‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Should Stop Telling Women To Be Alone

April and Jackson, back when they were happy (Pinterest.com).

April and Jackson, back when they were happy (Pinterest.com).

What if a fish wants a bicycle? Or a woman a man? The writers behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Be Single” dance with that latter question and answer it somewhat awkwardly.

The real challenge here is that Meg gets horny after she’s pregnant, and she still has no one to scratch that itch. Enter Ken, the noticeably younger, hottie receptionist she meets at her sister’s office holiday party. Meg is thrilled to have a one-night stand, and tries to blow off the very eager Ken afterward, although he continues pursuing her for reasons she can’t understand. They begin dating, but Ken still doesn’t know she’s pregnant—until he spots a visibly pregnant Meg shopping for baby gear one day.

Ken’s response is about as ideal and supportive as the writers might have dreamed up. He’s not mad at Meg for neglecting to tell him about the pregnancy or the circumstances surrounding it. For him, this is a moment to be excited about the baby they’ll have together. Even though they’ve only been dating for a few months, he steps up and offers to be there for the long-haul.

When Meg jokes about him raising the baby, Ken is thrilled and tells her he’d love to quit his day job to stay home and raise this baby. In fact, when he was eight, he dressed up as a stay-at-home dad for Halloween. Faced with Ken’s offer of complete and unconditional support, Meg shuts him down. In her mind, it’s bizarre, ridiculous, or offensive that Ken would volunteer to father her baby.

Ken is then out of the picture for the duration of the pregnancy. He would likely have stayed that way, too, if Meg’s sister hadn’t called Ken when Meg went into labor. It’s only in the calm aftermath that Meg and Ken can finally voice their love for each other. While we don’t know if they plan to wed, we suspect they’ll try to make their relationship work, and that’s good news for both Meg and her baby.

The Message: Women Must Be Alone To Be Strong

Like April and Meg, too many women have come to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, and further, that needing anyone—whether for love,  or for help raising the children you’ve created—is a sign of failure.

This notion of modern womanhood and what it should look like—call it The Having It All Gospel—has clear downsides. Women feel like we must not only have it all (ideally at the same time), but we must also do everything ourselves. That to be a truly successful, a woman must not only be a rock star at work—say, an attending doctor at a major urban hospital—but she must also be ready to independently rock raising the next generation.

Some things are best done alone, like writing, and some things lend themselves to being team sports. I would put parenting in that latter category, and there’s no shame in that. If there’s a loving man who’s ready, willing, and able to contribute to a child’s life, why not encourage him, rather than pushing him away? Fathers have a lot to add to their children’s lives, and welcoming those emotional and spiritual contributions diminishes no one. Maybe it’s time we started telling women that sometimes a fish may want a bicycle, and that’s a good thing.

This article appeared in The Federalist.

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