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Why GH’s Weeping Wilting Willow Tait Makes Us Want To Scream

What year is Willow really living in?

Willow Tait General Hospital

Once upon a time, General Hospital presented us with a sweet school teacher named Willow Tait, with her own brand of determined spunk, with whom we laughed and cried as she enjoyed a refreshing romance with a charming policeman named Harrison Chase. Sadly, that is not the Willow we see today as she grows more insipid and utterly ridiculous with every passing episode.

What Is Even Wrong With Willow Tait?

When you take a character who you’ve been trying to portray as a heroine for years and give her cancer while she is pregnant with a much-wanted baby, it’s supposed to tug at our heartstrings. After all, can you think of a more soapy story than this? It has every element of being something real and compelling, except the heart of the story is a vapid young woman who just can’t elicit our sympathies for so very many reasons.

Soap Hub has already gone over how Willow’s (Katelyn MacMullen) decision to put her embryo above her own health while forgetting about the child she already has is a tone-deaf writing choice during a year in which women are being denied cancer treatment while pregnant due to strict state abortion laws. Willow was shocked when her six-month-long first trimester ended, and she learned her cancer was at stage 4 because somehow she thought cancer would wait for her and do its thing on her timeline, but that’s not how cancer works.

Willow Tait Is Highly Offensive

Seeing that Willow is a new nurse fresh out of nursing classes, one would think that she knows exactly how cancer works. However, not only does she seem to be unfamiliar with what cancer sets out to do, she also thinks it’s a dirty word. It was bad enough when Willow kept the news about her cancer from the father of her child so he wouldn’t try to convince her to put her own life ahead of the fetus she was carrying.

Now, she doesn’t want anyone else to know she has cancer because — oh no! — they may look at her funny. Are we going to see Willow loudly whispering the word “cancer” while averting her eyes and looking around corners next, as if she lives in 1912? Even telling people she has cancer so she could find a bone marrow match and actually live to see her children grow up is not reason enough for Willow to want to avoid being stared at.

It was rage-inducing as we watched Willow pass out after a round of chemo and refuse to have Nina Reeves (Cynthia Watros) and Carly Spencer (Laura Wright) get her real medical help because OMG!, what would happen if they learned she has…[whispers] cancer? Would Willow melt if anyone but Michael Corinthos (Chad Duell) and three medical professionals knew the truth?

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In Willow’s mind, it couldn’t have been the cancer that caused her fainting spell. It had to be all that rage she directed at Nina because chemo, pregnancy, and cancer would never do that. Only anger at a woman who dying Willow recently told to drop dead could cause her to lose consciousness. Please, don’t let Willow Tait ever be our nurse, or we may be doomed.

What Willow needs to learn, aside from sympathy and empathy, is that neither abortion nor cancer is a dirty word. They are things that women have to deal with every day across the world in any number of circumstances. They don’t walk around in shame knowing abortion can be an option and they don’t walk around in shame thinking people will snicker behind their backs because they are fighting cancer.

Strong women face these things head-on, but women like Willow? They cower in a corner, ignoring medical advice, thinking they know best, and then act shocked when they are told that cancer didn’t wait. And that’s why GH’s Willow Tait makes us want to scream.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. For an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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