm a sexist.

8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know you, but you obviously need to talk to more women about porn.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I should point out that Sudhir is my own personal Stephen Colbert. You see, he's being (or attempting to be) funny.

A - as for B&S - I totally agree (and have a whole 'nother post knocking around my head about the working mom thing) but I guess that's why this instance of Grey's stood out so much - Grey's is such a soap that it seems pretty noteworthy when they slip in a bit of social commentary.

Also, Rachel Griffiths's portrayal of the current Sarah storyline is impeccable.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Sudhir said...

Oh, that was nothing, gymno. My satirical antagonism can be way worse. A friend of mine once tried to argue that Sixteen Candles was superior to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. My retort was incredibly long and convoluted and ended with "Anyone who likes Sixteen Candles better is a racist and a proponent of date rape and pedophilia."

11:45 AM  

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