Hi guys 🙂
I’m doing this course about Sitcoms at Uni and have to do an assignment about a topic I can choose, so I thought : Hey I can write something about How I met your mother, I know it by heart anyway. And this is not an exaggeration I quote it all the time and always assume everyone knows what I’m talking about. Which most of the time people don’t because they have a life and have other things to remember than what Lily said that one time in season 4 episode 11, 12:38 min. So while thinking about what aspect I could write about I realized one thing, I had never noticed before: Himym sometimes is super problematic. I only realized that now because when I started watching it I was 15 maybe and not that socially aware and since then I got so used to everything in the series that I just accepted it without really thinking about it. So here are 5 aspects that are especially problematic.
Bodyshaming is a huge problem in the media as we all know and looking at Himym, they do it as well. The woman they all date are always super, super skinny and especially Barney mentions all the time how he would never have Sex with a “fat“woman. Bigger girls appear for the sole reason to be made fun of. Let’s take Patrice for example.She just wants to be Robin’s friend, but is treated as if she’s not good enough. She’s actually a super sweet, friendly character, but is constantly portraied as annoying, too loud, too chatty and to clingy. Some of these character traits are often associated with chubbier women.
- Everyone is white
As you might know the series takes place in New York City. THE New York City. In the USA. Where people of all origins and skintones live. At least in reality. Not in Himym though. While in reality around 30% of NYC inhabitants is white, 25% black and 23% hispanic, you don’t see any of this diversity in the series. While there are some hispanic characters ( mostly women, who are sexualized though) they don’t have any leading roles. Black people almost don’t appear at all, except for Barney’s brother, but you get the feeling that’s only for the sake of a good joke. Also Poc are often stereotyped, for example Asians who have unpronounceable names and only work in sushi shops. We have the 2000s there should be more diversity.
Yeah there are actually homosexuals, which is good and I like the way how normal it’s treated that Barney’s brother James gets married to a man and they have a happy family and same for Cindy, “The mother’s“ flatmate. Still there is some pretty bad stereotyping going on. Most of the time the gay men are super feminine and super exaggerated. They fit the cliche: Super high, annoying laughter, fashion victim, only hang around in gay bars and drink pink cocktails. Also they hit on the straight maine characters all the time. Like they would do that if they clearly see, they have a girlfriend. I just wish there were more gay men who were portrayed normal and not just there to be laughed at. Lesbians are almost always the really masculine, short haired, don’t care much about hygiene types, for example Robin’s doppelganger or when Barney dresses up as a lesbian. On the other hand there are sexualized, especially by Marshall who gets super turned on by two women getting intimate. Any other sexualities aren’t a thing at all.
- Barney Fuckboy Stinson
First of all I love Neil Patrick Harris and the way he plays Barney. He’s a genius comedian. Barney should be more like NPH, so he wouldn’t be as problematic. But lets face it: he isn’t at all. It’s mostly the way he treats women. They’re not humans to him, more like objects he can have fun with and then throw away. He lies and tricks women into sleeping with him and throughout the season you really see him treat them in the most respectless ways. He even wrote a book about his tricks, the playbook. And of course he doesn’t take no for an answer. In one episode he says “Barney Stinson always gets the yes.“ Ever heard about No means No ? Obviously not. But hey it’s all cool, it’s all fun and games, because how great is it to have slept with so many women ? You’re the hero. At least if you’re a dude. Don’t get me wrong I don’t judge anyone for having a lot of sexpartners, if you treat them with respect. If you treat them like something you use for your own benefit and then throw away, yes, then you definitely deserve to be judged.
Sooo here we go probably the biggest point, but I’ll try to keep it short. Well first of all apparently women are super stupid. I’m talking about Barney’s sexpartners, who just believe every freaking unbelievable story he tells them. No woman is that naive and I’m also pretty sure most woman just hang around in bars and wait for the next guy who offers them to have sex with him. Then there’s Lily. Most of the time the way she’s portrayed is fine, she’s cool and follows her career despite having children. There’s one episode though, when she’s pregnant, she becomes totally stupid and can’t get anything right. Well it’s new to me that pregnant women lose their brain. Then we have Robin. Robin is the “cool“, career woman, who doesn’t show feelings and likes stuff lots of men like. Apparently because of that she’s the ultimate woman. For not being that feminine. It’s absolutely fine to be like that, but they shouldn’t have portrayed it as if a woman is better if she’s less of a „typical female“, because by praising her they’re putting femininity down in the progress.
I still love Himym and I will still quote it and watch it and laugh about it. It’s super funny and there are lots of heartwarming moments, but I will criticise it and keep in mind that it isn’t perfect and has problematic aspects. Most programs do, that doesn’t mean you have to stop watching it, but remember to reflect it critically.
Have a lovely rest of the day xx