If you were to pick an adjective to describe life as religiously observant in Hollywood, “trendy” is just about the last one that would occur to most Americans of faith. While promoting a new culture website, the traditionally observant star of Big Bang Theory Mayim Bialik made this observation in a widely disseminated interview. US Weekly reports,
“I think in general it’s never going to be trendy to be observant or religious in Hollywood hood circles,” she told FOX411. “There are people I know of faith and we tend to congregate together. I study Jewish texts weekly. That’s something positive to me when you’re a person of faith, it stays with you all the time.”
Bialik, 39, explained that she had recently taken a trip to Israel to visit a friend in the Israel Defense Forces, and her fans had reacted angrily.
While a fair amount of the hatred directed at Bialik was anti-Semitic in nature, it also illustrated the growing animus towards anyone of faith in American pop culture.
What is even more headline-catching about Bialik’s interview isn’t just her connection to religion, but also its emphasis on dressing and behaving in a modest nature. In a Jewish parenting site called Kveller Mayim wrote about her beliefs,
As I have discussed at length in my posts about why I choose to embrace certain aspects of tznius, when we guard what parts of ourselves we show, we leave a lot to the imagination of others in a safe way and we learn to develop aspects of ourself that are often not encouraged to develop when people are busy looking at our outsides. “The glory of the King’s daughter is inside” is the pasuk (verse) that is often quoted in this context, but it goes for men as well as women. And as a person who spends much of my life as a public person being observed, judged, and picked apart for how I look, I have come more and more to appreciate the healthy sense of protection that tznius provides me.
Tznius is not just about what you wear; it’s about how women and men conduct themselves. Being humble, not screaming at people from your car when they cut you off, holding your tongue when you are unjustly insulted rather than retaliating and cursing, not doing what Miley Cyrus did at the VMAs the other night; these are all aspects of tznius.
On both modesty and religion, Bialik is definitely going against the grain in the entertainment world. That has not made her everyone’s favorite star. In the same US Weekly article on her religious beliefs, the tabloid discussed how Bialik came under fire from famously left-wing Rosie O’Donnell, who criticized the star on The View while she was a host for dissenting from the party line on the kid’s movie Frozen. Was O’Donnell’s criticism of Bialik because of her views on Frozen or was it because she dares to be different in a town where “less is more” when it comes to faith and clothing?