In the wake of the New Yorker and New York Times expose of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault revelations and ensuing stories, let’s presence something. Myself, almost every woman, and some men, have experienced sexual harassment and/or sexual abuse. It is symptomatic of a bigger issue in our culture - violence against women, which bleeds into other issues - racism, ageism, sexism, patriarchy, and elitism. We have a golden opportunity for a massive shift when millions of “me, too” graphics from women and men are circulating on social media. Let’s be clear though: Disclosure is not resolution and an apology is not an amends. An amends is a recognition and acknowledgement of harms that were made and intentional, consistent actions to be different in words and behavior. Let’s heal this wounded archetype in the collective unconscious.
The revelations about Harvey are not simply a tale of one man’s predatory behavior toward women and bullying towards men that led to his downfall. It is a watershed moment, a calling out of an archetype and wounding often associated with fame, status, and the abuse of power paradigm that is rampant in our society. Why now? indigenous wisdom says that this is a time when all that is hidden will be revealed so that it may be healed. So, will this conversation initiate a shift or just be headline news for a few weeks and then go unaddressed? If we continue to focus solely on Harvey’s monstrous actions, and not hold everyone to a standard of decency, there is a risk of downplaying the prevalence of this behavior in our society.
When a powerbroker like Harvey Weinstein, crashes and burns, people often add fuel to the fire, some may even bring marshmellows to share as they watch the flames scorch his life to the ground. There is a vast difference between accountability, responsibility and shaming. When people dehumanize other people, make fun of their looks, call them names, it creates a divisive, “I’m better than them,” separation, which it makes it acceptable to destroy them. Think of Nazis and White Supremacists categorizing Jews and Blacks as subhuman, and women and children considered collateral damage in wars. This dehumanizing behavior is genocidal. We must rehumanize and restructure the infrastructure regarding the value of all people and human relationship. It is not at all okay for Harvey or anyone else to harass and bully men and assault women. The Weinstein way was known; perhaps the predatory sexual behavior not so much. Where does culpability for ennabling his and others behavior lay? Was prevention and intervention attempted? Quentin Tarantino’s admission, while heartfelt, is curious. Is it damage control for his career? Did those who knew become selectively deaf and blind to his behavior to ensure that nothing would impede their rising careers? We can’t control another’s behavior but we can certainly call it out.
Weinstein’s behavior is not an anomaly — think Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Roy Price, Jason Mamoa, Casey Affleck, Larry Nassar and #45. When #45’s statements that fame gives him the right to grab a woman by the pu**y was made public, his predatory behavior was dismissed as, “locker room banter,” even by his wife. What does this say to young men and women?
Harvey’s highly visible collapse begs a bigger question for parents, and, young people beginning their careers. What can be done to eliminate this boorish, predatory behavior by others? Are there safeguards that can be taken towards people when either their fame/power or status to affect another’s livelihood and well-being is equal to their blatant disregard for others, particularly women? What about factory workers who have to deal with lecherous bosses? In my work, I hear mothers and parents say vehemently that they want their girls and boys to be the bosses of their bodies, for each to have a clear, “Yes,” and ”No,” and, for their boys to be able to hear the, “No.” Yet, how does a conscious parent raise considerate children when what tweens and teens see on social media, TV, and film, is the glamorization of fame, sex, violence and power: Girls as sexual objects. Wealth is power. Fame/Power excuses bad behavior, manners, and laws. Agreements are made. Payoffs happen. Silence bought. Transgressions overlooked. Media owned. Sexual favors negotiated or demanded. High profile marriages as business arrangements. Young, beautiful people marrying older, rich people of status and wearing golden handcuffs. They may not be able to get out of the gilded cage they entered very easily but it’s the art of the deal, right? Quid pro quo.
Are you concerned about the messages that our children are receiving? Don’t we want all children to feel empowered, for our girls to know that there are no limits to what they can achieve without having to trade sexual favors? Let’s encourage all children to strive for excellence, and for them to feel good about their efforts and accomplishments. Let’s transform the fame and abuse of power shadow. There is nothing more impactful than seeing a person who holds a position of prominence in our society take responsibility for their actions and make sincere amends and restitution.
Power, fame, status and wealth inflates the ego and doesn’t evoke an authentic sense of self worth, peace of mind or internal fulfillment. It will turn a person's head fast, especially if fame is the barometer of self worth. The taste of fame can create an insatiable hunger for more. Entitlement quickly replaces humility. Monsters are created. I was a full-time strategist of fame and visibility in the entertainment industry for 12 years and now will only provide this service very selectively. I have had amazing experiences, and, conversely, I have seen the fame shadow in people both in front and behind the camera. There are those who walk their talk, putting their fame and power to good use, and those who don’t.
Emma Thompson said in a recent interview that the predatory sexual behavior in Hollywood is a gender issue. I would like to add that abuse of power is no respecter of person, ethnicity or sexual identification though we do see it affect women predominantly. What can be done? Let the integrity, courage and bravery of promiment people lead them in speech and action to stand for respectful treatment of women before violence occurs. Let’s transform how we fundamentally think of and treat women and children. Let’s help parents who do the most important work there is - parenting consciously. Let’s stop telling our children to respect adults who don’t deserve it. Let’s encourage authenticity, truth, transparency and accountability from everyone, in all stations and situations. Let’s empower our girls and boys to know that they don’t have to trade sex or endure harassment to achieve success. Let’s celebrate real superheroes, caring parents and teachers, those who help them and those who help others. Lets celebrate people who strive to be better, do better. Let’s have dialogues about power, sex, and fame in ways that eliminate cycles generational abuses and shame. Let’s create legislation that genuinely encourages power with practices and policies. Let’s empower all women economically and personally with opportunities to be leaders. Let’s fine employers who harm their employees. Let’s have checks and balances in place to ensure that no one abuses power. Let’s give people more power than corporatations. Let’s bring justice to the justice and foster care system. Let’s stay awake. Let’s learn how to love ourselves and each other.
It’s been my experience that people don’t change unless they have to. Whatever a person’s nature is before they achieve wealth, status, and power, it will be amplified when they have those things. Let’s look past the sensationalism of each example of Harvey’s sick behavior and seize this ripe opportunity to educate, empower and engender a lasting paradigm shift. Let’s transform the Harvey Weinstein archetype and help to end this and other types of violence NOW. Hurt people, hurt people. Empowered people, empower people. Physical, sexual, emotional, mental and verbal abuse — any way you slice it, it’s still violence. It truly is an act of supreme self-love and generosity to pull the covers on abusive behaviors from people, policies and institutions. We must each be the living legacy of change that we wish our children to see.
Nicknamed Mama Wendy by her clients, Wendy Silvers is a sought after speaker, teacher, moms empowerment coach, strategist, Agape spiritual therapist, author and activist. She inspires moms to raise their children with heart and consciousness and engage their unstoppable power as influencers, leaders, and change agents. Wendy braids her intuitive gifts, strategist skills, nonviolent parenting training and mama wisdom to help mothers birth and earth a life of grace, vision and prosperity. Wendy is the Founder/President of the Million Mamas Movement. You may reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org