With the recent Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal, many women have come forward to tell their personal stories of being harassed by Weinstein. The scandal has also opened up a large and much-needed conversation on sexual harassment, with everyone from celebrities and not, telling their personal stories of being sexually harassed.
As big as this issue has been there are still people who utter statements such as, “She looks like that and was raped?.” Recently Big Bang Theory actress Mayim Bialik released an op-ed piece on the Weinstein scandal, titled Being A Feminist In Weinstein’s World. The article has been extremely controversial with the actress making statements about ‘not looking a certain way won’t attract men’, ‘not purposely acting “flirtatious” with men to protect herself’, ‘not being interested in plastic surgery like many women’. She goes on further to speak about how she’s experienced the upsides of not being a ‘perfect ten’ and how because of her lack of desire to modify herself, that she saves herself from getting harassed by men.
Bialik is definitely not the only woman (or person in general) who is perpetrating the harmful ideology that women have to look a certain way to be sexually harassed. This idea that a woman has to be outwardly attractive for a man to make sexual advances toward her is harmful and stifling to bringing awareness about sexual harassment. By pushing the idea that only conventionally attractive women can be viewed as prey by sexual predators, it not only invalidates the experiences of all women, but it also makes it very easy for there to be disbelief when women come forward with their stories. It makes it so that not conventionally attractive women have a much harder time coming forward because of the risk that she won’t be believed because she’s ‘ugly’.
Women who feel this way are also spreading a harmful message to themselves because by feeling that they are not attractive enough they are much more likely to minimize their own experiences. If a women feels she is not beautiful she may be more likely to not believe its possible
With the painful statistics about sexual abuse showing that it’s not any particular ‘group’ of women being sexually harassed, we as a whole have to stop propelling the message that looks have to do with why a women may be sexually targeted The numbers show, one in four women will be sexually harassed in their lifetimes, one in six women will experience attempted or completed rape, one in every seven victims of sexual assault is under the age of six.
Children and adults alike are being sexually assaulted. It’s not dressing provocatively or being physically attractive that gets a child in this disgusting situation, so why should we assume that’s the reason why it happens to adults? Clothing or looks won’t stop someone who inappropriately views you, no matter what.
So, please let’s stop spreading and internalizing that the way a woman looks or is the reason why they get sexually harassed. Please.