I was watching Mayim Bialik’s YouTube channel a few days before her slut shaming statement in the NY Times was published. She wrote a think piece in response to the Harvey Weinstein “shocking” assault accusations. Bialik basically said she was told not to dress provocatively as a woman and being raised conservatively as well as not being stereotypically attractive, stopped her from being sexually assaulted. In short, she’s “too ugly” to be raped. This is absurd, since we know anyone can be sexually assaulted (sexual assault doesn’t just include rape, but 500+ sexually non consensual encounters that I shouldn’t have to detail here) and anyone can commit sexual assault. It’s not about what you wear, or how conservative you are, anyone can be a target. Bialik later came out with at statement saying the media twisted her words and victim blaming wasn’t her intention. I’ve written about this many times, but to reiterate INTENTION DOESN’T MATTER. If someone takes what you say as hurtful, accept that. Own up to that, and apologize. Why do we need her two cents anyway?
Now back to her YouTube channel. As much as we don’t want her two cents in the movement, I think it’s important to hear her out. She is a self proclaimed feminist and wants to try to help the cause - even if she ends up doing more harm than good. She has a different “feminism” than others. Ironically, a lot of people take feminism (the equality of women in politics, society, and economics) in different ways and may not agree with what the “mainstream” does with it. And yes, feminism has been marketed in the wrong ways at times - for instance to sell yogurt or T-Shirts, but other “mainstream” feminism that more “conservative feminists” like Mayim disagree with are “slut walks.”
On her YouTube channel she has a discussion with one of the writers for her Grock website. The writer writes a Feminist 101 column and agrees that we should have slut walks to show that it doesn’t matter what women wear when they experience sexual assault. Women can be seen as “sluts” and experience assault, and women can wear extremely modest clothing and be assaulted. Clothes have nothing to do with it, so we should be able to be as “slutty” as we want to be without the fear of being assaulted. Though I don’t agree we should “reclaim” the word “slut,” I do think that slut walks are good and Amber Rose has been doing this for three years to raise awareness, empower women to wear what they want, take control of their bodies, and show society that we’re not going to dress for them, but for us.
Bialik doesn’t really get this as we see in the video. She fears feminism is taking a step in the wrong direction and the writer from Feminism 101 makes a good point, “only time will tell if this is a step in the right direction.” We don’t know what will help or hinder the movement until later, so why not try anything we can to further our cause. We know that women can wear whatever they want, and a slut walk helps that be known. Other things can help further that message too, but this is what the movement is doing, and we should support that. Rather than tear other women down, we should lift them up.
Bialik not only fears feminism is taking a step in the wrong direction, she’s afraid of being left behind because feminism has taken a shape she’s not comfortable with. And at this point, she should really just start to educate herself on what the movement has become. It’s not our job to defend our cause, it’s up to her to keep up with the times.
23 year old English major and ESL Teacher. Currently living in Fortaleza, Brazil. Feminist and kill joy with a cause.