There were a number of good comments on my last post regarding the Big Bang Theory. While I was writing it, there were a whole lot of other themes and subtexts I could have also pointed out with regards to the show (extended adolescence, over the top caricatures of Christians and Christianity, ), but I found the post starting getting disjointed in trying to cover everything...so I deleted whole sections before hitting the publish button.
In the comments, Alte posted a link to a feminist blog entitled Womanist Musings, in which she points out that feminists don't like the show because it had an episodes that had slut shaming combined with racism. (Look it up in the comments of the last post if you really wanna see the piece, I'm not going to hotlink to that misandrist blog) Commenter Sojourner also weighed in: "...this show does have a perchance for slut shaming."
I actually disagree...I believe TBBT is actually engaging in a bit of "wag the dog" style propagandizing.
First thing to note is that the episode for which the feminist blogger is offended with has Penny expressing regret for sleeping with Raj and how she feels guilty for it. Womanist is offended, but she fails to realize the entire context of that episode is actually promoting her feminist ideology: Penny "puts everything back to the way it was" - i.e. no real consequences for her slutty behavior, and by the next episode, Raj, Penny and Leonard all act as if nothing had ever happened. Is that REAL "slut shaming?" Note the dialog between Penny and the other female character, Amy, that got Womanist all upset:
Amy: Do you know the story of Catherine the Great? Penny: No Amy: She ruled Russia in the 1700's and one night when she was feeling particularly randy she used an intricate system of pulleys to have intimate relations with a horse. Penny: I'm sorry, what does this have to do with me? Amy: She engaged in inter-species hanky panky and people still call her great. I'm sure your reputation can survive you shagging a little Indian boy.
Cue laugh track.
Slut shaming? Looks more to me like demonstrating how the female rationalization hamster can explain away slutty behavior. Yet another subversive meme being presented as normalized behavior in the show.
Womanist is all upset that the script writers have Penny expressing feelings of guilt for sleeping with Raj - who is supposed to be Leonard's friend. Sleeping with your boyfriend's friends is slutty behavior. Womanist is upset that the script writers here are calling a spade, a spade.
Real slut shaming by a TV show script writer would involve showing the real consequences of slutty, promiscuous behavior. Usually when a girl sleeps with her boyfriend's friends in real life, the relationship dynamics between the sordid triangle are forever changed. Raj and Leonard would never be friends again, may even fight, and there would no longer be the regular episodes of the entire cast sitting in the living room eating take-out food and hanging out.
But not here...the show carries on, episode after episode, with no real effects from slutty, promiscuous behavior ever depicted realistically. Womanist fails to identify the real theme of that particular episode: Brave New World Order sexual morality = sex is disconnected from procreation, and is now a meaningless entertainment. Everyone can fuck anyone and no one is supposed to be upset, nor should they let meaningless, promiscuous sex interfere with relationships. She's upset that the script writers would DARE even put in even a half-assed dialog that hints at slut shaming, but fails to see the bigger picture in that the slut shaming referenced is ineffective, LAUGHED OFF, and marginalized by Amy's rationalization - Catherine was a horse fucker, yet she was still considered GREAT!
In other words, the real subtext of the message here is: DON'T LET SLUT SHAMING BOTHER YOU LADIES...others have done far worse and they are still considered historically GREAT!
Feminists like Womanist wants no mention of any kind of judgement for any female's sexual behavior whatsoever. No one EVER should have even the slightest thought for judging any woman, anywhere for her sexual choices. She fails to realize how the very episode she derides, is actually playing a part in promoting the marginalization of slut shaming as a means of constraining female sexuality.