“I am truly sorry for causing so much pain, and I hope you all can forgive me,” she wrote, after reiterating that only perpetrators are to blame for harassment and assault.
Pile-ons may be frustrating to witness at times—but the honest truth is that if a well-intended public figure hears a chorus of critique, it can actually have a powerful and positive effect.
It’s been clear to many of us on the sidelines this week that the issues Bialik addressed in the original piece—beauty standards, their pervasiveness in our lives, and their effect on how we carry ourselves—are interesting ones that can be worthy of reflecting on, in their own right.
The issue (and yes, there was a real issue here) arose from the timing and conflating of that discussion with the fairly sickening Harvey Weinstein allegations and the flood of #MeToo posts that revealed many horrifying stories. These were stories that transcended age, appearance, religious and social affiliations, gender identity and expression, proving that there’s actually little one can change about oneself to prevent assault.
As Bialik now wisely acknowledges, any kind of implication that clothing or personal choices can deter attackers is deeply painful to survivors—and it put the onus on them, instead of the people who did the hurting.
So, three cheers for learning and growing and debating, and genuine contrition and accountability—a rare thing these days.