Diversity in Grey’s Anatomy

One of my favorite tv shows is Grey’s Anatomy. For those of you that do not know, this is a fictional show about doctors who all work together in the same hospital and all of the drama that goes on in each one of their busy lives. One of the reasons I like this show is because of how extremely diverse it is throughout the entire thing. Starting in season one, there were four males who were casted as lead roles as well as four women casting as lead roles. Within this cast, there were two men of color, one women of color and another women from an Asian ethnicity. As the show went on the numbers increased in diversity as well as having lead roles increase their diversity as well. Not only does this show incorporate women of color or different ethnicity playing the roles of high up professionals of surgeons in the medical field, it also incorporates diversity among other social statuses such as lesbians, bisexuals, and gays. Throughout the show, there are a few different characters who play the roles of lesbians, while also having lead roles on the medical staff within this television series. The show incorporates bisexuality by taking one of the lesbian females and putting her into a relationship with another guy on the show for a more dramatic feel to get the audience wondering what is going to happen next.

Another social topic that is addressed that can be a diverse conversation is the topic of abortion. As a tv show that takes place in the hospital, some of the episodes have pregnant women in them wether the pregnancy was intended or not. With this, the option of abortion arises. Not only does that take place in the patients on the tv show though, there are episodes where even the main characters are in this position of deciding what to do. The director and writer of the show both do a tremendous job of keeping biased opinions out of the show and making it very equal for everyone to enjoy no matter what your standpoints are on any of the above topics or statuses. Lastly, this show has a tendency to lose a lot of its main characters or doctors if you will. Weather that is from them dying in a horrible accident, or them moving to another practice for the sake of the show, they end up not being casted anymore. With that, I really appreciate how well they “replace” these characters with new characters who add equal diversity to the show, if not more.

Diversity in Mulan

I know this movie came out twenty years ago, but it is a classic, so I have to mention it. The movie “Mulan” is full of gender diversity, specifically gender roles. The Chinese culture in the movie depicts women as being inferior to men as well as having women live in the private sphere (staying within the household). There are many scenes in the movie where this is seen, so I will only talk about a few.

At the beginning of the movie Mulan is being dressed and made up to meet the Matchmaker. The Matchmaker will find her a husband if she is worthy, which she doesn’t end up being to the Matchmaker. She brought great dishonor to her family, even though it wasn’t her fault that the meeting with the Matchmaker went wrong. It was the worst possible thing that could happen because her purpose in the Chinese culture was to marry a man, have children, and take care of the home.

Later on, Mulan’s father gets drafted into the army for a second time and she speaks out against it. First, it was in public where she was told to “hold her tongue” by the man who gave the orders. The next time she speaks out is when she is having dinner with her family. She doesn’t want her father to go, especially since he is hurt. As she argues with him he states, “I know my place, it is time you learned yours.” Soon after this Mulan takes her fathers suit of armor and goes to take his place in the army. When her parents find out they run outside to try to stop her, but she is already gone. Her mother tells her father, “You have to go after her. She could be killed!” Her father responds, “If I reveal her, she will be.” Women weren’t supposed to leave home at all, much less impersonate a man and join the army.

At the end of the movie, Mulan tries telling men in the city that the Huns are there and are going to take the Emperor. They ignore her and wave her off. Even Shang doesn’t listen to her when she stops him. Mulan is a woman and the men in the movie don’t feel the need to listen to the women because they are superior.

As you can see, “Mulan” has many scenes where gender roles depict women as being inferior and living in the private sphere. Although, Mulan starts to change things at the end when the Emperor gives her his crest and Shan- Yu’s sword in gratitude. He even offers her a position on his counsel. If you can get past the gender roles, this is actually a really great movie.


Gender Diversity

               One of the most recent things that I have noticed in social media on Doctor Who is the new #13 doctor who is a girl the actor, Jodie Whittaker, and all the uproar about her. Many people we very excited to see a women doctor for the first time in the series. I feel like it’s a really good idea since the world is changing and it’s not a male dominated series as much anymore and it has attracted a female audience. A lot of the supported took to social media, and when I looked on twitter about the gender dilemma there was a lot of people supporting the decision of the female doctor. It was not just female support though, there was a lot of guys supporting this. I think this is great of the community to support her because there has not been a bad doctor in my opinion and to assume this new doctor could be bad because it is a woman is a terrible use of judgment. Jodie Whittaker seems like a great choice for an actor because she has been in many movies and with as much experience as she has gotten from her twenty plus movies she has been in I think she will do great.

            Unfortunately, though there are a surprising amount of people who disagree with this choice of having a doctor be a female. Some of the comment I find very confusing, very inconsiderate, and self-centered. Some being that if a woman can be a doctor why can’t a horse be one and one saying that they ruined the show for them and their young song. First off, these comments by these people seem very unnecessary because you do not know how this doctor is going to be maybe she turns out to be your favorite doctor. I think many people that are not supporting this decision are just over reacting from shock that they are finally changing the show a little bit. I feel that this is a great chance for the Doctor Who series to become even more diverse from its original state. I am curious though as to who the doctor new companion will be, as in will it stay as a female or will they change to companion to a guy now that the doctor will be a girl.

General Look At Diversity In Doctor Who

I recently wrote a paper on how racial diversity is used and displayed throughout the first three seasons of the New Who Series.  Looking at this was very interesting and I learned a lot.  I looked at the history of race in the UK along with the current state of race issues in the UK.  This gave me a basis of why Doctor who lacks in racial diversity at times.  Throughout this blog post I want to talk about other forms of diversity I found while watching more Doctor Who episodes for class.  I found a good amount of gender diversity while watching Doctor Who.  The Doctor is a male and the companions is typically a female, but other jobs that are present in the show do not seem to have gender specific roles.  You see males in roles that are typically seen as female jobs and you have females who are in what we would typically consider masculine roles.  This is something that I like about the show because it is different than a lot of other shows on television.  Through the recent episodes I saw which were the eleventh and twelfth doctor, there was a lot more racial diversity than what was there in the start of the new who.  You saw many different ethnic groups.  In the first few seasons of the new who it seemed that the only racial diversity was a black male here or there.  Now it seems that there are several different ethnicities present in Doctor Who.  There were some points in the show where I noticed stereotypical ethnic jobs.  There were a couple scenes where the real-life doctor would be someone of the Asian or Indian heritage which to me seemed stereotypical.  We have discussed that the goal of this show is not to display diversity, but it makes the show more enjoyable that they do.  In our society, today we expect to see diversity and when we do not see diversity it is weird.  It was completely opposite of this a long time ago.  I have enjoyed watching and interpreting the plot of Doctor Who and the diversity that exists in the show.  I have now become more aware of diversity throughout the media which is something that is important to me now.  I hope to continue to interpret other shows that I see along with other pieces of the media in the future.

Sex & Gender in Society

Last week in class, our topic centered around gender and sex in society. I found this to be one of the more interesting discussions about diversity, because of how relative it is in today’s society. We determined that sex was the biological makeup of your body determining whether you male or female parts, while gender was how you expressed yourself. Gender and sex play a major role in our political decisions, moral actions, and attitude towards identity. Only being a small fraction of the idea of identity, gender and sex also relate to customs, sexuality, and social experiences.

The idea of sex versus gender could be looking at from an understanding of nature versus nurture. Nature refers to the sex of individual while nurture refers to the gender of the individual and how they were raised by society; however, in today’s society, these ideas become more complex and sensitive. Culture and socialization group individuals into categories based on their representation of gender. “Several agents of socialization exist, including the family, peers, schools, the mass media, and religion, and all these institutions help to socialize people into their gender roles and also help them develop their gender identity” (Andersen & Hysock, 2011). Each one of these aspects affects an individual’s daily life; therefore, affecting their perception of themselves and others.

The main standard in society when determining someone’s gender is based off the mass media. The media portrays strict beauty guidelines and behaviors that must be followed in order to fit into a certain gender category: male, female, male that acts like a female, and a female that acts like a male. Language and the way we address people becomes extremely important and purposeful. Allowing people to be comfortable with their personal self expression, allows the rest of society to form higher priorities of respect.

Aside from my views on gender and respect for self expression, after the class discussion last week, I have realized how prominent this issue is in our society. Gender and sex are constantly portrayed in the news, political thoughts, and personal moral decisions made by individuals everyday. Being a cisgender female in society, I have not had to overcome difficulties with my gender expression. I do however, hope to gain a greater knowledge of other individuals expressions. Sex and gender is a topic that brings multiple opinions and actions towards others. With its ability to be complex and sensitive, this is a topic I hope society can find more compassion and respect towards.

Andersen, M., & Hysock, D. (2011). Thinking about women: Sociological perspectives on sex and gender (9th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.


Diversity in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 it has made strides in representing diversity on television.  Strides that can’t be said for many other television shows.  We open with episode one, “Rose” set in England, 2005, on a rare scene for television.  Rose is a working class woman who really is working class, not a dramatized version of this.  She lives in a small apartment with her single mother and wakes early every day to clock-in at her job in a department store.  She’s casual, dressing in clothes that certainly aren’t the height of fashion for the time, she isn’t dolled up in makeup only a professional could do, and what’s more; she isn’t the tiny waisted, long-legged pretty girl we’re used to seeing on TV.  Rose sets the pace for the growing diversity we’re about to be treated to in “Doctor Who”.

Not long after we get Captain Jack Harkness, the first openly pansexual in the history of “Doctor Who” who equally and openly shows attraction to men, women, aliens, and the non-gender conforming.  This was a huge leap for sexual and romantic diversity in “Doctor Who”, and one of the very first times queer people could see themselves in a character on television that wasn’t harmful.  

Next comes Martha, the first black companion on “Doctor Who”.  She’s intelligent and able to keep up with the Doctor’s rambling better, perhaps, than most other companions.  For people of colour, Martha is a big deal.  She’s a strong, woman of colour, in a leading role on one of the most popular television shows of all time.  With Martha, the television series continues to push forward for more diversity in their cast.

The next three companions, Donna, Amy, and Clara continue to portray strong female leads with diverse histories and personalities.  Along the way we meet a couple more sexually diverse characters, and characters from all different walks of life.  

Now we come to the most recent companion, Bill, who is both a woman of colour and openly gay.  She is one of the very first leading characters like this on television, a huge influence for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We finally have a leading character that many minorities can view themselves in in a positive way.

Soon we’ll be treated with something that came unexpected: a female Doctor.  Jodie Whittaker will soon take on the role of the Doctor and make history as the first female Doctor.  Many people are very excited about this.  We get a leading female, and also confirmation that Gallifreyans, or at least the Doctor, experience gender fluidity, which could be a nod toward the transgender community.

But when it comes to diversity, is it enough?  Though Doctor Who has done a great job positively representing different groups of people, we still are left itching for more.  Several groups who wish to see any kind of representation on television have been left out.  Doctor Who has come a long way, but I believe it can, and should, go much farther.  I hope that as the episodes continue to air we will continue to see a rise in representation in the cast.