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Mayim Bialik Has Apologized For Her Op-Ed About The "Flip Side" Of Sexual Harassment

The Big Bang Theory actor was dragged online after writing a New York Times op-ed that suggested women dress more modestly to avoid harassment from men.

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Ever since news broke about the sexual assault allegations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, women have been coming forward with their own stories about harassment and mistreatment.

Yann Coatsaliou / AFP / Getty Images

In the past 10 days, more than three dozen women have made allegations against Weinstein.

On Friday, actor Mayim Bialik, known for her starring role on the 1990s sitcom Blossom and more recently for playing a neuroscientist in The Big Bang Theory, added her voice to the chorus in a New York Times op-ed — and people had very strong feelings about what she had to say.

The New York Times / Via mobile.nytimes.com

The piece, titled "Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World," began with Bialik explaining that she entered the entertainment industry as an 11-year-old, and never felt conventionally attractive after people criticized her looks. She added she "always made conservative choices as a young actress" because her parents warned her that men "only want one thing."

"In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn’t perfect," Bialik wrote. "Nothing — absolutely nothing — excuses men for assaulting or abusing women. But we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in."

Bialik then said she continues to make choices that she described as "self-protecting and wise."

"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."

She ended with a call to other women in her industry. "If 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," she wrote. "The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them."

Many people, including other celebrities, took to social media to slam the actor's assertion that women need to dress modestly or reserve their "sexual self" for private situations.

So @missmayim "advice" is: I was never pretty & never tried to be & ladies, take note if you don't want to be haras… https://t.co/HBMnOi6n0n

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Model Emily Ratajkowski accused Bialik of victim blaming.

VIctim blaming at its finest @missmmayim https://t.co/8DWw6BgRRl

Actor Gabrielle Union took to Twitter to take down the idea that dressing modestly would have saved her from being raped.

Reminder. I got raped at work at a Payless shoe store. I had on a long tunic & leggings so miss me w/ "dress modestly" shit.

Actor Patricia Arquette, who has accused Weinstein of harassment, said she was sexually assaulted as a 12-year-old. "I have to say I was dressed non provocatively," she tweeted.

.@missmayim I have to say I was dressed non provocatively at 12 walking home from school when men masturbated at me. It's not the clothes.

Others took particular issue with Bialik's suggestion that harassment is tied to how a woman dresses. Even "friends in niqab," one woman tweeted, "get harassed."

Respectfully, this doesn't work. I cover my entire body+hair+ get harassed. Have friends in niqab who get harassed. https://t.co/5F6Wwd7eaN

People noted that "people who look, dress all kinds of ways are also sexually assaulted or harassed."

Sad it still needs to be said: people who look, dress all kinds of ways are also sexually assaulted or harassed. https://t.co/KR074UPKS6

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And that "you don't have to be hot to get sexually assaulted."

Someone tell mayim bialik you don't have to be hot to get sexually assaulted

Still, Bialik's op-ed had a few supporters. Author Anne Lamott called it the "the best thing in DAYS."

The best thing in DAYS: I love this so much. Opinion | Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World https://t.co/gFSim3Cbhh

Others said Bialik's views were relatable.

.@missmayim I love love love love love love what you wrote in @nytimes and so relate. Amazing. https://t.co/733a405xER

Bialik addressed the backlash Sunday in a Twitter post, saying that her words had been taken out of context by a "bunch of people." Taking issue with the accusations that her piece amounted to victim blaming, she wrote: "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."

Being told my @NYTimes piece resonated w/ so many. Also see some have taken my words out of the context of the Holl… https://t.co/EloAVynMJK

Three days later, Bialik shared a new response to the backlash, which made it very clear it would be an apology note and ended with a hope that people could forgive her.

"Let me say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry," Bialik said in statement posted on Twitter. "What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted; you are never responsible for being assaulted."

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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