I watch reruns of this show on TBS all the time. You want to know why?
We start off with Leslie Winkle, a character that is a scientist who gives zero craps about what others say about her and regularly called Sheldon out on his misogyny. Later, you get Priya Koothrappali, who graduated at the top of her class at Cambridge, and is one of the lead attorneys at India’s biggest car company. Then we get Bernadette, who worked hard as a waitress to pay her way through her graduate studies in microbiology. She later she gets her Doctorate and is hired by a pharmaceutical company with a high a very high salary. She has a higher degree than her husband, Howard, and while the teasing he got from his friends bothered him at first, he got over it because he was proud of his wife. In one episode, he agrees to stay home with their future children while she goes to work. Next up is Amy Farrah Fowler. She has a Ph.D. in neurobiology, and is always, always making witty remarks that put Sheldon in his place. She does not stand down when he fights her on his opinions, she comes back right at him with her own viewpoints and openly tells him he’s wrong. She considers herself to be very smart and her initial friendship with Sheldon started out as her looking for someone she could speak to on an intellectual level. Sheldon respects her more than anyone (except for maybe his own mother and grandmother). She later learns there’s more to life than her work and forms strong bonds with the other women on the show.
And last, we have Penny. Is Penny as smart as the rest of the characters? Not in a conventionally sense, no. She likes clothes and shoes, she doesn’t care for comics or videogames. Does that make her less important that the other characters? No, it just means she has other interests. Time and time again, Penny proves her strength with her bravery and her no-nonsense attitude. She is an accepting person who rather than write off her neighbors as the weird science guys, befriends them and they become people she cares for and who care for her in return. Penny has saved the boys several times with her fighting skills and sharp tongue. Yes, at first Sheldon didn’t like her and Howard continuously cracked crud jokes. But you know what? Penny punched Howard in the face when he tried to make a move on her and the two ended up bonding in that very same episode because he realized his behavior came from his own insecurity and he apologized to her, the two became friends.
As for Sheldon? Yes, he made fun of her because she wasn’t as “smart” as he was used to but here’s two things you need to know. One, Sheldon is a condescending jerk who believes everyone (apart from Amy, Spock, his grandmother and a few others) are beneath him, he does not treat Penny this way because she’s a woman, he treated her this way because he’s an a*hole and that is fact that is pointed out in the show many times, including by his male peers who often dislike his rude behavior and say so. The second thing you need to know is the two eventually form a strong bond. His rude comments shift to kindness as he gets to know her. He grows and develops as a character that cares for his friends. It has been stated more than once that he cares for Penny and considers her a good friend.
So, for anyone who believes this show is sexist, I suggest you actually watch it. Are there sexist moments? Yes, but no character ever gets away with it and the fact is there’s sexism in the real world. These women prove you can rise above it and become important people in your own right as shown here in this gif.
The show isn’t perfect, but it isn’t what Tumblr makes it out to be.