Earlier this week I tuned in to watch the series finale episode of “How I Met Your Mother,” and for the most part I enjoyed watching it, but that last bar scene really soured the experience for me. For anyone who followed the series throughout, you know that two of the main characters represent the two types of sexism – explicit and implicit. Barney’s character, who shamelessly spends each episode trying to coerce young women into bed with him, is obviously supposed to be viewed as a misogynist. Ted’s character, who puts women on a pedestal and appeals to the “nice guy” demographic, represents implicit misogyny. I have always sided with Barney over Ted, because his sexism doesn’t hide behind the guise of “nice guy syndrome.”
But in this final episode Barney’s sexism takes on a new low. He fathers a daughter, and as a result of this he is magically cured of his sex addiction. All of a sudden he stops sleeping around and begins to look down on those who live his old lifestyle. The audience is now supposed to see Barney as a new, changed person who actually values women.
And in that last bar scene he approaches two strange women who are minding their own business, demands that they go home to think about their lives, and then proceeds to chase them out of the bar. The audience is for some reason supposed to see this as being more noble than Barney trying to buy them drinks in exchange for sex. How is telling women what to do less sexist than coercing them into bed? Apparently the audience is supposed to believe that the man who slut-shames is preferable to the man who sleeps around. Well, I can only speak for myself, but I think that men are capable of far more integrity than this. Women’s sexuality is not owned by men, and intimidating strange women at a bar is not a display of respect. To me, this display of male chauvinism brought “How I Met Your Mother” down to a new level of sitcom sexism.