It may be because television writers are increasingly male, but the discrimination towards women that we see on TV every night makes us feel like we’re stuck in the past. It’s not like writers need to follow any rules when it comes to creating their scripts, they can write whatever they want, so why not write their female characters as strong and successful human beings that are more than just sex symbols?
Instead audiences are watching women with no depth that are being put down by the men in their lives. Fifty-nine percent of women make up the workforce, and yet there are still writers that are depicting their female characters as people that are not career-oriented. There are some shows out there that portray women in a positive light, think Girls or Broad City, but there are many shows that unfortunately showcase women in a negative way.
The shows that made this list are ten of the most sexist shows in television. This doesn’t indicate that these shows are terrible by any means; some are better than others and most are award-winning and beloved by audiences. Only a few of these television shows are still on the air, but the next time you watch an episode, or a re-run of an episode, keep an eye out for the sexism. Hopefully Hollywood will improve the way it writes female characters.
10. Mad Men
Misogyny is a common theme in AMC’s Mad Men. The television show’s seven-season run was set in the world of advertising in the 1950s. Given the time period, we’re bound to see sexist comments directed at women and men cheating on their wives, but Mad Men takes thing to a whole new level. From the first episode audiences are thrown into a world that is run by men, and the female characters never seem to catch a break. While the show itself is just the way things were back then, the material featured in it is extremely sexist, and some male viewers may believe it’s acceptable to treat women the way Don Draper does.
9. Modern Family
ABC’S Modern Family isn’t just hilarious and heartwarming; it has also won a Golden Globe Award and numerous Emmy Awards. There’s no denying it’s a great show, but it’s also very sexist. The female characters are not written as well as the male characters. Neither Claire Dunphy nor Gloria Pritchett have jobs, Haley Dunphy is the stereotypical popular airhead and her sister Alex Dunphy is a typical nerd. If you look at the men, their jobs include a lawyer, a real estate broker, and the owner of a construction company. The show has been harshly criticized for its sexism over the years, and recently the women of Modern Family seem to have better storylines and deeper personalities.
8. 2 Broke Girls
You would think that a show about two girls wouldn’t be demeaning towards women, but it is. 2 Broke Girls is the story of a pair of best friends, Max and Caroline, and their struggles to open their own cupcake business. Even though there are strong storylines of friendship and professional endeavors, the show’s writing constantly puts down the women, by making them poke fun at themselves in completely inappropriate ways. In one episode, Max takes a pregnancy test because she had a couple free minutes and “you never know,” and in another she blatantly makes jokes about being raped. There’s also obvious racism and crude sexual humor. We would expect a lot more coming from writer Michael Patrick King, the creator of Sex and the City.
7. How I Met Your Mother
How I Met Your Mother ran for nine seasons. Every episode viewers saw playboy Barney Stinson lie to women in order to sleep with them. These women almost always fall for Barney’s obvious fabrications and deceptions, which doesn’t say much for the female gender. The way the character of Barney treats women is disgusting, and yet the laugh track makes viewers feel like it’s not a big deal. The odd relationships that were more serious didn’t work out because she couldn’t make Barney a better person. Something he should have attempted to do on his own. All that aside, there’s no denying How I Met Your Mother was a hilarious show that we will be watching and re-watching for years to come.
6. The Big Bang Theory
The Big Band Theory may be a television show about geniuses, but the writers seem half-witted when it comes to developing their female characters. There’s Penny, whose good looks seem to be the only thing she has going for her, and her stupidity becomes a tired and overused joke. Amy may be as smart as the male characters but she’s made fun of for not being attractive. The Big Bang Theory isn’t an offensive show, but the fact that the female characters are so one-dimensional is insulting to women. Maybe if they were written better, Jim Parsons wouldn’t be the only actor on the show to win a Golden Globe Award and two Emmies.
5. Two and a Half Men
Two and a Half Men was notorious for its sexism throughout the show’s twelve seasons. The mother is portrayed as selfish, while the ex-wife is awful to Alan, and the neighbor Rose is depicted to be crazy. The other women in the show are the one night stands of Charlie Sheen’s character, and Ashton Kutcher’s character that replaced Sheen in the later seasons. These women are usually unintelligent and superficial, and they rarely reappear after one episode. The creator of the show, Chuck Lorre, is also the man behind The Big Bang Theory, so it’s safe to say that portraying women in a respectful way isn’t exactly his top priority.
4. Sons of Anarchy
During Sons of Anarchy’s seven season run, the television show gained a huge fan base. No wonder, given its intense plots and award-winning acting. The only area where the show falls short is in its extremely sexist takes on the female characters. The women seem to only be there in order to have sex with the men, there’s no true depth to them. The men are made out to be more important than the women again and again. The female characters include a manipulating wife, an overbearing wife, and a crooked district attorney. Not to mention all of the drug addicts and prostitutes.
3. Pan Am
There was a lot of hype surrounding the show Pan Am back in 2011, but it only lasted one short season. Centered on the lives of the pilots and stewardesses of the Pan American World Airways in 1960s, Pan Am showcases the sexist world that women had to live in during that time. Much like what audiences saw in Mad Men. Instead of utilizing this exposure of how women use to be treated in the work force, it glamorizes the job of a stewardess and the women in the show seem more than happy to cater to every need and want that men may have. Viewership was in a steady decline since the pilot episode of the show, and we bet the way women were portrayed was one of the reasons behind the cancelation of Pan Am.
2. The Newsroom
The television show The Newsroom ran for three seasons, won a Primetime Emmy Award and a Critic’s Choice Television Award, and was nominated for a Screen Actor’s Guild Award and a Golden Globe. Regardless of all of that, The Newsroom was an extremely sexist show. The female characters are portrayed as women who care less about their careers than the men working alongside them. They are always involved in some sort of love triangle, and the storylines of their relationships are more developed than the plotlines surrounding their careers.
1. The Bachelor
Of course the reality series The Bachelor would top the list of the most sexist shows on television. A group of women set themselves up for rejection, falling all over themselves and fighting with one another at the chance to hopefully fall in love. They put the bachelor up on a pedestal and feel sorry for themselves when he doesn’t give them as much attention or time as they would have wanted, which makes the entire situation seem sad, not romantic. The Bachelor sends the message to young girls that they need a man to tell them that they’re good enough, and that they should cry if a boy never offers them a rose.