I don’t mind that Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy has daddy issues, and indulges in emotionally void sex with men whose names she can’t remember. I don’t mind that her friends keep better track of the men in her life than she could. I’ve met women in real life who do that.
I don’t mind that she decides to fall in love with one of those men, then refuses to get over it when it turns out he’s married, continue to want him and doggedly sees the wife as the “other woman’. Met those kinds of women, too. And I’ve met the kinds of women who sleep with their best friends as an emotional distraction, then break their hearts to go back to wanting the married man. And I’ve met women who constantly make themselves and their convoluted lives the centre of attention, paying no attention to any crappy circumstances their friends might be going through.
I don’t even mind that, throughout all this, Meredith refuses to take responsibility for her actions. I’ve met plenty of women – and men – who’ve done the most selfish, thoughtless things to others, and refused to accept that they’ve hurt people.
What I minded was that Grey’s failed to portray Meredith as the selfish, thoughtless woman who has daddy issues and “resolves” them with emotionally void sex with anonymous men. She refuses to own her mistakes, which again, wasn’t what I had a problem with – I had a problem that the Grey’s PTB didn’t hold her responsible for her actions, even if she didn’t.
I’ve seen plenty of characters like Meredith where the character was portrayed as a spoilt, selfish brat – even when they’re happily deluded themselves, the audience knows they’re selfish, spoilt brats, because the writers and producers – and actors – play it that way. That, ultimately, is what I detest about Meredith, and Grey’s in general – not that she’s a brat, but that they try to play a brat as a goddess. Women I know can’t relate to Meredith. They relate to Addison, who fesses up to her mistakes and tries to make up to them. They relate to Christina, who’s unapologetically autonomous and makes no apologies for offending people with her frankness. They relate to Miranda Bailey, who well and truly holds her own in a male-dominated field. But they don’t relate to Meredith, because despite the Grey’s PTB’s best efforts, there’s nothing to admire – and from what I can gather (and like attracting like, I tend to hang out with people who have left, feminist bents, so my selection may be biased) they resent that they’re being cued to relate to her.
I’m convinced, from conversations I’ve had with people (and again, that bias) that a fair percentage of the show’s audience watch in spite, not because of Meredith Grey. Because in the midst of flawed, strong characters like Christina, Addison and Miranda is a selfish, spoilt brat that the PTB are trying to sell as a hero.