The current Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood—and the wider conversation erupting around it, which is seeing more and more women throughout the industry come forward with stories of sexual abuse and harassment—has understandably produced a lot of very different reactions from the celebrity set. These have varied drastically in tone and, frankly, quality, from Kevin Smith pledging to give all of his Weinstein-based residuals to a feminist charity, to Woody Allen basically saying, “Sure, that’s bad, but let’s not go starting a ‘witch hunt,’ yeah?”
One of the more polarizing reactions over the last week was written by Blossom and Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, who published a New York Times piece last Friday titled “Being A Feminist In Harvey Weinstein’s World.” Discussing Bialik’s own experiences as a young actress, wrestling with feelings of inadequacy toward her more conventionally attractive peers, the piece came under fire for passages that sounded like potential victim-blaming:
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.
If you are beautiful and sexy, terrific. But having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life.
And if — like me — you’re not a perfect 10, know that there are people out there who will find you stunning, irresistible and worthy of attention, respect and love. The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.
Bialik initially addressed the criticisms on Sunday, writing that she felt like her words were being taken out of context and twisted:
Earlier this afternoon, though, she issued an apology for the op-ed, stating bluntly, “You are never responsible for being assaulted…I am truly sorry for causing so much pain, and I hope you can all forgive me.”
Regardless of your thoughts on Bialik’s original piece, her latest statement is, at least, undeniably a better, more sincere apology than any we’ve seen from any of the actual men who’ve been accused of harassment and assault in recent weeks.