Duh, It’s All About the Guys

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A recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy had me chuckling. In it, Meredith’s stuck in a typically trite love triangle between Derek, a married man who routinely broke her heart, and Fin, a vet who obviously adored her and forgave an indiscretion with Derek. (Why she felt she needed to make a choice was beyond me, but that’s another post.) She decided to help her decide, she’s going to date both of them.

Derek and Fin immediately see this as a competition – both telling the other they’re not walking away. They attempt to undermine one another and sabotage each other’s dates.

At one point Meredith, fed up with having her dates crashed and Derek and Fin getting into staring competitions, she tells them ‘dating is supposed to be about flowers and groping and looking into each other’s eyes. You guys are looking at each other!’

And that’s what I found so amusing. She set them up in direct competition with one another, and what did she expect? That they wouldn’t view her as a prize to be won? Derek and Fin’s battle of wills came across to me as two men who want the same object, not as two men who want to do the right thing by a woman they care about. Meredith’s comment about them looking at each other, not her, was right on the money. It wasn’t about her, it was about beating another guy.

Unfortunately, I doubt she saw it that way, and I doubt the writers, or the majority of the viewers, saw it that way. Love triangles are always written like I’m meant to find it romantic that a woman can’t choose a man, and that the men involved are going to great lengths to prove themselves. I mean, how awesome is it when you’re so amazingly desireable that men will compete for you?

Yeah, right. All I ever see are two men competing with one another for a prize, and that is definitely not romantic. Or respectful, for that matter. And that’s not something I want in my life, nor can I understand why anyone else would want it.

Comments

  1. says

    God, how I hated that storyline. I was right at my breaking point of seeing no possible redemption in Derek’s character at that point, and I just could not make sense of what the hell they were trying to sell me on that one.

    There’s also a very “boys will be boys” overtone to the whole thing–even asking “what did she expect” strikes me as playing into that argument. I’m not saying I agree with her decision making process (since in a lot of ways, she was treating two individuals who theoretically actually cared about her as though she were auditioning them for a part), but outside of television, I don’t think it would be seen as inevitable that the guys would immediately flip into making it all about “winning” rather than dating Meredith.

  2. says

    “What did she expect” is one of those questions that’s totally legitimate… but get asked of women a lot more often than men, because we expect women to think and be rational in relationships, but we don’t expect men to do anything beyond show up and maybe be sexually faithful (but we’ll usually give them a pass on that, too).

    The thing is, we should expect men to act more sophisticated than angry monkeys in romantic situations. (Yeah, I think the writers are just painting her as ridiculously naive, but bear with me.) There’s a strong tendency to enhance and celebrate primitive aspects of courtship – rivals fighting for someone, sexual jealousy, even violence (which, I think, is part of why people can’t tell where passionate sex leaves off and rape begins). It’s like hormones are this grand excuse men have been looking for to behave like wild dogs. But the fact is, if you are sufficiently motivated, you can exercise a lot of common sense even when your hormones are going crazy.

    So if someone wants to behave like a dog, that’s fine. Just don’t dress it up as “romance.”

    And no, I’m not suggesting the writers had that insight and meant to convey it. I’m just using it as a launching pad for my own ideas.

  3. scarlett says

    “What did she expect” is one of those questions that’s totally legitimate… but get asked of women a lot more often than men, because we expect women to think and be rational in relationships, but we don’t expect men to do anything beyond show up and maybe be sexually faithful (but we’ll usually give them a pass on that, too).

    I hadn’t thought of it in those terms. It’s been a while since I saw the ep, but I remember thinking it seemed incredibly niave and greedy of Meredith to expect these two guys to compete over each other but NOT make it about them, well, competing for a prize.

    But it didn’t occour to me that I should have been criticising the guys ovet their behaviour, too. Who the hell wants to compete over someone they care about? What does it say about them, and the writers, and the people who thought the whole sitiuation was romantic, that two guys are squabbling over a woman like they were boys in the sandpit over a toy car?

    This is why I don’t watch the show anymore. TPTB think it’s romantic to have men just fall at Meredith’s feet, and I’m not sure who that insults more, women or men.

  4. says

    But it didn’t occour to me that I should have been criticising the guys ovet their behaviour, too. Who the hell wants to compete over someone they care about?

    Exactly. They could’ve opted out of the whole situation. Or they could’ve just gone along like normal until she made up her mind. And if this was real life instead of TV, you would have a third option: choose to have an honest, non-exclusive relationship. ;)

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