For today’s Badass Women feature, I decided to focus on one woman who I have become absolutely obsessed with over the past couple of weeks. She is a multi-faceted, complicated, brilliant, cerebral/creative woman who has accomplished so much with her life while also spending the time to look inward and find the time to appreciate the good parts that come with the bad.
I am talking about none other than woman who brought both Blossom Russo and Amy Farrah Fowler to life: Mayim Bialik.
I have been a passive fan of Big Bang Theory since it premiered in 2010, which ended up being my first introduction to Bialik. I had never watched Blossom, as it ended its run when I was just 3 years old. So, even looking back at all of her tiny cameos, I’m amazed at how many of my childhood shows she appeared in. But I hadn’t really given her a second thought (other than marveling that she was an actress that actually put the obsessive career aside while pursuing a career of much more importance: neuroscience.) However, when she made a guest appearance on one of my favorite Youtube channels, Good Mythical Morning, and revealed that she had written a book for young women, I knew I had to learn as much about her as I could.
And wow, this woman is amazing. I actually felt guilty that I hadn’t known anything about the amazing work she has been doing on the internet in recent years. Bialik began her career as a child actress in the 1980s, garnering small supporting roles until she landed leading roles in Malloy and Blossom. After Blossom ended in 1995, she attended UCLA and earned a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, with minors in Hebrew and Jewish studies. She married and had kids all while she worked toward her doctorate in neuroscience. She began teaching the subject, but later decided to try returning to acting as an adult, in order to spend more time with her family, which led to her current stint as Amy on The Big Bang Theory and several Emmy nominations.
In 2015, she launched GrokNation, a “lifestyle” website that deals with a variety of subjects including current events, parenting, entertainment, religion and more. GrokNation has become a hub of intelligent conversation and community for women who relate to Bialik — someone who is intelligent and strange and comfortable with herself, someone who is simply trying to navigate life while also asking questions, offering explanations and simply providing some transparency to this thing that often becomes immensely overwhelming: life.
Before I really delved into GrokNation, I first binge-watched Bialik’s personal Youtube channel. What I came away with was this impression of a woman deeply rooted in her spiritual beliefs, her family and her personal values, including why she lives a vegan lifestyle and why she believes science and religion can coexist. She has made several videos that deal with her most personal issues and understandings and presents them in such an intimate and accessible way that really makes one feel that they are not alone.
Bialik recently blew into the wider lens of public attention when she posted her video, “‘Girl’ vs. ‘Woman’: Why Language Matters.” And while I think this is a very, very important conversation, my favorite videos of hers deal with her life on a more personal level. I enjoyed “Hurts To Be Different,” in which she describes why it is still difficult to be strange in an ever-evolving culture. I also enjoyed “Too Emotional” and “Science and Religion,” both of which I can strongly relate to, and which also made me look deeper into what beliefs and values make me, me. I would especially recommend that everyone watch “Science and Religion.” I found that much of what she said resonated with me, especially because I am not traditionally religious.
She talks about life after a divorce and how connections between generations can become much more, signified only by a shared song. Bialik is direct and musing, comforting and frank. She challenges you to question and acknowledge when things have not gone according to expectations. She shows you how to go on and recognize the blessings in your life without ignoring or burying the pain.
She is a voice that we need in today’s society — one that is strong and sure, and does not take any bullshit excuses, but empowers you to change what you can. She is quietly powerful — which might explain why I hadn’t realized all the important work she was doing until now. She doesn’t worry (too much) about adhering to expectations or judgements, and rather fills a need she sees, softly and expertly. Although I may never be a parent — a large puzzle piece of her life — I’ve found myself striving to be like her: conducting deeper philosophical conversations with myself, adjusting my attitude and inner voice, and learning as much as I can so that I may be able to make the same kind of impact on my life, as she has on society.
AND she’s publishing a guidebook of sorts for teenage girls titled Girling Up: How to be Strong, Smart & Spectacular. If I could go back to those years in my life, I’m sure Bialik’s advice would have made such significant changes in my growing up. I even can’t wait to read it as an adult.
I am endlessly fascinated by this strong, confident, inherently real woman. I hope one day I can be like her.
What women have inspired you lately? Why is transparency about sensitive subjects important in our society, especially from celebrities? What did you think about Bialik’s views on the relationship between science and religion? What is your favorite character Bialik has played? Let’s talk.