Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Masculinity and Grey’s Anatomy

Although we don’t have a water cooler at the office, the staff at MCSR often comes in on a Friday where we engage in a little “water cooler conversation” about the one and only: Grey’s Anatomy. After several of these conversations, we started talking about how masculinity affects the storylines we have all become so comfortable with. In the show, traditionally masculine/feminine behavior is typically represented through the current relationships the show is focusing on. After last night’s episode (3/22 where George, played by T.R. Knight and Izzie, played by Katherine Heigl deal with the aftermath of their drunken hook-up), I felt I could not wait any longer to talk about some of these issues.

The relationship that is irking me the most is the most recent: the out-of-the-blue sexual relationship between George and Izzie. While I was watching, I kept saying to myself, “This is so WRONG!” After I thought about it a little bit, I realized why this new conflict is bothering me so much- Izzie is represented as a more traditionally feminine woman while George is portrayed as a more feminine male. The combination of these two gender characterizations is against the gradient of what viewers expect from these genres of characters. Even to someone like myself who believes in eliminating the stereotypical notions of masculinity in our society, I feel a little uncomfortable with this new relationship.

Think about it: Izzie’s character is a formal model and serves as the physical representation of traditional beauty in American culture. She’s blonde, gorgeous, sweet, a little naïve, and she constantly bakes. Last season, she was engaged to a bruiting, strong, unshaven heart diseased patient who seemed to be the perfect counterpart to her character. Now she potentially has feelings for George who is portrayed as kind and sweet but also weak and feminine. I love George’s character- even though I think the writers sometimes portray George’s sensitivity in a negative way, but I am not comfortable with this new development. How sad is that?

I wanted to start a discussion about all of this. What do you think about this new development? How do you think George’s masculinity will affect the outcome of the relationships he’s involved in? How is it that even someone like me can be taken aback by this new pair?

-Liz Harmon
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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:15 AM

    i actually think that grey's does a semi-decent job of portraying strong women (dr yang, anyone?), regardless of whether or not people find those traits to be negative or not. what is interesting is the feminization of george: i wonder if that's caused by the writers' internalizing the fact that TR Knight is gay.

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