If you ask anyone between the ages of 20-30 what their favorite sitcom is, How I Met Your Mother will be mentioned frequently. The show became a pop culture sensation during its 9 year run, putting forth many cult references, iconic characters, and viewpoints of society that weren’t mainstream yet. Robin Scherbatsky was one of the show’s characters that was well before her time.
I’ve always related to Robin and that bond becomes stronger the more I watch the show. She’s crass, independent, selfish, a great friend, and mostly knows what she wants.
Throughout the show we see her struggle with wanting and pursuing a prolific career as a journalist while also trying to balance the ideal personal life.
She worries about being too cold because she doesn’t like the idea of a couple. She describes herself as ‘wanting to want those things’ but finds herself coming up short to make that an actuality. While we do see her grow throughout the show to let love into her life, she never lets a relationship change her or her goals.
Robin made it a point to share wisdom with friends during their darkest times, no matter what she was dealing with in her own life.She supported her best friend during her pregnancy after being told she couldn’t have children of her own.
It’s one thing to not want something. It’s another to be told you can’t have it.”
Despite how far we’ve come, it’s still taboo for a woman to be career first. If we want a career we’re expected to figure out a way to juggle that and a family life. Because what woman doesn’t want kids? Robin Sherbatsky doesn’t, and she isn’t going to let a man or culture sway her decisions.
After breaking news to her longtime boyfriend Kevin that she couldn’t have kids, he consoled her and said it wasn’t the end of the world because they could always adopt. But throughout the show we saw Robin be adamant that she never wanted kids. Instead of being upset at a possible breakup, Robin let Kevin go to find someone who wanted the same things she did.
It isn’t enough to have one example of a woman who is as complex as Robin. Yes we had Carrie Bradshaw who did things on her terms. And Penny from The Big Bang Theory who asserted herself (in less than ideal ways). But we haven’t really see a woman throw traditional expectations to the wind and do whatever the hell she wants in a similar way. Especially not in 2005.
I’m sure in less mainstream TV shows there were characters like Robin Sherbatsky or better, that exemplify independence and female empowerment. I hope that those shows rise to the surface so more people can enjoy them and feel represented.
Watching Robin battle between opening up and letting people into doing things herself, helped me know I wasn’t alone. Not only is it okay to pursue the less traditional path, it’s encouraged. Your true friends should still be there along the way, encouraging you and helping you grow.
In case it wasn’t extremely evident, I’m a huge fan of strong, independent women breaking barriers. I hope Robin Sherbatsky is one of many female characters we get to see on screen. Everyone deserves to feel a little less alone, and equal representation on television will hopefully be one of many steps in the right direction to fix that.
Cover image courtesy of thyQuotes