Yang's Anatomy

The question of the day: are you a Meredith Grey or a Cristina Yang? 

Cristina Yang

  • All about her career 
  • Loses herself in her relationship with Preston Burke before he leaves her at the altar, vows nothing like that will ever happen to her again
  • Not focused on having a family, in fact, her marriage to Owen ends because she was vehemently opposed to having kids
  • Kick-ass cardiothoracic surgeon 

Meredith Grey

  • All about her career and her family 
  • Falls in love with Derek Shepherd as an intern, ends up marrying him and creating the familial unit she never had 
  • Concerned with being a good mother 
  • Concerned with achieving something "great" like her mother, Ellis Grey, in her career. 
  • Impressive general surgeon 

Cristina Yang and Meredith Grey represent the choices every woman has to make. Cristina Yang was from the very first episode always focused on her career and becoming the best at whatever level she was at. The best thing about Cristina as a character was that she never apologized for who she was and going after what she wanted. She was constantly challenging herself to learn more, do more, and be better. She always chose herself and cardiothoracic surgery, no matter what.   

Meredith however is a different story. She is the protagonist of Grey's Anatomy and takes a bit of a different path than Cristina.  From the very first episode, Meredith was involved with a man- Derek Shepherd. He was chief of neurosurgery at Seattle Grace and totally dreamy (cue the Mc. Dreamy squeals). Meredith struggles with whether or not to be with him and how to balance her career desires with her desire to create the family she never had growing up as a child. To make a long story short, Meredith and Derek end up together- married, in love, with kids. Meredith, unlike Cristina however, struggles with how to balance her career aspirations and her familial duties. This struggle creates a divide between Meredith and Cristina, because Meredith knows she is not achieving all that she can and has a hard time watching Cristina get everything she always wanted for herself. 

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Meredith and Cristina are best friends, two women who succeed in a traditionally male dominated field, but walk varied paths to and define that success differently. Some might say that Cristina was more successful than Meredith because she was relentless in her pursuit of being the best and did not get distracted.  But, to say that is unfair to Meredith and all women like her who want to have their cake and eat it too. Granted, Meredith's career is a bit lackluster as of late and her marriage is floundering as well. Are you a Meredith Grey or a Cristina Yang? Are you all about your career and self or do you want a flourishing career and healthy, happy, home? The better question, is why do women have to choose between the two? And why are we judged based upon what we decide? Is there space for women to be both Meredith and Cristina at once or at different points in their lives? How should women, who choose to, balance their career aspirations and obligations to those they love? How does a woman avoid becoming consumed by the man she loves? Is it healthy for a woman to throw her all into her career and have no other outlets or things she cares about?

If I had to make the case for which character is better, as a 20 year old, college student, I have to say Cristina. Her strength, unwavering pursuit of her goals, and refusal to let the men in her life and even Meredith be a distraction is inspiring. But, I've often wondered if she got lonely at night because I mean, you can't cuddle with your career when it's cold outside. As scary as it is for me to say out loud (in typeface HAHA), because I fancy myself Yang 2.0, I think I might aspire to be Meredith if I ever graduate from Cornell and meet a tall, educated, self identified feminist Black man (SEND HIM LORD!). Is there something wrong with that? Why does wanting to have my cake and eat it too make me feel vulnerable and like I might not succeed in all of the professional ways I have always wanted to? 

Meredith and Cristina, two amazingly rich characters who to me, exemplify the woman I hope to be- now and in the future. If feminism is all about choice, then I have decided that I don't have to choose. I want Cristina in my 20s and Meredith (with a bit less drama) in my 30s. I've decided I can have my cake and eat it too. 

Gabrielle HickmonComment