I read an interview with Shonda Rhimes (the creator) and Ellen Pompeo (the lead actress) about the show “Grey’s Anatomy” and the answer to one question in particular stood out to me. You don’t need to know anything about the show other than Meredith is the main character and her husband Derek died at the end of the last season.
5:37 PM: How will Meredith change now that she’s not partially defined by her relationship with Derek? “Meredith Grey has never been defined by her relationship with a man,” Rhimes says. Pompeo agrees, saying she doesn’t think any Shondaland woman has been defined by a man.
I think they were trying to be feminist there, but instead they come off sounding very isolationist and lonely.
I am a feminist and I am very much defined not just by my relationships with men, but by my relationships with women too. And that’s because I’m human.
It is my relationship with my dad that defines me as a daughter, with my brother that defines me as a sister, with Brett that defines me as a wife, and with Shimei that defines me as a mom. My relationships with women define me as a daughter to my mom, a sister to my sister, a mom to Iddo and Shimri, and a friend to more than I can count. My relationships define me as a teacher, student, leader, and follower. And I imagine there are some relationships that define me as an enemy and nemesis too.
To say that we are not defined by our relationships is to say that those relationships have no meaning in our lives. But they are one of the few things that truly matter in this life. We are all defined by our relationships, and particularly those of our family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.