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Revenge of the Feminerd: Big Bang Theory Theories

Cast of the Big Bang Theory: four men and one woman. The woman is facing the camera and the men are all facing the woman, who is in the center of the group

I wanted to love The Big Bang Theory, I really did. The concept is hugely appealing to someone like me: a sitcom based on the lives of four seriously geeky scientists (Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj), featuring frequent cameos by nerd icons like Wil Wheaton. It's kind of like Friends, except instead of hanging out at Central Perk they play Klingon Boggle and Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock (which I am both proud and slightly embarrassed to own a t-shirt of).

To be fair, the show has some really funny moments—Christine Baranski as Leonard's mother is priceless—but having watched four seasons, I think its representations of women and people of color leave something to be desired.

The only main female character in the first three seasons is Penny, the woman who lives across the hall from Leonard and Sheldon and whom Leonard has a huge crush on. Penny's a classic example of the stereotype that pretty women don't usually have intelligence to match their looks.

Penny is a waitress who wants to be an actress, but doesn't have the talent to succeed. She likes horoscopes and dating tough, dumb guys, and has trouble following the Leonard and Sheldon's conversations. Through the series she's been repeatedly objectified. At one point, the guys design remote control cars mounted with webcams, which Howard drives between Penny's legs to look up her skirt. She does occasionally stand up to their antics, but she keeps hanging out with them.

Penny also gets territorial with other girls, at one point accusing a rival actress who's just landed a CSI guest spot of being a "dead whore on TV—live one in real life." Violence against sex workers is often used as a punch-line, but it's the anything but funny in real life.

Leonard's colleague, the more outwardly homely Leslie Winkle, provides the flip-side to Penny's stereotype, demonstrating the mistaken belief that women can be smart or feminine and sexy, but not both. Sheldon's pseudo-girlfriend Amy also falls into this trap.

Howard is sex-obsessed and some of the things he says definitely shouldn't be considered comedy. For example, in one episode he and Raj use NORAD satellites to stalk contestants on America's Next Top Model. Yes, it's ridiculous and over-the-top, but the plot still reinforced the idea that pretty women are objects who must want male sexual attention. Here's a clip from behind-the-scenes of that episode:

Unfortunately, the show doesn't do much better representing people of color. There's a stereotype called the "model minority" which states that Asians are better at math and science than white people, who are themselves better than black and Hispanic people.

These stereotypes are based on colonialist prejudice, not on fact, yet the Big Bang Theory does nothing to challenge them. The only main character of color is Raj, who is Indo-American. There are no regular black or Latino characters; to the best of my knowledge only one African-American has guest-starred as a scientist (real-life scientist Neil deGrasse-Tyson).

The character of Raj fits into the "model minority" stereotype but it also reinforces negative views of South Asians by making him the butt of jokes for being culturally inept and unintentionally effeminate. Jokes about Hindu cow worship occur and Howard mocks Raj with a crude imitation of an Indian accent on more than one occasion.

Racialicious contributor Karen Chau describes characters like Raj as a slight improvement in the typical treatment of Indian characters, since he's not treated as an "innocent foreigner." But she says she's seeing a rise in a new stereotype: "the comedic Asian male representations of today lean towards the sleazy: guys that want a girl so badly that they ruin it for themselves." Raj certainly does this, being totally unable to talk to women unless he's drunk, at which point he usually starts insulting the women he's with.

So I just can't bring myself to love The Big Bang Theory. It may be just a sitcom but it's probably the most popular representation of nerds out there in TV or film right now. There are other shows on the air that at least attempt to treat race and gender with more nuance and intelligence—The Big Bang Theory doesn't have an excuse not to try.

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Comments

38 comments have been made. Post a comment.

The only ep of the show I

The only ep of the show I ever caught had trans-misogyny and the character being mocked was Black. I couldn't believe I had friends who think themselves "allies" who raved about how great this show was. ::shudder:: I guess as long as white geeks see themselves represented to hell with all those other folks!

What episode was this? I

What episode was this? I thought I'd seen every episode, but I remember nothing involving trans misogyny towards a black character.

The person who lived in the

The person who lived in the Penny's apartment is described as a "Two hundred pound transvestite with a skin condition" and is shown in a later episode of season 3. I imagine that is what this person is referring to.

Yup

I tried to watch this show (my husband is a physicist and my parents were just SURE we'd love it) and the trans-hate line was not a good place to start. I didn't want to watch this because I was sure it was just tired nerdy white science guys cliches, and low and behold, it is. Since I live with a scientist, I know they are people, and just as tired of that stereotype as I am. There was too much in the pilot alone that needed to be unpacked, so I didn't waste more time. This show is for white men, and that's usually who tries to convince me that it's great.

Well I'm a white man and I

Well I'm a white man and I hate the show for how it treats intelligence as something weird that goes hand in hand with social ineptness. I've always found stupidity as a turnoff and when I hear guys say, "who cares if she's smart or not, look at her!" I want to be sick. This show, at least what I saw of the first season only re-enforced that attitude that you can over look anything about a woman if she is attractive. Basically telling them the only important thing is to look pretty.

Well, Look At It This Way

Everyone in the show is a stereotype of one kind of another. I don't think the show would be funny if they tried to be realistic and even-handed. And I think there are some missing points in the post about the women. Leslie Winkle is the ultimate, sexually liberated "Slam Bam Thank You Man," and Leonard's short-time girlfriend, Stephanie, was curvalicious and crazy smart (if a bit clingy).

Penny is consistently smarter and saner than all of them put together. And the fact that Leonard "ruins" her for dumb guys is a wonderful thing. She grows, she learns, and she demonstrates that she's only limited herself in the past by her surroundings. Coming to Los Angeles is changing her for the better. I can't say that for a lot of people I know who come here for the same reasons.

I love this show -- not because it's super great. It's flawed in lots of ways, and lord knows I'm tired of Howard's character. But being someone who's dealt with gender issues around geeky guys my whole life, all the things I've privately laughed at are now on the screen. And I dig it a lot.

Thanks

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I don't totally disagree with you - there is more to Leslie Winkle and Penny, certainly, but I still think overall they reinforce the stereotype that there's a separation between conventionally attractive and nerdily smart (Penny obviously has social smarts, which are also implied to be incompatible with geeky intelligence).

You're right that it can be tough to make these types of shows funny without reinforcing stereotypes, but I think they could definitely do a better job showing that they're trying to be a bit more nuanced and intelligent. In Anita Sarkeesian's latest Tropes vs. Women post she points out that Big Bang Theory falls into the Smurfette Principle trope with Penny as the lone girl in a gang of guys. And I just read another good analysis of the racial stereotyping component by Vijay at Racialicious yesterday - this talks a bit more about the heterosexism around the "ersatz homosexual marriage" between Raj & Howard.

I'm not saying people shouldn't laugh at the jokes (except for the dead hooker and transphobic ones - seriously not cool) but I hope people watching it are at least aware of the stereotypes the show's perpetuating.

I disagree

What about Bernadette, Howard's girlfriend? She's a scientist, pretty, and very feminine.

I don't see Raj as representing Indians but rather the shy, nerdy guys out there who suffer from low self-esteem despite being smart and sweet. Most guys become jerks when they are drunk so it's not really a big stretch that the introduction of alcohol would turn Raj into a self-centered pig.

I personally like how Penny always has the upper hand with the guys. She also comes to their rescue in situations that are generally men standing up for women (i.e. an episode where she stands up to a bully who hacked Sheldon's WOW account). To me she represents a strong female lead. She might not have the brains of the other characters but she has common sense that they lack, and she's not some ditzy blonde, just your typical woman trying to make an unrealistic dream come true. Leslie Winkle, by the way, may not have been classic feminine, but she was very sexy. I know several guys who preferred her over Penny. I wish they'd put her back on the show. And Leonard's new girlfriend Priya, Raj's sister, is smart, sexy, and feminine (“Top of her class at Cambridge. Licensed to practice law in three countries and your face”-Leonard).

The problem with stereotypes is that they usually have root somewhere in reality. The way the guys mock each other (Sheldon's OCD, Raj's accent, Howard's religion and the fact he lives with his mom, and everything about Leonard) is fairly true to life. Guys make fun of each other, it's how they bond. The point is that they have a group dynamic that makes it work. I would see an issue if they were constantly insulting Penny for being dumb or making the women in their circle feel inferior, but they don't. You see them treat the women as equals while still finding them sexually appealing (except for Sheldon). As far as objectifying the women, men in the series are objectified too. Penny's hunky but dumb boyfriends are paraded as eye candy and always made to look weak and stupid. She gravitates away from them and back to the sweet guys she has become close with because that is what women really do.

I love the show because it shows the nerds as being people instead of supporting cast. It gives a more positive view of smart men than other shows have in the past. They're still socially awkward but that's true of intelligent people. Sadly we live in a culture that rewards looks and brawn over intelligence and kindness. I think it serves to remind people that nerds are human too.

Art imitating life?

Thanks, Lisardo. I appreciate your points about Bernadette and Penny in particular. I also didn't really get a chance to talk about Raj's sister Priya, who I think is a pretty awesome character. I think the show has definitely improved over the 4 seasons but the first 2 seasons in particular had a lot of gross scenes, in my view.

I'm not trying to say Leslie wasn't sexy - only that she didn't meet the same idea of conventional hotness as the America's Next Top Model ladies :) And the way she was talked about and looked at wasn't the same as Penny - it raises important questions about how we perceive attractiveness and I hope they continue to bring Leslie back and have characters like Judy Greer's guest star role, who are sexy because of being smart.

That said, I'm not sure I agree that the stereotypes are ok because they "usually have root somewhere in reality" - we could get into a big philosophical debate about art imitating life vs life imitating art - basically the thing about perpetuating stereotypes, even if they are based on cases that were "real" originally, is that they start being seen as a norm that's difficult for real people to diverge from. The thing about depictions of visible minority characters is that they're so rare in mainstream TV that they are construed by some to be representative of the entire race (which is why I think Priya is cool but Raj, not so much). Same goes for Howard.

Thanks for pointing out how the men are objectified too. I don't think it has quite the same impact but you could write a whole other article about the problematic portrayal of masculinity on this show, including the continuing implied homosexual relationship between Raj & Howard.

Overall, I would agree with you that the best part of the show is the more positive view of nerds and nerd culture. Even though I don't love it, I don't hate it either. I don't think the transphobic , homophobic, and dead hooker jokes are cool, but that isn't to say they don't have their share of awesome funny scenes. I really enjoyed the renaissance fair episode and in both the ones with Christine Baranski, I laughed so hard I cried. But I just hope people are keeping their eyes open to the stereotypes when they're watching it.

re: Bernadette

I'm pretty sure Bernadette is not a scientist -- she's a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny.

She's both

But you're right - we do more often see her at the Cheesecake Factory than actually doing science.

re: Bernadette

She is a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory, but she's also a graduate student... I believe in microbiology, but I'm not 100% sure about that. However, they haven't been playing up that aspect of her character lately. Mostly she's just been there for girls' nights and dates with Howard.

I'm loving this blog series!

I'm loving this blog series! You totally hit the nail on the head with this one--everyone I know expects me to love this show, but I usually get too mad and start ranting partway through and have to turn it off. Then they ask why I can't "take a joke." *facepalm*

Holy shit, are you me?! I

Holy shit, are you me?! I have literally that exact reaction! My friends, my parents, my sister, even my extended family all love this show, and expect me to follow suit, but I can't sit through an episode without wanting to scream! I've been a female geek pretty much since birth, and I feel like I'm treated as something of an anomaly in the world the show presents. It's a bit disconcerting to see, say, girls stared at just for entering a comic store when in my experience, my girlfriends and I can just kinda waltz in like we're *gasp!* normal paying customers!
I also kind of have to agree on the article's points on minority stereotyping, as well as the portrayal of male nerds and their lack of ability to approach women. Hell, my best friend is a black guy built like a linebacker, can name all the composers to Showa-era kaiju movies, and he has no problem approaching anyone, man or woman. In fact, our entire social group runs the gamut on race, gender, sexuality, what have you, all of us huge nerds. Of course, this might be helped along by the fact that I live in one of the most diverse cities in the US, and attend one of the most diverse colleges in said city, but I really wish shows like the Big Bang Theory that have so much exposure would work towards making situations like mine the rule, rather than the exception.

When a show is created by

When a show is created by Chuck Lorre (of Two and a Half Men, gag) I don't expect much. Cheap laughs? Yes. Offensive? Of course! Thank you Chuck Lorre.

Good call

Good call, Caitlin. I do find TBBT less obnoxious than Two and A Half Men, but that's not that difficult.

There are smart sexy women on the show.

I would like to point out Priya, Raj's sister and Leonard's current girlfriend on the show, who is not only sexy but a top lawyer from India. She's beautiful, feminine and incredibly smart, even out-smarting Sheldon's air-tight roommate contract.

There's also Bernadette, Howard's girlfriend, who has Penny's looks and the book-smarts that Penny lacks in the show. She can be a bit airy, but it's more out of naivete than stupidity. She's a micro-biology student, who has a side interest in physics so she keeps up with Leonard and company in their work discussions.

Penny no longer spends as much time on the show with "the guys," and instead has formed her own clique with Bernadette and Amy Farrah Fowler, who is a female version of Sheldon. AFF is a neuroscientist who matches Sheldon in knowledge and in social ineptitude. AFF is played by Mayim Bialik, who actually has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, so the show actually casts women who not only have great comedic talent, but who have great academic abilities.

Penny in her own way fights one stereotype- that girls are weak. More than once on the show she's fought on the boys' behalf. She also shows that she has pragmatic skills the guys lack. In one of the first episodes of the show she orders an entertainment stand for her apartment. The guys insist she will need help assembling it, but while they dissect the directions making the whole process more complicated, she assembles it on her own.

More :)

Thanks for your comment. I definitely regret not mentioning Priya - she'd definitely be my favourite character, although Vijay's post at Racialicious yesterday still takes some issue with her. Overall I think the show's gotten better in seasons 3-4 with the introduction of Priya, Bernadette, and Amy. In reply to some earlier posts I went more in-depth on this.

And good point on Penny showing girls aren't weak - my favourite part of her character is when she talks back to people insulting her or Howard's gross attempts to make passes at her. I still wouldn't call her feminist, though.

I rarely watch. . .

I think it's usually on at the same time as "Bones" (which I'm sure will get its own post soon ;-) so I don't bother. When I do, I rarely stick with an entire episode. Last night Penny seemed to be obsessed with shoes and getting back at Leonard? Penny does sometimes get to show off her "street smarts", but it's never enough to really balance out the physicists. The best episodes I've seen focus on the pure geek culture - Sheldon's battle with Wil Wheaton was classic. And while I LOVE Christine Baranski, all of the men on the show seem to have really dysfunctional relationships with their mothers (Howard's mom, anyone?) that for me really reinforce the idea that social ineptitude is the result of bad mothering.

I would like to point out

I would like to point out that although I agree with your assessment, the show has greatly improved this season from previous seasons. Howard has toned down, and not two but four women are now main characters. I disliked Penny's character at first, but she has definitely grown. She outsmarts Sheldon on several occasions and she illustrates a link of communication between the socially talented and what most perceive are lepers in our society (nerds). She also defies her own stereotype by never harshly judging the nerds. She is always friendly to them, where I believe her stereotype as the "dumb blond' would normally dictate that she's mean and judgmental. I think Amy and Bernadette are excellent characters, and when the three come together, I dislike that they only talk about Leonard, but I like that a socially diverse group of women are dominating the screen for a good component of each episode.

what's wrong with a ditzy

what's wrong with a ditzy girl wanting to hang out around smart guys? She always tells the boys off when they're objectifying her, and she's able to maintain her own even if some of the guys think she's stupid sometimes. I'm a total ditz-flake, but I'm also incredibly intelligent, but not at maths. I've hung out with plenty of people who try to give me crap because I can't keep algebra straight and don't know stats to save my life, but I can fire back with my knowledge base. And I've hung out with plenty of people who talk about things way over my head, whether that be math or music theory. I think part of it is that Penny is supposed to represent the "normals" and these guys are so smart they make anyone look stupid. Penny is good with normal things - she can interact with other human beings, she knows football, she knows fashion, and she's been shown to be able to pick up things when they're explained to her on her level - i.e. to someone who doesn't have a phd in physics or whatever it is. When she talks about football that all goes over Leonard's head. I heart Penny, obvs, and I think it does her character an injustice to view it as a one dimensional thing.

Penny

Thanks, me & you. It's really good to get to hear that people have a more positive experience with Penny. I agree that one thing I really like about her is that she's tough and she does talk back to the guys when they make sexist comments. I just wish they'd had more diverse representations of women that didn't adhere so much to stereotypes, although as someone else pointed out, it gets way better in season 4. I

I think people who started watching more recently would have a more positive view because of the other characters like Priya and Amy and Bernadette, but I sat down and started right at the pilot and there were so many cringe-worthy moments in the first couple of seasons that I was less willing to give it the benefit of the doubt later on.

So much Priya-loving on these

So much Priya-loving on these boards! She is BY FAR my least favorite character. She's that girl who's super pretty and super smart and won't play nice with the other girls. And not because the other girls won't play nice with her, but because she's kind of a jealous witch. Yeah, Penny started out as the typical "dumb blonde," but she quickly turned into someone who was deeper than that. I think she might even be the only one who is actually friends with Sheldon (even though he drives her nuts.) And I really, really like it that she's no longer a one-off character who's dating some dumb guy that we can contrast the smart guys with. She has friends who are smart AND hilarious.

Bernadette is a little ditzy, but she has a great personality, and she's super-smart. She's also a very intuitive character, and has brought the (admittedly awful) Howard into line. And Amy Farrah Fowler? Once again, started off as a one-off character, but she's so FUNNY. She's NOT the female Sheldon. She's so much BETTER than that. Sheldon's "I hate emotions" act has really started to fall flat with me because it's so one-note. AFF builds relationships, but only on the stereotypes and studies she's seen from the outside. Which makes it so much better when she succeeds at becoming part of the group.

Neat

I'm really loving reading everyone's different reactions to the characters - people seem to really have love/hate relationships with TBBT and its characters, especially Bernadette, AFF, and Priya, it seems. It's cool to see how some characters that might seem regressive at the outset might have really acted as role models or inspired people who relate to them. Thanks Amanda and everyone for dishing on which characters you like most and least. I haven't seen enough of AFF to convince me she's not the female Sheldon, but you might end up being right. I definitely find her less obnoxious :)

I'm a a huge fan of this show

I'm a a huge fan of this show because I am a sucker for a sitcom and I am a TV-holic, but also because of the characters. Yes, this show, like pretty much anything you'll find on TV, has flaws, and major ones at that. I see racism and sexism a lot, and it does deter me, but probably about the same amount (or less) than any other show out there. What would a completely socially conscious TV show, free of any and all "isms" , that doesn't offend or discriminate or stereotype look like? I have no idea, but please let me know if it's out there!
However, I think the poster has over simplified this show in its analysis, and it's obvious that the poster has not watched many episodes. As a poor, failed student and clinically depressed individual without much socail solidarity with anything or anyone, I watch a lot of TV. I have seen every episode of this show at least twice (illegal online streaming is wonderful, albeit, illegal). I have grown to love the characters, with the Penny as my absolute fav. This show is not perfect, but its imperfections inspire critical thinking, whether it's acknowledged as a part of the plot or not, and the same goes for many other shows like it.
Penny: The stereotypical blond, slut shamed, ogled, underestimated, badass and god how I love her character. The back and forth between her and Sheldon is sort of like a ying/yang relationship. He's got the genius factor and nothing else, and she's got everything he is missing and more. And like another commenter mentioned, she puts him in his place and outsmarts him many a-time, like she does with the rest of the guys and even the "smarter" women. I do agree that she spends too much time talking about Leonard and his "whatever issues" (he feels like a secondary and pretty boring character to me a lot of the time).
And darn right that social skills and ease with people, acceptance and open-mindedness, self-assuredness, charisma, confidence and conversation skills are underrated as intelligence!!! Coming from me, someone who can barely leave her apartment without anxiety, it is something I admire and envy in people.
When will people learn that there is no perfection, there is no true type of intelligence to aspire to (there are many kinds, does anybody here see dancers or musicians or artists as geniuses?). And that the "little people" like mere waitresses such as Penny (or myself), who don't have aspirations in science or academia, ARE important and meaningful and necessary and not FAILURES - the way they already are! I personally find her inspiring and refreshing as a TV character, with all of her imperfections, because I can relate to her and I appreciate her biting wit and honesty, without any pretensions that she is supposed to be a role model or better herself to be deemed acceptable. Not all inspiring and important roles for females have to be successful scientists, or the like, for girls and women to respect them and learn from them.
And putting aside all judgement, critique and expectations of Amy Farrah-Fowler, you absolutely cannot HELP but to love her. She's a riot and she ain't kidding with them smarts she's got.

Penny, etc

Hey Emma,

Thanks very much for your comments. I have actually watched every episode from Seasons 1-3 and 6 episodes from Season 4, but I admit that my word limits didn't give me free range to fully explore every single thing I've observed about the show - just my overall impression and what I found to be some specifically cringe-worthy incidents. That said, I'm really glad to hear the show has helped you and I think it's awesome that you and other commenters have found it validating.

I'm definitely not saying shows like TBBT should strive to show perfect people, but only a greater diversity in characters, especially when it comes to women and people of colour, who tend to be stereotyped based on how they're presented in pop culture. I also agree that the "little people" should be validated on TV but I think that, at least in seasons 1-3, that was really overwhelmed by the racism/sexism, at least for me. By all means, I'm happy if people who like the show keep watching it. When I said I couldn't love it, I didn't mean no one should, but I really hope audiences will take a closer and more critical look at the stereotypes.

Re: Race in Big Bang Theory

For the record, I have never watched a single episode of this show in its entirety. I've seen bits of it over my roommates' shoulders but was never entertained enough to stick around. What bothers me about the racial/ethnic makeup of the male cast however, is the use of "nerdy ethnics." There are these two white, presumably Christian, guys and then there's an Indian fella and a Jew. I think stereotypical representation of Jewish males could be included in examination of this show's racial politics. I just don't want to be the one to do it because I've never been inclined to watch this show XD

IT Crowd

Hi,

I just wanted to point out IT crowd, which I think is the better Big Bang Theorie. ;)
Although they don't have a nerdy woman, one of the main characters is a black nerd and he's
so adorable.

Maybe you should check it out, it's a British series.

Call for Papers

Dear All,

have a look at this:

http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/45885

Nadine

"Leonard’s colleague, the

"Leonard’s colleague, the more outwardly homely Leslie Winkle, provides the flip-side to Penny’s stereotype, demonstrating the mistaken belief that women can be smart or feminine and sexy, but not both. Sheldon's pseudo-girlfriend Amy also falls into this trap."

All women characters must be perfect, both beautiful and intelligent. Never mind that none of the main male characters are presented as such. Raj, Sheldon, Leonard and Howard are all awkward, socially inept physicists. More evidence that feminists don't have the intelligence to look at anything with some semblance of rationality. "What can I say that will promote my agenda? Doesn't matter if it's true or thought-provoking". Simply disgusting.

"Unfortunately, the show doesn’t do much better representing people of color. There’s a stereotype called the “model minority” which states that Asians are better at math and science than white people, who are themselves better than black and Hispanic people.

These stereotypes are based on colonialist prejudice, not on fact, yet the Big Bang Theory does nothing to challenge them. The only main character of color is Raj, who is Indo-American. There are no regular black or Latino characters; to the best of my knowledge only one African-American has guest-starred as a scientist (real-life scientist Neil deGrasse-Tyson)."

We should cast black and Hispanic actors "just because" it's racist if we don't. Fuck the script, fuck the story, it's more important to throw in random filler characters so we don't offend minorities.

"The only ep of the show I ever caught had trans-misogyny and the character being mocked was Black. I couldn't believe I had friends who think themselves "allies" who raved about how great this show was. ::shudder:: I guess as long as white geeks see themselves represented to hell with all those other folks!"

Only white people can be mocked. It's racist if anybody else gets mocked. Note the capitalization of "black". What a stupid fuck.

The Killer Robot Instability

I think The Killer Robot Instability is one of the ABSOLUTE worst examples of the show's misogyny. In this episode, Penny stands up to Howard for the near constant sexual harassment he throws at her . . . and is asked to apologize because she hurt his feelings. The act of another man telling Penny she's overreacting and hurt someone's feelings by rejecting their degrading advancements and should APOLOGIZE TO THE OFFENDER is so disgusting and a horrifying representation of the way victims of sexual harassment and even sexual assault are treated by patriarchal society. There are also countless references to getting girls drunk in order to get them to have sex with you (and as alcohol is the most common assistant to rape, I don't think this should be taken lightly), not to mention plenty of comments about how whenever a woman is angry she must be on her period.

The gender stereotypes don't end with women though. While Sheldon is possibly too closed off and could do with a little gentle encouragement to expand his boundaries, he is often pressured for sex and manipulated into physical acts with Amy Farrah Fowler (which makes me sad because otherwise she's my favourite character). There is even a scene in which the "bargaining down" scenario common in an abusive relationships and sexual assault is evident, as Amy asks for sex and Sheldon bargains down to cuddling. Now if Sheldon wants to have sex, I think that's great. But because he's a man, he is severely judged for not wanting to have sex with every woman in sight like the other men in the show. Men need to have their feelings about sex respected as well.

Ugh, so many problems!

You are really making too big

You are really making too big deal out of this. Regarding the Killer Robot Instability, the only one that could be tried for an assault in that episode was Penny. She never tried to explain Howard why she wasn't interested in him or why she finds his comments unappealing. Instead she would just throw a snarky comeback. Snarky comebacks are normal parts of guy's communication. The reason why Howard was making those comments is because he believed that he would get a chance with her. Not because he wanted to humiliate her. He probably didn't even realize that was offending her and thought of it as giving compliments, because she never discussed it further. The comments that he would make, although creepy, were just regarding her physical appearence. He didn't offend her personally or made comments about her sex life. Penny also did many things, to the guys and the others, that could be considered an abuse, but everyone seem to conveniently forget that. And do you actually think of Howard as potential sex offender/abuser? Please. Sexual assault is something very serious and please don't compare it to that situation.
And I don't get your point about Sheldon and Amy. Sheldon had made his opinion about coitus clear many many times. He isn't interested in it. He later admits that he may have coitus with Amy someday. Nobody judges him about that and most of his friends don't even make comments about that. Amy simply wants more from their relationship and makes that clear. The same like Leonard wants more of a committed relationship with Penny, the same with Howard wanting children while Bernadette doesn't etc. Every relationship on the show is like that, there needs to be some drama and character development.

Damn, you're whiny! Care to

Damn, you're whiny!

Care to make reference to the amount of times they mock each other as well as Raj? No, because you want a blinkered view, "Everyone mocks the minority!"
They all mock each other, all the time. It's what guys do, get over it.
And Raj is not "Indo-American" - He's Indian. He simply LIVES in America. I've lived in America for three years, certainly doesn't make me "Anglo-American".

Also, fancy talking about Bernadette? Pretty, rocking body and very intelligent?
No, because that would go against your notion of this programme being the biggest travesty against women and minorities.

Granted there are no black people in the programme. Not sure why there isn't, it certainly is a little suspect. But your mad-cap theories are borderline paranoid and extremely narrow minded.

And they still show

And they still show Bernadette and Girl-Sheldon looking up to Penny. Why?!

Black characters

I beg to differ. There are actually black characters in the programme, however all black characters have small roles where they have menial jobs and are portrayed as not very smart . In season 1 episode 1 the first black character shown is a nurse having some difficulty with a crossword puzzle which Leonard gives the answers to in a few seconds. In a later episode the group makes a trip to the DMV so that Sheldon can sign up for a drivers permit and the customer care attendant there is black. Her attitude is a bit ghetto and not very professional which I believe is very stereotypical. Later on the laundromat attendant is black and in the conversation with Sheldon he is portrayed as clueless.

Sexy and smart... How about just smart?

I think my biggest problem with TBBT is that there are PLENTY of sexy, smart women. The only women who could be considered conventionally unattractive in any way is Leslie and Amy... And really, those are the "unattractive" chicks? In a real room of geeks those would be the hottest girls in the room. Plenty of unattractive men on TBBT, so it's really just an awful double standard that all the girl characters need to be hot before anything else.

Pan-acceptance and love for all

Step 1: Write a Big Bang Theory episode yourself where all of the characters are equally attractive, intelligent, and clever.
An episode where no one makes a joke at someone else's expense. There are no stereotypes and no one will possibly be offended by anything they say or do.

Step 2: Each of your friends play one of the characters. Perform your scripted episode in front of a live audience.

Step 3: Listen for the audience laughter. Oh what's that? Just the hum of the air conditioner and the sound of crickets?

Now write a new script and do it the next week. Rinse and repeat. More crickets.
Hmmm. Maybe you don't know what you're talking about.

If I were black, I'd be embarrassed to be represented on this sh

This show is basically the same episode over and over again. I watched the first 4 seasons, partially out of inertia and finally stopped. If you're going to have a show with no plot and rely on the interactions of the characters, at least give them diverse personalities and do it right like Seinfeld. Seinfeld episodes are also extremely similar and bleed into one another after a while, but at least I can still remember a few distinct ones. TBBT, on the other hand, is a series of one-liners and one-dimensional characters -- the fact that none of them are black is beside the point. If I were black, I'd be embarrassed to be represented on this show. If I were female, I would wish that all the female characters were male. Sometimes I think TBBT tried to imitate Seinfeld and failed terribly. This "art" imitates neither life nor other art.