Memo to: Harvey Weinstein
Subject: You are #NotSexy
The times they are a changin’. It’s been a long time coming since you grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, but things are accelerating now. One day, you’re at the top of the heap. You have access to lots of people who help stave off your loneliness in the only ways you know how. The next thing you know, the paid help is running for the hills and your compatriots are squirming. It’s confusing.
Let’s review. You were living the Dream – the American Dream. Hollywood, for goodness sake! You had a voice. Such a powerful voice that anything you imagined could be realized. You penetrated our theaters, our homes, and our conscience with your ideas and your moving pictures. You were larger than life. Yet still, you were lonely.
Understandably, your desire to connect with other people was strong. You’re only human. Your desire to be with women was overwhelming. It came from deep inside and felt so true and honest. So, how could it be bad? Sexual revolution. Free love! Yours for the taking. How did it get mixed up?
Let’s start with sex. What is it, really? A bodily communion. The way we (and lots of other animals) propagate our species. It’s a kind of co-creation that calls for 50/50 participation, genetically at least. And it’s strong. That drive to connect with other living beings does not start with intercourse actually. It starts at birth as a connection between parents and babies. This earliest of experiences establishes our template for desire and empathy — the one we carry around with us for the rest of our lives. Are we boring you, Harvey? Stay with us.
Back to sex. At best, it’s a two-way conversation that fulfills our innermost human need to connect emotionally, physically, spiritually, even evolutionarily. At very best, it’s about empathy. But what if…what if some people are emotionally impotent? What if their earliest experiences robbed them of empathy? What if the system in which they grew up made equal 2-way emotional exchanges impossible?
Unfortunately, that happens a lot for boys because they are “mothered” mostly by women, not men. The co-creative template becomes asymmetrical and skewed. Boys don’t get a chance to interact much with their fathers at that critical pre-verbal period, the period during which the foundation for manhood is established. Instead of helping them build connection, we leave them to their own devices. They learn to think and feel that they are alone in this world. And that’s a problem. Because when you believe you are alone, you must take from the other to feel whole again. Power becomes your tool.
Power comes in many forms. On the one hand, it can look like respect, loyalty, command. On the other hand, it can look like humiliation, competition, violence. Our world was built in its image, and it’s widespread use brought us progress. But it was never really okay. Not for women, the planet, but most especially, not for men. The costs of power have been accumulating in our collective unconscious, and today we are drowning in that pain.
So Harvey, like many before you, you buried that early anger and disappointment, and you got to work. You flexed your power time and again. So many time-honored tools of power were at your disposal: exploitation, hierarchy, humiliation, command, control…even rape. We don’t know exactly which ones you used when, but you do. And so do your victims. Wow, there are so many. But if it’s not two-way, it doesn’t really do the job of filling the holes inside. It’s like junk food – addictive but not nourishing.
Yeah, Harvey, you need therapy. A lot of it. Forget rehab. We are talking 5-day a week psychoanalysis for the rest of your life. You need to learn how to co-create, if you can. Because now that you have been stripped bare of your power, something has become obvious for all to see. You are #NotSexy, Harvey. You are #NotSexyAtALL.
Try not to get distracted by the others who have gone before you. Others who needed power because real, human connection was elusive. #NotSexyAtAll Hugh Hefner had his girls sign contracts to not stray from the mansion or his grasp. His whole schtick was SEX, so that was a real mindbender. Donald Trump had to ”grab ‘em by the pussy,” so inclined are women to run away with repulsion from the sucking sound that is his emotional vacuum. Sad! More CEOs are getting fired for ethical violations than ever before. Our system, absent of empathy and built on power, has become the #OppositeOfSexy. Who wants to #LeanIn to that?
You may be wondering who SHOULD be your mentors? Who is #Sexy, really, in the most divinely inspired, healthy, and co-creative way? Well, this is an excellent question. Look for the people whose empathy is up and waving around. There is the dad/coach who cares more about the kids than winning. So #Sexy. The successful women and men who lean OUT and into more meaningful #Sexy, co-creative work, when they can. Often they can’t. So, they have to try to change the system from the inside. Like the cops who work to increase empathy from the inside-out so they can be in right relationship with the community. Men and Women. Black, white, Hispanic. All #Sexy. By the grace of g-d, some people get through fame with their empathy muscles intact, able to co-create with the rest of us. George Clooney talking about those twins in one breath, and taking your behavior down in the next? #SexierThanEver Pope Francis is #Sexy too (OMG, did we just say that?!).
Are you getting the gist of it, Harvey? Take it to therapy. You can work on it there. In our experience, that kind of work takes a long time. Better get on it.
Thanks to Eva Basilion for her contributions to this post