One of the major aspects of Grey’s Anatomy is that it features a female lead who is independent and intelligent. This in itself is a move towards equality in television. In episode 4 “No Man’s Land”, gender issues over capability and appearance come starkly into focus.
There has long been a divide between men and women on their expectations of what should or shouldn’t be done. The “double standard” is continually debated on and talked about. Some people don’t think that it’s real or anything to be concerned with. The writers of Grey’s Anatomy took a very definitive stance on this issue in episode 4. One of the interns, Izzie, is attending a middle-aged man who needs a biopsy for his prostate cancer. The man refuses for her to be near him during his surgery or even to attend to him because he has seen her photos in a modeling campaign. It turns out that he is attracted to her and didn’t want Izzie to see his prostate surgery. This reasoning is reasonable in some ways, especially since it is the patient’s choice. However, the other interns treating Izzie differently due to her photos is presented in a different way.
Alex, a male intern, posts Izzie’s pictures all around the locker room and calls her “Dr. Model”. Izzie, however, retaliates by saying that due to those pictures she was able to graduate debt free. There is certainly the implication, also, that if one of the male interns were to have a similar set of photos or something sexual in nature published about him, it would have been applauded. For Izzie however, being both attractive and a surgical intern is seen as an impossibility.
Grey’s Anatomy has taken on a strong position on this issue. They make it out that Izzie should be celebrated both for her medical achievements and for being able to do what she had to in order to graduate without debt. It is clear from the show that femininity can be seen as a sexual thing without being demeaning to women. Gender should have no role in determining capability or in deciding which options should be open to different people.