The think pieces about Harvey Weinstein have begun, one of which has come courtesy of Hollywood long-timer and outspoken person Mayim Bialik. Mayim has been working in Hollywood since she was 11 years old, so she decided to come forward with her thoughts on being a feminist in a sexualized culture that benefits people like Harvey. It didn’t go over too well.
The New York Times published an op-ed piece written by Mayim on Friday titled: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World. Mayim talked about arriving in Hollywood as a “prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 11-year-old” and realizing from a young age that the industry sort-of ran on pretty. On top of being awkward, she also claims she dressed modestly and her mom told her to stay away from gross grown men. As such, she claims she never really dealt with the Harveys of Hollywood.
“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.”
Mayim further stressed that people can’t be “naïve” about the culture we live in (ie. one in which sex sells or books you gigs). She ended by saying that people who aren’t a “perfect 10” like herself can rest assured that someone out there finds them stunning, irresistible, and worthy of attention. She could have ended there, but unfortunately she steered the train into problematic junction by adding: “The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.”
The Washington Post pointed out that Mayim’s op-ed got a lot of bad feedback. Some people accused Blossom of victim-blaming, and suggesting women have the responsibility in not getting sexually assaulted or harassed. Mayim didn’t understand why people were so pissed off, and she addressed all criticism on Twitter. Mayim swears her intention wasn’t to victim blame.
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) October 15, 2017
As she said, Mayim did a Facebook live event this morning. Mayim, who claims she was staying off social media, said it had been brought to her attention that people thought she was implying that you could protect yourself from sexual assault by the clothing you wear or behavior you exhibit. She says she’s sorry for that. Again, not her intention. She says she was speaking to her experience and not trying to make a broad generalization about sexual assault.
“I’m a human being, and there’s a lot that I’ve chosen not to share, but absolutely I am deeply, deeply hurt if any women who has been assaulted – or man – thinks that in any way I was victim-blaming.
What I’m talking about specifically, is the culture of Hollywood, the way that women are encouraged to present themselves, and the way that men encourage women to present themselves. For me, I feel protected in my industry more when I keep parts of me private than if I did not do that.
That may not be true for all women. I’m not saying that makes me immune to abuse or assault. I’m not saying that the way any woman dresses holds them responsible for being assaulted.”
Oh Mayim, of course you can only speak to your own experiences. But in Harvey Weinstein’s case, I don’t know if specific clothing choices would have mattered. What am I saying? Of course clothing wouldn’t have mattered. Modest, immodest, whatever. Harvey Weinstein probably would have taken a meeting with someone dressed in the Phillie Phanatic costume if he had even the most remote suspicion that there were boobs somewhere underneath.