“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 said. “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.”
The 41-year-old actress went on to note the choices she makes that she deemed to be “self-protecting and wise.”
“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.”
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She continued, “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? 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.”
The op-ed was quickly met with negative feedback and accusations of victim-blaming.
“@missmayim229 I have to say I was dressed non provocatively as a 12 year old when men on the street masturbated at me,” actress Patricia Arquette tweeted on Saturday. “It’s not clothing.”
Another chimed in, “Mayim Bialik missed the perfect opportunity to call out men in Hollywood. Instead she blames women.”
Bialik responded to the backlash on Twitter Saturday evening.
“I’m being told my N.Y. Times piece resonated with so many and I am beyond grateful for all of the feedback,” she said. “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. It’s so sad how vicious people are being when I basically live to make things better for women.”
The actress announced that she would hold a Facebook Live discussion with the newspaper on Monday morning to clear the air.