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Gender Stereotypes Among Television Series

     The past few weeks in Gender Studies we have been studying the roles of women among television shows, movies, and books. We discussed the roles of the women in the books Fifty Shades of Grey and The Twilight Series. It is evident from just these two examples that often times women are made to look like lesser beings through television and literature. I will be discussing the television series The Big Bang Theory and Suits.

The Big Bang Theory is a television show about four scientists all whom are very intelligent. The live across the hall from a women, named Penny , who works at the local Cheesecake factory and has a community college degree. Penny’s level of education is often pointed out by the men, and although they are all friends, she is often depicted as the lesser being throughout the series due to her lack of education and financial situation. As well Penny is very attractive and the men often try to get her attention by pointing this out. Throughout the series, Leonard and Penny develop a romantic relationship, however the relationship appears to be mainly based around sex and even after the relationship ends the two continue to have a sexual relationship. I think that this portrays Penny as an object of sex often times throughout the series. The only other females in the series are the women that the scientists are romantically involved with, or are trying to become romantically involved with. I believe that this portrays females poorly in the sense that there are no strong females roles and they are simply seen as lesser beings among the smart talented males characters.

The main characters from The Big Bang Theory

The main characters in The Big Bang Theory

The main characters in The Big Bang Theory

The television series Suits has a very different females roles than that of The Big Bang Theory. In suits, although there are not many female characters, as opposed to male characters, the few females that there are play big roles in the story. In my opinion they are depicted as equals to the men. The first women role is Jessica Pearson, she is the owner of the law firm that everyone works for, Pearson Hardman, and it is her name that is on the wall. She plays a very large role in the series and appears to be a very strong woman. She is the boss of all of the men in the firm and she stays strong and takes over the entre firm when the co-owner of the firm, Daniel Hardman, is cheating the firm out of money. She manages to take over and kick Hardman out of the office, leaving only her name on the wall. Another thing that makes her a strong female role is that she is single and never has a man in her life throughout the series thus far. The second character in Suits that I will be discussing is Rachel Zayne. Rachel is a paralegal in the firm and although her job is less than that of the many male lawyers, in the series Rachel is depicted as very smart and often times is asked to help with many of the lawyer’s duties. Unlike Jessica, Rachel does have intimate male relationships throughout the series. Her and Mike, a lawyer at the firm, have had an on and off sexual relationship throughout the entire series.

The main characters from Suits

The main characters from Suits

The main characters from Suits

Overall, both the television series The Big Bang Theory and Suits have different females roles depicted in them. The Big Bang Theory depicts the main female role as not as smart and financially stable as the men in the series. The females in the series Suits are depicted as intelligent, financially stable, and in control of the men they are involved with both sexually and through work.

K.S

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One thought on “The Big Bang Theory and Suits: An In-Depth View

  1. Hey K.S;
    I was rereading your post, and I started thinking about aspects of Big Bang Theory, other than gender roles and stereotypes, which are problematic. I have read theories online about Sheldon Cooper’s character having a mental illness, or perhaps having Asperger’s Syndrome. Some of the longest running jokes on the show are about Sheldon’s inability to recognize sarcasm, repetitive actions, obsession with cleanliness, and others. These jokes are problematic because they make Sheldon’s mental illness the punchline; a very ableist action to take. Here’s an article that explores the possibility of Sheldon having Asperger’s Syndrome in more detail: http://voices.yahoo.com/does-sheldon-cooper-big-bang-theory-aspergers-7518918.html?cat=72 .

    E.M.

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