The Climate of Sexual Harassment
Below is my response to the recent truth emerging about a climate of sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.
In my view based on observations how the leaders of humanity in the present days behave,e.g. bullying each other, calling each other short, fat, old…, humanity is still at a very very early stage of development, and sometimes it is most useful for me as a woman to just switch off and accept that things are what they are and my role as a woman is simply not to reinforce and collide with the unpleasant male behaviors towards women – such as sexual harassment, devaluing, demeaning, disrespecting.
I think women spend too much time complaining about the male behaviors and less time practicing negative reinforcement to those behaviors, with their own behavior. Words are cheap.
There is little awareness amongst women and men, that every plant contributes to the surrounding climate. There is a lot of awareness how the surrounding social/political/sub-cultural climate impacts our wellbeing as individual plants and we are all aware that the climate at present is not facilitative of compassion, mutual understanding, love. These values are not in the mainstream of life, but still on the peripheries. But the awareness that each one of us contributes to the climate we don’t like, is lacking.
When a big unpleasant truth is revealed like Harvey Weinstein’s abusive behavior, we need to be asking ourselves ‘how did I personally contribute to this to happen?’. Every woman who has agreed to have sex with a man to advance her career has been contributing to the global climate of sexual harassment. She had a choice. I’m not talking about the women who got raped. But the ones who have agreed – are active participants in the climate of abuse.
There is no point wasting energy on why men are like that, and why are there such nasty guys like Harvey Weinstein…
Don’t give him what he wants and be brave to endure the consequences of not getting any more acting jobs. Don’t adapt to that climate and adjust yourself to that climate.
This element of making a strong stance against the prevailing climate is almost non-existing in the female community.
And the reason for this is the natural intrinsic inclination of women to be adaptive and to choose adapting to the surrounding environment instead of resisting adapting.
This natural inclination of women is either genetically passed on from one generation to another, or is acquired from the socio-cultural environment. Young girls are praised when they are smiling and happy, they are disliked when they are unhappy and disagreeing. These social rewards and punishments have moulded many women into smiling agreeable dolls. Women are much more social and cultural than men and we do care a lot about how we are perceived and how much we are liked, as opposed to men who are much more natural and not that easy to mould into socio -cultural norms.
One of the socio-cultural norms is to be adaptive and being adaptive is seen as a sign of good mental health. Being maladaptive to the surrounding environment is considered a mental health problem or even an illness. Most mental and emotional illnesses are officially seen as problems of adaptation to the world and this is the official medical view in DSM V.
The subtext of our society and culture is: the environment is good, if you don’t adapt to it – you have a mental health problem. Despite examples in history how the individuals who didn’t adapt were the ones that brought the most positive changes. If the scientists in the medieval ages had adapted to the Catholic church, we would still think that the world is flat. If Martin Luther King had adapted to the racism at the time – things would still be the same today. And millions other examples. But despite these examples there is still a dogmatic cult towards adaptability in our present times.
So the most important change we need to make is to expose and destroy this cult towards adaptability and to see adaptability for what it is: facilitating the present status, maintaining the present climate and obstructing change and progress.
It took another symbol of maladaptive behaviors – Courtney Love to expose Harvey Weinstein for the first time, years ago, when everyone else was scared of him. She was the only brave woman and person, out of all men and women who knew what he was doing, who made the first public statement about him that he was an abuser. She was on a red carpet, in front of all the flashing cameras she said: ‘If you are a young actress in Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein asks you to visit him in his hotel room – don’t go’.
Adaptability is a highly dysfunctional behavior which leads to much more mental health problems than the lack of adaptability. The short benefits of adaptability are much less than the long term benefits of lack of adaptability.
Adaptability is also a bi-product of fear, which is a bi-product of feeling powerless and too small to make big changes.
These are all delusions which have been circulating in the collective consciousness and impeding progress.
Every individual can make changes and every voice counts. There are many examples in history when that has happened.
Every plant contributes to the surrounding climate. This is a physical law applicable to the physical climate and it is easily applicable to the social climate.
I am not saying that women and all humans who want to make changes, should be risking their lives and do heroic acts. That is up to the individual to assess how much they want to go in that direction.
But a simple refusal, a quiet resistance with our own behavior, is often enough to create a strong message that something is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. If all women who had agreed to have sex with Harvey Weinstein had refused him, he would not have ended up abusing women for 30+ years. That climate would have been terminated much earlier.
If all people stop eating meat – then the meat production will stop. There is no point complaining how greedy those manufacturers are and how they are abusing the animals and exploiting the animals. It is a waste of energy and time. A simple quiet behavioral stance of refusing to consume animal products will be sufficient to terminate the practice of abusing animals.
And this is how individuals today still don’t own and don’t understand their power or choose not to own and understand their power because it is so easy to blame politicians, governments, corporations. Us versus them. I’m so good and so innocent, but they are so bad.
They are only trying to serve the demand. Every politician is only trying to serve the majority. If the majority changes and swings in the other direction – the politician will change too. A politician will never go against the majority. And who makes the majority? The individuals.
All the power is in the individual and until this awareness grows in humans we will never be able to create better social, political, cultural, economical climates for ourselves.