Top 10 Feminist Moments on Grey’s Anatomy



Top 10 Feminist Moments on Grey's Anatomy

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Sarah Knight
Beautiful? How about brilliant! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Feminist Moments on Grey's Anatomy.
Beautiful? How about brilliant! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Feminist Moments on Grey’s Anatomy.

For this list, we’re looking at the most empowering scenes for “Grey’s Anatomy’s” female characters. Since there are well over 300 episodes, we’re only choosing one moment per episode.

#10: Callie Stands Up for Who She Is

Kicking off our list is this moment from season 6 when Callie stood up to her father, when he tried to condemn her sexuality. He came to the hospital hoping to “fix” her, but instead of folding under the pressure, she fought back, stating that her sexuality and religious beliefs didn’t conflict. Though Callie and her father continued to struggle with the topic, he eventually came to terms with it. This powerful moment proved that it’s okay to be proud of who you are, especially when it comes to being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

#9: Meredith Declares Her Independence
“With or Without You”

Meredith and Derek have been through a lot together: lies, sabotage, adultery, and more tragedies than they deserve. At some points, their relationship was tested to its absolute limits. After a particularly bad fight in season 11, Meredith realizes that although she still loves Derek, she COULD live without him if she had to. While he was away, she’d thrived as a surgeon, and learned to live without him being there. This moment is especially important because it shows that having independence in a relationship is not synonymous with breaking up.

#8: Cristina Sticks to Her Decision Not to Have Kids
“Unaccompanied Minor”

Cristina has always been laser focused on her career as a surgeon, prioritizing it over all else. When she married fellow surgeon Owen Hunt, they hadn’t yet discussed the topic of children. So when Cristina mentioned that she had no interest in having children one day, it caused some issues. Despite the arguments that their differences created, she stood by her conviction without wavering. Though this played a role in their eventual break up, it was essential to see Cristina not compromise herself in their relationship, standing firm in her decision.

#7: Izzie Fights Back
“No Man’s Land”

Prior to her surgical internship at the Seattle Grace Hospital, Izzie Stevens worked as a lingerie and underwear model in order to pay off her student loans from med school. When her coworker Alex Karev found out, he plastered pictures of her throughout the hospital as a prank. Her response, needless to say, was incredible. She reclaimed her body by showing that she had no shame in it, effectively taking all the power away from the men harassing her. This Grey’s Anatomy scene is one that will go down in history as an iconic feminist moment.

#6: Meredith Calls Out Derek’s Sexism
“Damage Case”

We already mentioned that Meredith and Derek have had a lot of issues in their relationship, and here’s an example of one from early on. After they break up the first time, Derek is furious to learn that Meredith has slept with a string of other men. Derek’s blatant sexism and slut shaming rightfully upsets Meredith, especially since HE’S the one who left HER! She rightfully calls him out, telling him that he doesn’t get to judge her for how she decided to cope. At least it seems to sink in!

#5: Cristina Tells Meredith She’s the Sun
“Fear (of the Unknown)”

Meredith and Cristina are each other’s person. So, when Cristina made her exit on the Season 10 finale, it was a tearful goodbye filled with promises, love, and of course “dancing it out”. As Cristina turns to leave, she has one last message: [“He’s not the Sun. You are.”] This means first and foremost that Cristina wants Meredith to put herself first, something she’s always struggled to do. And that particularly applies to her marriage. However, it’s also a subtle callback to Meredith’s mother calling her ordinary. By calling Meredith extraordinary, Cristina is essentially telling Meredith she’s proud of her. They may not be sisters by blood, but that doesn’t lessen the bonds these two share.

#4: Bailey Becomes First Female Chief of Surgery
“Walking Tall”

The moment Miranda Bailey became the first female Chief of Surgery at the hospital was iconic to say the least. Since the beginning of the show, Bailey was a force to be reckoned with. Her interns feared her, her coworkers respected her, and her boss, Richard Webber, knew that she would become chief one day. Throughout the 11 seasons leading up to the promotion, Bailey was a lionhearted leader, teaching her interns lessons while growing herself as well. While there are countless other successful female doctors on this show, many of which are department heads, the moment Bailey became Chief was a monumental victory.

#3: Meredith Deserves Equal Pay
“I Choose You”

The fight for equal pay is not a recent thing. Women have been paid unfair wages for … well, forever. When Meredith learns that she’s making a lot less than other department heads, she’s hesitant at first to renegotiate her contract. But finally, she steels herself, and tells Bailey that she deserves more. Turns out that Bailey was just waiting for her to speak up. She actually agrees with Meredith 100%: Meredith worked hard to get where she’s at, she earned her job, and she shouldn’t settle for any less.

#2: Addressing Sexual Harassment
“Bad Reputation”

Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace isn’t a recent thing either. Grey’s Anatomy weighed in on this conversation with the Harper Avery plotline. When multiple women came forward with stories of Avery’s sexual harassment, his ex-daughter-in-law Catherine Fox planned to take the fall for it. But Jackson wasn’t about to let that happen. He and Meredith helped turn the Harper Avery Foundation into the Catherine Fox Foundation, taking the power away from the abuser and putting it into the hands of a capable woman. Even though workplace sexual harassment continues, it was an uplifting and inspiring contribution to the narrative.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Callie Calls Out Double Standards

The Right Way to Compliment Cristina

Bailey is Still a Badass While Pregnant

Meredith Stands Up to Her Mother

Maggie Teaches Jo to “Bring the Thunder”

#1: Amelia Is Legendary
“The Distance”

We’ve all stood in someone else’s shadow. For much too long, Amelia stood in the shadow of her brother Derek. But in “The Distance”, she faces off against a nasty brain tumor that seems impossible to remove, especially without Derek’s help. She’s always been the other Dr. Shepherd, never held in quite the same esteem. However, when she successfully removes the tumor, she proves to everyone, including herself, that she can stand on her own. It’s a moment of pride, power, and independence that teaches Amelia not to doubt herself, and speaks volumes about what women can accomplish.