Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik has come under fire for an op-ed she wrote for The New York Times on Friday, as she appeared to suggest that sexual assault victims were partly to blame because of the way they looked.
In the editorial ‘Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World’, the 41-year-old actress said that she makes choices “that I think of as self-protecting and wise” before going on to describe how her modest dress code might have saved her from being sexually assaulted.
“I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with,” she wrote.
“I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.
“My mom didn’t let me wear makeup or get manicures. She encouraged me to be myself in audition rooms, and I followed my mother’s strong example to not put up with anyone calling me ‘baby’ or demanding hugs on set.
“I was always aware that I was out of step with the expected norm for girls and women in Hollywood.”
The article as a whole has been widely criticized for victim shaming, so much so that the actress has had to fight back at the critics.
Some of the disapproving comments – one of which came from Patricia Arquette – included:
.@missmayim I have to say I was dressed non provocatively at 12 walking home from school when men masturbated at me. It’s not the clothes.
“The schadenfruede that Mayim Bialik seems to have over the fact that she thinks that only pretty girls are sexually assaulted is gross”
“Lots wrong with Mayim Bialik’s op-ed but one quick thing: Being an awkward girl with a big nose never protected me from harassment.”
“This is a terrible and dangerous opinion. “You wouldn’t get assaulted if you weren’t so pretty.”
“There is no way to avoid being the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave,” Mayim Bialik said, following the backlash.
“I really do regret that this became what it became because literally I was trying to speak about a very specific experience I’ve had in a very specific industry. I was not looking to speak about assault and rape in general.
“I also see a bunch of people have taken my words out of the context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to imply that God forbid I would blame a woman for her assault based on her clothing or behaviour.
“Anyone who knows me and my feminism knows that’s absurd and not at all what this piece was about.”
Do you understand what Mayim Bialik was trying to say in her editorial, or do you think she is still suggesting that the victims are bringing it on themselves?