While How I Met Your Mother is generally a very funny, harmless sitcom that features a lot of funny jokes, using both physical and verbal comedy, but at times it can be problematic. One of the big ways that happens is with how women are often treated on the show.
Losing The Ring
When Robin gets engaged, her entire life changes for many reasons. One of those is that other men are no longer hitting on her, so she decides to ditch the ring to see if it will have any impact. This is obviously not overly offensive, because Robin is voluntarily putting herself out there and clearly enjoys the attention she is getting. Although, it doesn’t say much about men that they will throw themselves all over a woman like they do in this particular episode.
The Slutty Pumpkin
He gives her a slut-shaming nickname, simply because of the costume she had on, which isn’t the most offensive thing that happens but isn’t exactly polite. When they eventually meet years later, the two of them don’t really click in terms of being in a relationship. However, Ted decides to sleep with her anyway, which again, shows how he treats her in a negative manner at times.
Pretending To Be A Lesbian
The fact that Barney thinks he can win over a lesbian simply by dressing as a woman makes it seem like he presumes they’ll be incredibly easy and simple to win over. It’s not a good look for him or the show in general.
The women they meet are getting drunk and screaming “woo,” clearly just having a good time. However, they see something very different, with Lily and Robin initially judging them as being people who would happily flash a bartender to get drinks.
When Victoria talks about having dated other men, Robin just shouts out “Slut alert” for no real reason. It can be pegged down to jealousy, but it isn’t a great look for her, especially since Victoria is such a nice person, and is actually in a committed relationship with Ted.
It’s not a good episode in terms of how women are treated, and even Lily ends up pointing that out as she tries to teach Barney that it isn’t good to treat women that way. While this at least attempts to teach him a lesson, everything up to that point isn’t good.
The Naked Man
“The Naked Man” episode is one of the more controversial episodes in the history of the series. However, this turns into a slut-shaming moment when Robin decides to put the theory to the test. She has sex with someone who does this trick, but instead of it being funny, like when Barney tries it, she’s quickly called a slut, showcasing the double standards the show often has.
The Drunk Train
They don’t get drunk and instead just act it which really is just trapping the woman into a lie, simply to prove that they’re easier to sleep with, which is slut-shaming at its worst.
Barney Filming Women
It’s something that he thinks is fine but clearly is not. Filming women in this manner is actually illegal without them agreeing to it, so the fact that the show would make their character do this was an odd choice.
Underage Waiting Game
Barney tells Ted that the only time it is acceptable is when the girl is aged 17 years and 11 months, clearly waiting for her to become legal. This suggests taking advantage of young girls simply for sex, waiting for it to become legal before taking that step, which isn’t funny in the slightest.