David Livingston/Getty Images
Mayim Bialik Stirs Controversy With Sexual Harassment and Feminism Op-Ed
Mayim Bialik has come under fire for comments she made about sexual harassment in a New York Times op-ed inspired by several women’s recent allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
The actress wrote in her piece, titled “Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World,” that she has “experienced the upside of not being a ‘perfect ten.”
“As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms,” she said. “Those of us in Hollywood who don’t represent an impossible standard of beauty have the ‘luxury’ of being overlooked and, in many cases, ignored by men in power unless we can make them money.”
Many women, including top actresses, recently accused Weinstein, a powerful producer, of sexual misconduct towards them and many said the alleged incidents took place in a hotel room. Four women have accused him of rape. Weinstein, who has not been charged with a crime, has apologized for past behavior towards colleagues and has denied allegations of non-consensual sex.
In her op-ed, Bialik talked about her fashion choices and behavior towards men, saying that she dresses modestly and does not “act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”
“I am entirely aware that these types of choices might feel oppressive to many young feminists. Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?” she wrote. “In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn’t perfect. Nothing—absolutely nothing—excuses men for assaulting or abusing women. But we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in.”
“I plan to continue to work hard to encourage young women to cultivate the parts of themselves that may not garner them money and fame,” she wrote. “If you are beautiful and sexy, terrific. But having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life. And if—like me—you’re not a perfect 10, know that there are people out there who will find you stunning, irresistible and worthy of attention, respect and love. The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.”
Despite her saying that nothing excuses men for assaulting or abusing women, many people have accused the Big Bang Theory star and Blossom alum of victim-blaming.
“@missmayim229 I have to say I was dressed non provocatively as a 12 year old when men on the street masturbated at me,” actress Patricia Arquette tweeted on Saturday. “It’s not clothing.”
“It is also not outrageous for anyone to expected to be treated in a professional manner by anyone in a professional relationship,” she added.
This is exactly what abused women need, a voice, that is also female, telling them the fault is essentially theirs. WTF, Mayim Bialik? ?
— Tobias King (@logic_avenger) October 14, 2017
Mayim Bialik: I?m a feminist
Also Mayim Bialik: if you don?t dress provocatively you won?t be sexually harassed. If you do it?s your fault
— hanna ? (@hannanekoranec) October 14, 2017
Treating sexual assault like it is a consequence of being attractive, or relating it to desire, is harmful & erases many victim experiences
— Abby Honold (@abbyhonold) October 14, 2017
“I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly.” This is disgusting. @missmayim is placing blame on victims and forgetting that rape and assault are about power, not about desire. https://t.co/gVFoct2QyQ
— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) October 14, 2017
Bialik has not responded to the backlash.
Her social media manager, who shared the New York Times op-ed, said on Facebook that the actress would be “off the grid” until Saturday night.