Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Anthropology and Sociology

First Advisor

Amy Chasteen Miller

Advisor Department

Anthropology and Sociology


This study investigates the fan consumption of the television medical drama Grey's Anatomy, which is commonly associated with a predominately female fanbase. Utilizing both a male and female focus group with fans of the show, participants took a survey (gathering demographics and their Bem Sex-Role Inventory score) and viewed two episodes of the show, both followed by a discussion of the episode and the show in general. Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed in full for analysis, along with the survey data and observational notes taken during the viewing. Coding of the data revealed that males and females held similar gender stereotypes and expectations of what male and female viewers would like about the show. However, during the viewing, male and female viewers reacted similarly to most aspects of the show. In general, respondents described the specific episodes as easy for all people, regardless of gender, to relate to. However, observations revealed that males reacted more positively during sex scenes, and females reacted more uncomfortably to the bloody and violent scenes. Some of these reactions, albeit in accordance to their dichotomous gender script, were counter to the way they described themselves on the BSRI, e.g., a masculine female acting “like a girl” during some of the violent content. In addition, overall, the masculine and androgynous individuals (the majority of the sample) responded more frequently to questions and reacted more dramatically to the content of the show itself.