This Big Bang Theory Moment Is An Extremely Important Reminder About Gender Norms

Photo: Courtesy of Michael Yarish/Warner Bros.
To the untrained eye, last night's episode of The Big Bang Theory may have seemed just as lighthearted and goofy as the other 234 episodes. However, this particular instalment of the CBS sitcom dove a little deeper and opened up a topic that's actually super important: gender roles and parenting.
The episode opens on the gender reveal for Howard and Bernadette's second baby. This time around, the couple is having a boy.
"For the first one, we really wanted a girl, but this time around we don't have a preference," Howard said in the episode.
"Yeah, boy [or] girl...as long as it's healthy," Bernadette agreed.
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However, the moment after the doctor reveals the sex, their reaction is pretty...muted.
"Oh," they reply.
Turns out, Howard's insecurity is coming from his own troubles with masculinity.
"I barely know how to be a man myself!" he tells Raj. "Now I have to teach someone?"
And this is where the show takes a pretty progressive turn.
"Sheldon, help me," Howard pleads. "What do I know about raising a boy?"
"What do you know about raising a girl?" he replies.
Because...what's the difference, really? There's no one right way to raise someone according to their biological sex, and in 2017, it's important to stress that children shouldn't be confined to the gender identity they're assigned at birth — which means Howard doesn't need to stress.
"You don't know what this little boy is going to be like!" Raj tells the worried father. "Maybe he'll be rough and tumble, or maybe he'll be sweet and sensitive, or maybe he'll be all those things like me!"
As Sheldon later corroborates, being a good parent isn't based on gender or sex.
"You're a good teacher," Sheldon says. "Your son is going to be lucky to have you as a father." Point made.
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