This is why Mayim Bialik’s op-ed about Harvey Weinstein and sexual harassment missed the mark

October 16, 2017

As the Harvey Weinstein news continues to break, more celebrities are speaking up. On Friday, The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik wrote an op-ed about sexual harassment and feminism for The New York Times. Though she had the best of intentions, the piece quickly went viral for being reactionary and controversial.

Mike Pont / Getty Images

As the Harvey Weinstein news continues to break, more celebrities are speaking up. On Friday, The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik wrote an op-ed about sexual harassment and feminism for The New York Times. Though she had the best of intentions, the piece quickly went viral for being reactionary and controversial.

In response to news about several sexual harassment and rape allegations against Weinstein, who was just voted out of the AcademyBialik tried to connect her self-described “prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky” looks and the fact that she isn’t a “perfect ten” to the reason why she has had the privilege of not being a victim of sexual misconduct.

Girl…what?

Here’s what Bialik had to say.

“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 wrote. “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.”

Bialik went on to discuss the way she dresses and how her modest choices have basically acted as a forcefield to keep men away.

“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 continued. “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.”

Readers took to Twitter to share their opinions.

A lot of people disagree with Bialik’s stance.

And they spoke from a very personal place.

Many shut down Bialik for victim-blaming.

Some don’t think she understands what being a feminist really means.

Roxane Gay, actual feminist hero, offered her insightful take.

Jenny Slate shared this important tweet.

And Gabrielle Union is not here for the notion that dressing modestly automatically negates sexual harassment.

Late last night, Bialik addressed the backlash of her controversial op-ed.

Bialik believes readers are taking her words out of context. She clarified that she would never “blame a woman for her assault based on her clothing or behavior.” And she announced that she’s doing a Facebook Live segment with the NYT tomorrow morning to talk it all out.

We can only hope the ongoing conversation encourages everyone to look deeper into themselves and find ways to push the real agenda of feminism: unity, justice, and equality.

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