Beauty & Body Image

Mayim Bialik: “The upside of not being a ‘perfect ten’: no men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms”

455E719E00000578-4982764-Ridiculous_Mayim_defended_herself_writing_Anyone_who_knows_me_an-a-102_1508093935129 - Mayim Bialik: "The upside of not being a 'perfect ten': no men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms"

41 year-old Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik recently wrote an article for the New York Times in response to the numerous sexual harassment and assault claims involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – and she received a lot of criticism for her piece, with various sources claiming that she is ‘victim-blaming’:

I entered the Hollywood machine in 1986 as a prominent-nosed, awkward, geeky, Jewish 11-year-old — basically a scrawnier version of the person I am today. Back then we didn’t have the internet or social media or reality TV, but I didn’t need any of that to understand that I didn’t look or act like other girls in my industry, and that I was immersing myself in a business that rewarded physical beauty and sex appeal above all else.

I grew up constantly being teased about my appearance, even from members of my family; my nose and chin were the main objects of discussion. As a teenager I started obsessing over the possibility of a nose job so that I would look more like Danica McKellar, with a chin job to balance things out. Soon I wondered if I should get breast implants to look more like Christina Applegate, who got so much attention for her curves. I consistently felt like a troll compared to many of my contemporaries. A “TV Guide” critic described me, in a review of the pilot episode of “Blossom,” as having a “shield-shaped” face of “mismatched features.” I never recovered from seeing myself that way.

I always made conservative choices as a young actress, largely informed by my first-generation American parents who were highly skeptical of this industry in general — “This business will use you up and throw you away like a snotty tissue!”— and of its men in particular: “They only want one thing.” My mom didn’t let me wear makeup or get manicures. She encouraged me to be myself in audition rooms, and I followed my mother’s strong example to not put up with anyone calling me “baby” or demanding hugs on set. I was always aware that I was out of step with the expected norm for girls and women in Hollywood.

As a “nontraditional”-looking woman, I came back to an industry that had me auditioning for the “frumpy friend” or the “zaftig secretary,” though I eventually landed a role that has earned me four Emmy nominations. Is it a surprise that I play an androgynous, awkward, late bloomer?

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.

I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.

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.

Thoughts?

Read the full piece HERE!

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30 Comments on "Mayim Bialik: “The upside of not being a ‘perfect ten’: no men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms”"

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Annie
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Annie

I think we can all agree that Hollywood is a complete sh*tshow when it comes to what happens behind the scenes

Chloë
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Chloë

Ugh. For someone so well-educated and intelligent, she can really, really be out of touch with what’s appropriate socially/politically. Even if her sentiment has merit, it’s very poorly timed and comes across as bitter, smug and victim-blaming, even though I genuinely doubt she actually feels that way. Just very misguided.

Michellem.
Guest
Michellem.

Agree I think wrong timing and not even victim blaming so much as a little bitter and envious of “perfect tens”.

She does have a point though, being beautiful has lots of perks but it comes with much more unwanted attention and even harassment. A lot of men think they are entitled to you esp if you decide not to wear a burqa. That is totally the mens fault, but it’s still true. In this day and age, even if you’re moderately attractive, and wear something remotely sexy you have to be prepared with the reality you might be harassed.

Missy
Guest
Missy

Agreed. Totally agreed. It’s the same reasoning men make women wear burkas. Modesty is, to me, biblical yes but a choice always. The way a woman presents and grooms herself is CHOICE always.

This whole comment turned my stomach. If hasn’t been sexually harassesed, she couldn’t possibly understand that an accident of aesthetically-pleasing features DO NOT, in any way, solicite undesired sexual attention, nor make it okay. The way a person was BORN doesn’t make it okay for them to be a higher target for harassment! Jesus.

Guest
SarahS

Well, not everyone can be ugly. /s
But seriously, it’s kind of sad to hear that she feels she has to dress down to not be harassed. It sounds a bit like defeat to me, like she’s accepted that this is the way things are, and the way things will always be, so she doesn’t even bother to change them or to address the underlying issue.

Aga
Guest
I don’t think this is the case, tbh. I decided to dress down, because a) I started to be more aware of the impact of skin the the human mind. My boyfriend, who stopped watching p~~~ 2, 3 years ago says that more than average skin exposure (like commercials) already stimulates him. He is a responsible and self aware person, so he doesn’t act it out, just as little as he choses to be controlled by the p~~~ industry. He was addicted. b) I moved to Israel and there is one city in the North where only religious people live.… Read more »
Guest
SarahS
I was specifically referring to this passage in her interview: “I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise.” Which sounds to me as if she dresses a certain way not because that’s her preferred style, but because she feels the need to protect herself in this way. I think everybody should wear what they like, and if you feel most comfortable dressing down, then that’s great, and if someone else feels comfortable in a short dress, then they should be able to wear it without fear that they are putting… Read more »
Lizzilla
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Lizzilla

What really irks me about this is that it ignores the fact that in real life you don’t have to be a perfect 10 to sexually harassed. In fact, I feel like a lot of creeps will target women they feel are less confident or more vulnerable/insecure or awkward.

ule
Guest
I guess she doesn’t have to walk the streets on foot anymore, or use public transport. Also, comments like “great a**” do not make a woman’s day better when she already had a miserable one (or ever!). What is wrong with some (so many!) men, and how they got to that point, I will never know. I get repelled by men (some of them supposedly my friends or colleagues) who describe a woman’s appearance as a “harvester” – is that supposed to charm me, or why would you say anything like that (to anyone)? It comes from the same place,… Read more »
Sarah
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Sarah

This. I think what matters a lot too is where you grow up. Whether the town and neighborhood is safe, wheter you go to a “good” school etc.
She probably grew up really sheltered if she never experienced anything like that.

Gen
Guest

Where do you live that you’re getting harassed so much? I’m not trying to be argumentative or start anything, but I almost never get harassed so I’m genuinely curious. i used to live in Nashville, TN and maybe I’d get catcalled once a month and now I’m in Prague and the most I’ve been harassed was some drunk creeper staring at my b~~~~ on the subway. Is the more of a regional problem or something?

Tw0_Sc00pz
Guest
Tw0_Sc00pz

In NYC, my a$$ and crotch get grabbed regularly on the crowded trains, always right before the doors open–it’s the perfect crime. I’ve also been mugged twice so cities are just high crime and miserable. I’m not going to even try to remember how many times I’ve seen people defecating, urinating, or otherwise exposing their person regions in NYC. I get hives when I’m out in NYC (but not Boston for some reason) and I have to keep my headphones on because so many people are trying to solicit you or be rude.

Stellar
Guest
Stellar
Yeah, not the same. You put your headphones on and are left alone, right? Lol, if only headphones protected girls and women from constant scrutiny and surveillance. Had your ‘a$$ and crotch grabbed’ (on the regular, I highly doubt that it, but okay let’s give you the benefit of the doubt)? By WHOM? By a man, right? And that’s what women are talking about MEN assaulting, abusing, controlling, with impunity. See, that’s what patriarchy is. Terrible, ain’t it? And you’re not even subject to 0.1% of what girls and women endure. Further, if you’re really bothered by it you need… Read more »
Tw0_Sc00pz
Guest
Tw0_Sc00pz
Really projecting a lot on to me personally when you don’t know me at all. I’m flattered you find me so fascinating! 1. Headphones help with people (all genders) from stopping you to sell you things, talk to you, or get you to sign stuff, etc. It’s very common in big cities and it can be overwhelming if you’re introverted. It has nothing to do with “scrutiny” or “surveillance.” 2. Are you actually trying to invalidate my sexual assault? Really? For real? Please go ride the 6 train up and down Manhattan a few times during rush hour, stand by… Read more »
Stellar
Guest
Stellar

Headphones don’t help girls and women. If men want to harass headphones are no barrier for the female sex. All women know this.

Yeah, I highly doubt that.

We’re not talking about the vagaries of city life. We’re talking about girls and womens’ experiences of harassment and abuse but you’ve conveniently changed the conversation. Mmmm, wonder why?

#goawayMRA

Girls and womens’ lived reality is the topic here.

iisa
Guest
iisa

awful response 🙁

Snugglepup
Guest
Snugglepup

You don’t have to anything else but a woman to be harrassed. Even if you’re off the chart in the number system…

Diddy
Guest
Diddy

I’m sorry but f you Mayim. Letting your conservative upbringing and the fact that you don’t consider yourself ‘attractive enough to be sexually harrased’ get in the way of feeling empathy towards fellow women is downright cruel.

Nora
Guest
Nora

Why is she making it about her when she has no experience of being harassed? She is adding nothing to the conversation.

Guest
martasara

Honestly one of the reasons for which I’m not afraid to walk home late at night is the same..sad but true. (Yes, I know that’s it’s not always the case, and that ‘everybody can be harrassed’, but if we’re being honest, it DOES happen a lot less if you are not attractive, and a lot more if you are).

ebby
Guest
ebby

how do you know for sure it happens to more often to attractive women? I know plenty of “unattractive women” myself included that get street harassed. Can you provide articles, stats, field research to support your claims?

Guest
martasara

No, you are right, I can’t. I was just speaking from personal experience (having gone to school with a Taylor Swift look-alike and hearing what men said to her was horrifying). I agree with what others have said, it was really uncalled for her to write this article.

Heather
Guest
Heather

I don’t think she is victim blaming. She is just offering another perspective, hers, the one that she experienced, and furthering dialogue around standards in Hollywood and society. I don’t think it is insensitive for her to soften how she felt to be PC. People critiquing her for being ‘insensitive’ – is she not allowed to express an opinion and have dialogue around it?

Misch
Guest
Misch

Completely agree. I don’t think she meant it in the way people are reading it. I’m not saying I know her intentions for sure but when I was reading I didn’t find anything offensive to be honest.

michelle.m
Guest
michelle.m

Stupid. We have to remember young boys are targeted just as much on hollyweird if not more than women. Unless I hear a woman out with a megaphone begging to be sexually harassed then shes not asking for it.

Stellar
Guest
Stellar
It’s not about boys being harassed though, is it? While I’m not negating that (some) boys (and men) do get harassed, in this particular instance, the issue is that ALL girls and women are historically ALWAYS the targets of patriarchal control and abuse with impunity. From the moment of conception (female foetuses are aborted more often than male ones) to death, girls and women are overwhelmingly the target of abuse by men. It’s the way that all patriarchal societies ‘work’. In short, this is not about some male victims but ALL women ones. I’m kind of tired of the issue… Read more »
Skyler
Guest
Skyler

So basically if you’re a pretty girl and get assaulted/abused in any way, it’s your fault for looking good. If you didn’t want to go through those things, you’d better look bad and never wear make up or diet. That’s the main message in what she said.

…I’m still processing the depths of her insensitivity.

Uma
Guest

So, Mayim, “feminists” don’t work out, right? Everyone is taking that word and twisting it to fit whatever their feeling is that day. Exercise is good for your. End of. The rest is just out of touch with reality, but that is typical of Hollywood. It’s funny how she dismisses others in la la land, but she is just as much in la la land as those she shames.

Nobody
Guest
Nobody

Get the F outta here with this “perfect 10” nonsense. Women of ALL types of looks, races, professions, etc. are subjected to potential harassment and assault from any number of men under any type of circumstance. I’m a solid “7” wearing normal clothes walking with my groceries to my car in the parking lot, minding my own business, and I’m catcalled by some guy I don’t know…tell me how can that be avoided Ms. Biyalik? Not a “perfect 10” but guess us “7s” get harassed too, huh? Or maybe I was being too flirtatious? What a load of BS.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa
So basically a long, convoluted way of saying her situation is somehow better than the victims of sexual harassment or assault? It really sucks to be a woman these days. no matter what arena or stage of life you are in, there is constant competition and judgement, often times harsher criticism comes from women themselves. She came off as the “im so smart with my millions of fancy degrees , i am NOT your average tarty, dumb actress who has to strip for a living” but in reality she sounds so bitter and full of jealousy and resentment. It’s almost… Read more »
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