The actress, who plays Amy Farrah-Fowler on the CBS sitcom, addressed the topic of sexual harassment and assault in an article titled "Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World."
In the piece, Bialik outlines how she hasn't dealt with Hollywood sexual harassment personally. She attributes that to several factors, like her “nontraditional” physical look and modest way of dressing.
Her experience was way out of line with what numerous other women have faced in their careers, so many took her stance as dismissive and victim-blaming.
"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," Bialik 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.
From that line of thought, the Blossom alum goes into why she thinks the choices she makes when it comes to dress and sexuality contributes to her career being harassment free.
"I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise," she wrote. "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."
She then acknowledges that this attitude can seem restricting to women, but she thinks it's the necessary due to the intolerable actions committed by men in modern society.
"In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want," she wrote. "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."prevnext
Backlash began to pour in on Twitter, with many women standing against Bialik's stance.
"I know it makes some women feel safer if they attack other's choices — thinking someone made a 'bad' choice means you choose differently and avoid assault," author Jessica Valenti wrote. "But that's not how any of this works. Your choices don't lead to assault, the abuser's choices do."
"This is disgusting. [Bialik] is placing blame on victims and forgetting that rape and assault are about power, not about desire," author Eve L. Ewing wrote."
Mayim Bialik is suggesting that Weinstein's targets--many of whom were children at the time of his offenses--could have avoided being harmed if they were good girls like her who didn't get manicures. Which is both offensive and flat-out wrong.— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) October 14, 2017
Sad it still needs to be said: people who look, dress all kinds of ways are also sexually assaulted or harassed. https://t.co/KR074UPKS6— Irin Carmon (@irin) October 14, 2017
But that's not how any of this works. Your choices don't lead to assault, the abuser's choices do.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) October 14, 2017
One of Bialik's biggest critics was fellow actress Patricia Arquette.
The Medium alum publicly called out Bialik and shared her own horrifying experience with sexual harassment.
"I have to say I was dressed non-provocatively at 12 walking home from school when men masturbated at me," Arquette wrote. "It's not the clothes. It is also not outrageous for anyone to expected to be treated in a professional matter by anyone in a professional relationship."
It is also not outrageous for anyone to expected to be treated in a professional matter by anyone in a professional relationship.— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) October 14, 2017
The Big Bang star has already responded to her critics and thanked her supporters.
"I'm being told my New York Times piece resonated with so many and I am beyond grateful for all of the feedback," Bialik wrote. "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 behavior. Anyone who knows me and my feminism knows that's absurd and not at all what this piece was about.0comments
"It's so sad how vicious people are being when I basically live to make things better for women."
She then added that she will be discuss her opinion on a Facebook livestream with the New York Times on Monday morning.prev