I was finally able to see one of the partially of feminist episodes of BBT last night. In this one, Bernadette is asked to be in a science magazine in an article highlighting the “Top 50 Sexiest Scientists.” Here’s a play by play of the episode. Penny, Amy and Bernadette, are talking about the article. Bernadette is excited to be in the article, but wants to know what her friends think. Penny believes that she should do it. She thinks that showing a little skin to get ahead is worth it. In her sales person job, flirting to make a deal helps her make more money than the other sales reps. Penny knows the patriarchal system is against her, so she uses it to her advantage. As a stereotypically beautiful blonde white woman, the system is more open to women like her. Rather than her sexuality being exotified or threatening masculinity, it’s welcomed. Amy, on the other hand, can't do that. She turns to feminism, rather than trying to navigate sexist society. She says that there wouldn’t be a Top 50 Sexiest Scientist article for men. Amy then asks, why do women have to objectify themselves to be seen in science magazines? Women should be appreciated for their intellect, not their bodies. Bernadette is right when she responds, why can't women be smart and beautiful? But unfortunately, no answer is given to her question. I would respond - women can't be smart and beautiful because we still live in a world which diminishes women's accomplishments and would rather look at their bodies. If we did have gender equality, and saw everyone as people, an article like this probably wouldn’t exist (and if it did exist, it would probably include all genders).
Can I just say that we’re more comfortable thinking of Jennifer Garner (essentially a 13 year old in a 30 year old body) in a thong than talk about menstruation? We could have taken the opportunity to talk about puberty and what it’s like to be an adult woman, but instead we see her/imagine her in "sexy" underwear? I guess that’s just because women are constantly being seen as sex objects, and periods are “gross.” All women really want to do is wear thongs when they get older, right?
A while ago I wrote a blog entry about if you can’t have one with out the other. For example, you can’t have a show about racism, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, without fat shaming, sexism, and homophobia. One always needs to compensate for other in order to create “comedy.” And to relieve white male viewers. But for the female viewers, they’re just that much more uncomfortable, unless of course they laugh along with the guys because they’ve internalized the patriarchy so much they don’t realize what’s going on. Anyway, this applies to another show that is much more recent, the ABC show, Speechless.
24 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.