8 Super Popular TV Shows That Are Actually Sexist

While I consider myself a fan of dramatic TV, I have to admit, a lot of my favorite shows tend to have very sexist plotlines. Even though it’s sometimes unintentional, and even if it’s easy to explain it away by saying it’s “just Hollywood” and not real, we need to confront the fact that so many popular television shows are sexist, and it’s problematic AF. You might want to ignore it or blow it off because it isn’t always super obvious, but it’s there. Sexism can come in many forms, where it’s an “innocent” joke that perpetuates unfair gender stereotypes or minor female characters who do nothing to help the cause. And hey, it’s not even just about casting – a show that is predominately female isn’t necessarily feminist or forward thinking.

I’m not saying you have to stop watching these shows or start boycotting them, since I still love half of them, but I do think it’s important to be aware of their sexist scenes. For me, it can become a little too hard to watcha  show that treats female characters as if they are only vessles to talk about dudes. It’s not fun to watch your favorite show and hear one of the main characters say something icky. Once you open your eyes to them, it might mess with your enjoyment, but honestly? Maybe you’re better off. Here are a few of your favorite TV shows that are actually kind of sexist, so you can be more aware of the struggles women still face every day.

The Vampire Diaries

This is show isn't outwardly sexist, but when it comes down to it, a lot of the episodes contain themes of power and manipulation over the female characters. It focuses on two vampire brothers who lust after a girl. It's honestly a little creepy, seeing as they are both over 100 years old chasing after a 17-year-old girl, but that's a whole different problem. Damon, one of the vampire brothers, sees Elena, the main female protagonist, as someone he can "win." He might seem harmless, it can make viewers think that this is what girls should actually want, which is not the case. The idea of the "bad boy" coming to save the "innocent girl" is extremely sexist and uncool, TBH.

Mad Men

Okay, I get that this show took place in the '60s which was a time of blatant sexism and misogyny, but that doesn't mean we should be glorifying their terrible treatment of women in the show. The men, who work at an ad agency, constantly manipulate women into having sex with them and even threaten to beat them on multiple occasions. It takes place in a "different time" but people still lust over the character of Don Draper, when he is actually super dangerous and shouldn't be celebrated!

2 Broke Girls

As much as I do like this show, their rape and assault jokes make it incredibly hard to watch at this point. It follows two 20-somethings who live in NYC and work at a diner. I love a good show with strong leading ladies, but it gets ruined when they make awful jokes about sexual assault. All it does is perpetuate the idea of women being sexual objects.

How I Met Your Mother

Their whole "bro tips" thing is pretty bothersome, but the way they actually treat women on that show is the worst. They often lie and manipulate women in order to have sex with them or get what that want. Barney, the suit-wearing business men is the biggest manipulator of them all: he constantly objectives women and picks them up at bars, just to use them for sex and never talk about them on the show again. Women should not have to be the side characters to men!

New Girl

As much as I hate to admit it, this show can be pretty sexist at times. I love this show, but sometimes the way the main character, Jess, is portrayed can be super problematic. She lives will all men, who are constantly critiquing her for her choices and lifestyle. She becomes a sort of joke among her roommates who are all dudes. Don't get me wrong, this show can be cute and funny, it can also be hard to look past the way some of the male characters treat the women. Anyone remember that one episode where Schmidt gets mad at his ex-girlfriend for wanting to get breast-reduction surgery? He reduced a strong female character into nothing but a walking pair of boobs. Ugh.

Family Guy

I know this might seem obvious to you, but I had to include it because of how incredibly sexist it really is. Every man on that show makes too many misogynistic jokes to even count. A lot of people believe that this is "satire," but in reality, a lot of viewers think that these offensive jokes about abusing women are funny. PSA: it's not funny.


Another show about two dudes who battle dark forces. I'm not saying it's wrong to have a show with only white male protagonists, but the show is notorious for killing off any and all female characters who happen to appear on the show. Don't believe me? Here is a list of every woman who has died on that show. Spoiler alert: it's long. Not only does that mean there is no consistent female on the show, it also shows an alarming amount of violence against women.

The Bachelor

Okay, I think we all know how sexist most reality TV shows can be, but let me just break it down for you: The Bachelor focuses on a group of 26 women all competing for the affection of one guy. Obviously, this is a recipe for disaster, we should not be putting women in a competition just to get a man's attention.

What do you think of these sexist TV shows? Tell us in the comments!

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  • SaranWrap

    TVD is SO sexist. Aside from Elena consistently making excuses for a 100 year old, alcoholic serial killer who is obsessed with controlling her, many female characters are “compelled” into having sex with men (against their will) and so many women are brutally killed on the show. Especially if they have any real power–they never get to live for long, or their power is downgraded so that the boys can still be in control. Everyone constantly calls strong, fierce women “bitches” and tries to degrade them for displaying all of the same traits many of the male characters exhibit. Lastly, they can’t have any female villains unless they are hyper sexualized and they degrade Katherine, for example, and treat her as totally irredeemable while Klaus, Stephen and Damon are much worse. The message for girls is, if you have a dark side, or you embrace your sexuality and go after what you want everyone hates you, but if you are a man who does these things, you will be the “bad boy” everyone wants to save and have sex with. Teenage girls don’t need to be possessed by unhealthy love. TVD is an alpha male fest and I kept waiting for the double standards to change–they never did.

  • disqus_YGrELunKI6

    Why is Supernatural on that list?? Yes, it kills off female characters but it does it to male characters too. No one is safe in that show, for example Dean has died over 100 times… And he’s a main character!

  • Alana Forehand

    Supernatural? Really? EVERYONE dies. Besides Dean, Sam, and Cas, there are actually more surviving female characters than males one.

  • I gotta say as a Mad Men fan, I think the problem is with the fans. Don’t know about the others tho.