Grey Area to Bridge the Gap

A popular ABC primetime show Grey’s Anatomy never ceases to amaze viewers on what the patients and staffers might do next. If you are an avid fan but have not watched Season 11 or the episode from Feburary 19th you may not want to continue reading, blog post contains spoilers.
The Feburary 19th episode of Grey’s introduced a new character Kurt Warren, Dr. Ben Warrens brother.  Kurt and Ben were shown in the beginning of the show spreading their deceased fathers ashes and when trying to return home Kurt collapsed and fell down a rocky hill.  Once Kurt was admitted into the hospital the doctors found out that his lab results showed very high levels of hormones and drugs that should have not been there.   Kurt later told sister-in-law Miranda Bailey that he was trying to be come a she.

On a gossip tv website TVLine the secret is revealed that Kurt’s storyline and transition is going to become a primary theme in this season of Grey’s Anatomy.  Why is it so important that Kurt becomes a story line rather than a family member who shows up for an episode or two?  Many times the writers of Grey’s introduce new cases, some family members, to relate to things going on in the world.  However, Kurt is here to stay because more of the American population is coming out as transgendered and our society needs to be aware of what that really means and how to need to adapt.   In Chapter two of Gendered Lives queer theory is moving beyond the two binary labels.  This theme in Grey’s Anatomy is helping to close gap between the “black and white” binary labels.

More controversy will be on the rise from this because Kurt was using illegal drugs to become a woman?  Now the hospital is going to help him transition?  According to the TVLine article Kurt will gain a love interest.  Do you think there should/ will be more characters and shows like this on tv?

9 thoughts on “Grey Area to Bridge the Gap

  1. Very interesting post! You asked why Kurt had to become a story line and not just another character, and I think that’s a great question. I think that all the attention transgender individuals have been receiving may be the reason Kurt has a spotlight on Grey’s Anatomy. I have seen articles here and there about transgender men and women over the years, but I feel like recently it is always the topic of discussion. Big-name celebrities have been making these changes and making their process known to the public, which is another reason I think the transgender community has been receiving so much attention.

    I agree with you that it seems a little odd that they have to make Kurt the story line. It’s almost as if they are trying to make being transgendered a big deal or out of the ordinary. The media has been doing that a lot lately and it’s only segregating and labeling these individuals who don’t want to be labeled as transgender anymore. There’s a show called ‘Becoming Us’ and it shows the lives of two families who both have a parent who is transgender. This article explains it a little more – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/becoming-us-tv-review-800614.
    To me, this is a little excessive. Yes we should all be educated on all the different identities, however, a whole reality TV show on it seems a little extreme. Like I was explaining before, shows like this are teaching those who watch that transgender people are different than non-transgender people. This isn’t something we want to teach our society. If we continue to put the spotlight on transgender individuals, we may never learn to look past that and look at them as the man or woman they want to be identified as.

  2. Brittany,
    I recently started watching the Grey’s Anatomy series on Netflix. I am only on season 4 so I figured it wasn’t too big of a deal if I read your post even though it had spoilers and I’m glad I did! I feel like the writer’s are always pulling in modern social issues and always make an episode more intense by adding the extra layer of emotional baggage. However I think that the transition story line of this individual is going to be great. I think it will give insight to a large audience about not only the process but how it affects the individual and those around them. I think that the series in general is a perfect example of how gender is communicated through the media. For example in previous episodes Dr. Sloan who gets around a lot is called McSteamy and idolized as this manly man. Dr. Stevens is a highly emotional character and gets too attached to her patients and perpetuates an very motherly and womanly stereotype of gender roles. Anyway, I think that this is going to be a great storyline and I can’t wait to catch up and see it!
    Betty

  3. I too watch Grey’s Anatomy, and just when you think they have covered everything, they bring in something new. Shonda Rimes is a great writer and her shows touch on a lot of issues. This new story line is very interesting. I saw the disruption of a close family relationship between Ben and Kurt. The interesting part was that Ben wasn’t upset over the change, it was he felt like he was lied to for the greater part of his life. I know it is not about Ben, but clearly family issues will arrive in this story line. Kurt’s fear of his brother’s reaction put him in harms way. It will be up to Miranda to help heal the rift between the two of them.
    This fits into the gender roles we learned in class. women are more open to communication about feelings. Men are typically thought to not communicate through talking and especially about feelings in any relationship. This story line will definitely be a trial for Bailey. I think this also part of the reason that this will be a recurring theme on Grey’s Anatomy. Bailey’s story often gets buried under everybody else’s stories. Also, this is something new and more and more shows are showing their support for the transgender community. Glee also introduced a similar story line.

  4. I too am a huge fan of Grey’s anatomy, the show has always showed a wide variety of characters within the staff and the patients. I have recently noticed an interest the media is taking in actually trying to make a change in the way people view transgendered people. The popular TV show Glee is also incorporating their character ‘Coach Beistie’ transformation from a woman to a man. The fact that Grey’s anatomy is incorporating a transgendered character will hopefully really change society’s views of what is normal and abnormal. This topic relates to queer theory. Queer theory is a critique on conventional ideas of what gender and what your culture should or shouldn’t be, especially when it relates to an individuals sexuality. Being in this class has changed my views on what gender is. A persons gender can be much more than stuck inside binary boundaries. The medias acknowledgment of transgendered individuals are definitely going to change conventional ideas that are stuck in societies minds.

  5. Grey’s Anatomy has always been one of my favorite shows and it is mainly for this reason. They always have real world problems in each episode. The show isn’t afraid to talk about touchy issues and do a great job of showing their views and support. I think adding a transgendered character to the show is a wonderful idea. I’ve started to notice in many shows, not just Grey’s Anatomy, that writers are adding in more gay, lesbian and transgendered characters because it is starting to become a norm in society. By television shows adding these types of characters they are showing their support and making it easier for people to be comfortable in their own skin.

  6. Brittany,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog post. Although I have seen a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy here and there, I do not know the majority of what happens throughout the different seasons. To start, I love how you ended your post with those questions because, as I’m presuming you meant for, they got me thinking. I do believe that television and media with start to portray this idea of transgender since it is becoming more and more relevant in today’s culture. I believe that there is a great need for these individuals to be represented in our society, such as in the media, because these individuals do exist. From the queer theory like you mentioned, we have learned that the premise is built off of more than just the binaries. Especially in a culture like ours in America today, the media has a great impact on our values, ideals, topics of relevance and so on. So to not acknowledge a gender, whether it be female, male, transgendered, would make it seem as if we do not value all persons’ and their own feelings, as well as the decision we have to be or become what we feel we truly are. I remember one time in class Dr. Naomi told us how a friend or someone said something about someone or something being “queer” and she thought it was really cool and perceived this notion in a good light; however, the comment wasn’t meant in the way it is actually defined. If more people could seeing the gender queer in that same good light, I feel as if our society will be making even more progress in breaking from gender norms and accepting others for who they are.
    Great job!

    Kelsea

  7. I really love the connection you made with Grey’s Anatomy to what is going on in todays society, and it’s awesome seeing the little steps our society is taking to opening the minds of others. Although I do not watch Grey’s Anatomy, I do however watch Modern Family and that has a lot of the same characteristics. Although each family, in both shows, is not what we perceive to be the “cookie-cutter American family”, it does display the transformation of families in today’s ever-changing society. As the name of the show state, “Modern Family”, this IS what is becoming modern in the eyes of the world today. These shows are helping us to open up our eyes and ideas just a little more and taking a step in making a not so typical lifestyle “normal”.

  8. Grey’s Anatomy is also one of my favorite shows because of it does not fear approaching these subjects that may seem “touchy” to society. I remember in an earlier season Dr. Alex Korev was working with a young girl that was extremely confused because she felt as if she was supposed to be a boy. She often wore “boy” clothes and had a “boy” attitude. She expressed these concerns with her parents but they did not wish to “go along” with their daughters decision, thus trapping her and upsetting her. Dr. Korev helped the young girl chop her long hair off against her parents will and she gradually gained her confidence. This particular episode continues this notion of moving outside of the binary labels as you said and I am not at all surprised that the show has gone in this direction. Their characters are of different races, ethnicity and religion and somehow embrace them all in a way that makes us better understand each other as a society. Because Grey’s Anatomy has become so successful over the years I can see this as a door opened for multiple other TV shows, movies and media to acknowledge this subject of transgendered individuals.

  9. I absolutely love Grey’s Anatomy and I actually like that they are adding this new character. Since I am an avid watcher and I have seen every episode, its not a surprise to me that this show is introducing this new character mostly because Grey’s is know for having weird characters and story lines. I definitely think the writers did this on purpose since being transgendered is becoming something that is talked about a lot more. However, I’m not saying that every show should have that specific story line only because it still does make people uncomfortable. There will probably be a lot of talk about this character and the show may lose a lot of followers because of it, however, I’m sure the writers knew this and they are prepared to handle the consequences.

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