NEW YORK — Actress Mayim Bialik said she was deeply hurt that her opinion piece on the sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein drew accusations of victim blaming.
Bialik wrote in a New York Times piece published Friday that she makes choices to be “self-protecting and wise” like dressing modestly and not acting flirtatiously.
She later added that nothing “excuses men for assaulting or abusing women” and women should be able to wear and act however they want.
Bialik responded to social media criticism in a Facebook interview with the New York Times on Monday.
She said women can’t avoid being “the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” She added that she regrets that the piece “became what it became.”
“I am deeply, deeply hurt if any woman in particular who has been assaulted, or man, thinks that I was victim blaming,” she said.
Bialik, who is Orthodox Jewish and the divorced mother of two young sons, said in the original piece that while “absolutely nothing” excuses men’s sexual assault or abuse of women, “we can’t be naive about the culture we live in.” She noted that she took a long break from Hollywood to get a doctorate in neuroscience and admonished young women that “having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life.”
Critics quickly accused Bialik of suggesting that dressing and acting modestly is protection against the kind of behavior Weinstein is accused of.
Mashable internet reporter Chloe Bryan said that Bialik was insinuating that she had avoided harm because of her choices, and that this was “irresponsible and dangerous.”
“Contrary to Bialik’s implications, it’s not just ‘doe-eyed’ women with personal trainers who experience harassment,” she wrote Sunday. “It’s all of us.”
Social media users echoed the criticisms.
Mayim Bialik missed the perfect opportunity to call out men in Hollywood. Instead she blames women. https://t.co/kBJPGXhwI1
— Ines Helene (@inihelene) October 14, 2017