Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik has continued her feminist discourse a few days after flashing Piers Morgan on Late Late Show with James Corden. She’s chimed in on the recent controversy surrounding feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who ruffled some feathers by offering a potentially unflattering explanation as to why young women may prefer to vote for Bernie Sanders over his fellow Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
At the end of lengthy comments, Steinem said some young women may support Sanders because that’s “where the boys are.” Steinem later apologized, saying she misspoke and her comments were misinterpreted. In a Facebook post, Steinem pointed out the current mobilization of young women and supported their political enthusiasm whether they gravitated towards Sanders or Clinton.
Bialik, blogging on Grok Nation, said perhaps Steinem was saying that some members of the current young generation of women do not have the same connection to feminism that do those of the generations that preceded them.
“Younger women – those who identify as feminist or not – for the most part do not have the sense of urgency older feminists do about working to advance women’s rights.
“Young women today are living the life that the Equal Rights Amendment affords them, but because of time and space – distance from the struggle to create that life – the notion of a continuing feminist movement that stands in opposition to mainstream heterosexual culture is foreign to them.”
The sitcom star and former child actor went on to say that, while other women may feel the gender of a candidate is a non-issue, she is “especially interested in female candidates simply because they are female,” although she would not vote for someone unqualified just to give a woman a boost in politics.
The Steinem controversy came on the heels of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s comment that there was a “special place in hell” for women who don’t help other women. Albright later explained in a New York Times op-ed that she had used the phrase countless times over the past two decades, often to applause.
Albright said that her choice of timing was poor, and given her diplomatic history “one might assume I know better than to tell a large number of women to go to hell.”
During an NPR roundtable on February 13, former state representative Jolene Ivey said she owed the choices she’s been able to make in her career and personal life to women like Steinem, Albright, and Clinton, although she admitted Albright’s words may have been ill-timed. Emily Peck of The Huffington Post told the same panel that barriers to women’s advancement aren’t always visible although they exist.
“You see women — smart women all around you and smart girls, too, but then they drop off. They’re not there, and it’s really a lack of support in the workplace and in our politics for women and the choices they make.”
Canadian columnist Tabatha Southey wrote in The Globe and Mail that she objected to Albright and Steinem, saying the political lesson from the public fallout after their comments was that women hate being told they are “obliged” to vote a certain way because of their gender.
Bialik also wrote, in a separate Grok Nation piece, that she votes for the Democratic party. She describes herself as “socially conservative,” but not politically conservative. She used the phrase “bleeding-heart liberal” to describe herself. Issues such as the death penalty, union rights, and women’s rights drive her to vote for the Democratic party. In the past, Bialik has been outspoken on such cultural issues as clothing options for young women.
Bialik stars in The Big Bang Theory, which airs Thursday nights at 8 pm on CBS.
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