by Stacy Haerr
I think this speaks to the relationship between the characters and the fans of the show. Because the show has been on for ten seasons, most fans (myself included) feel like they personally know the characters. They are invested in their well-being (which never bodes well, since the show has a history of killing off characters and putting them through hell if they survive), and they want to see the characters succeed. Through the view of the camera, fans get a peek into the lives of how surgeons live their lives (or at least how they’re portrayed on broadcast television). Fans can pretend that they could grow up to be surgeons one day or that they could’ve been surgeons in another life.
While Bailey has her share of fans, she also has her share of haters. As a character, Miranda Bailey is a strong, short, black woman who was nicknamed “The Nazi” in early seasons. She was a fantastic role model for women everywhere, black women in particular, because she didn’t take any grief from anyone and she worked her butt off to earn everything she had. However, in more recent seasons, she’s become a little softer than she used to be.
Fans really enjoyed having Bailey as a strong woman role model, and now that she has become softer, she is slowly losing fans. Bailey’s character was so different than the way most women are portrayed on television; she was rarely objectified, she was more powerful than most of the men, and she didn’t need a man in her life to be happy (unless you count her young son, Tuck). However, now she is losing that strength many fans loved, and some fans are clearly not happy about it.
Then Nakia brings race into the discussion. Nakia is a black woman who presumably looks up to Bailey. From the tone of her tweet, she dislikes the way Tyler Perry portrays black women, and she doesn’t want Bailey to end up just like one of those women. She doesn’t want Bailey to just be a stereotypical black woman, because she broke so many stereotypes in the early seasons. And then Nakia adds in that there will be some light-skinned savior, since pop culture usually features a white person in the hero role while a black person is usually the damsel in distress. It is clear that Nakia enjoys watching non-stereotypical characters on Grey’s Anatomy, but she is afraid that Bailey is falling into the realm of the normal, stereotypical show.