This Is Why ‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress Mayim Bialik’s NYT Op-Ed Is Fucking Terrible

Trigger warning: This article contains sensitive content involving sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape.

This Is Why ‘Big Bang Theory’ Actress Mayim Bialik’s NYT Op-Ed Is Fucking Terrible
iDominick

This past Friday, The New York Times published an Op-Ed by The Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik. It was called “Being a Feminist In Harvey Weinstein’s World.”

And much like the show she stars on, it was fucking terrible.

When I first saw the headline, I thought it could be promising. It seemed like it could be some intelligent and much needed commentary in the wake of the dozens of horrific accusations against Weinstein. Much to my disappointment, though, it wasn’t. It was an article filled victim blaming, disguised as feminism.

Throughout her piece, Ms. Bialik tells us her experience as a woman and a feminist in Hollywood. She remembers being a preteen in auditions and how “young girls with doe eyes and pouty lips who spoke in high register were favored for roles by the powerful men who made those decisions.” She shared how she left the industry for 12 years, but then went back in her 30s.

Upon her return, she said how because of her “nontraditional” appearance, she always found herself auditioning for roles like the “frumpy friend,” which eventually landed her the role on The Big Bang Theory.

All of this portion is mostly okay. Her experience is her own, and this is not to discount it. It’s what comes after that I, and I think many others, have taken issue with.

After her background story, Ms. Bialik then transitions to talk about “the upside of not being a ‘perfect ten.'” She writes:

And yet I have also 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. 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.

She continues:

I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.

Huh. So, let me get this straight. Only super hot women who don’t dress modestly are harassed and assaulted? Based on the statistics surrounding sexual assault in the United States, something tells me that’s just not true.

After the article’s publication, many women took to Twitter to express their frustration, disdain, and downright anger about her piece:

Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are never the victim’s fault. Ever. Not once. It doesn’t matter what she was wearing, it doesn’t matter if she was alone, it doesn’t matter if she was drunk, it doesn’t matter if she smiled at you across the fucking bar, this is not an invitation and you are not entitled to anything from her. Period.

Ms. Bialik’s article perpetuates that idea that women can avoid abuse and harassment and assault if we would only “dress modestly” or not “act flirtatiously” or be “perfect tens.” But this is a falsehood and contributing to a dangerous narrative that women can somehow prevent attacks and harassment and that it is somehow brought on by something they did. That they were, in fewer words, “Asking for it.”

Since the backlash, Ms. Bialik has posted on Twitter to say that her words were taken “out of context.” But the truth is, they weren’t. The underlying implications of her claims are plain to see. As well, intent does not equal impact. While I’m sure she wasn’t trying to victim blame, her article was still incredibly misguided and very much a harmful piece of writing.

If you have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or rape, please know you are not alone. I believe you. Many others will believe you, too.

And most importantly? It was and never will be your fault. Not now, not ever. TC mark

Molly Burford

Writer. Editor. Hufflepuff. Dog person.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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