“She said to me, ‘Will your boys be like this?’ She was asking if, god help me, I’m raising boys who will become men that girls and women fear. Wow. It hit me like a ton of bricks.”
While women continue to come forward with charge after charge against Harvey Weinstein, the film producer and now former film studio executive, claiming he had sexually assaulted them, Mayim Bialik shared what a friend had asked her in light of the controversy:
“Will your boys be like this?”
The Big Bang Theory star and mother of two was understandably taken aback. We can’t even bear the thought of what these women are accusing Weinstein of, let alone think that we could possibly be raising boys who might think that it’s okay for men to have such power and entitlement over women and to be raising girls who subsequently fear men.
But that’s the tragic reality of the world we live in so despite how wrong it may be and no matter how much it makes our skin crawl and insides turn, we still find ourselves clutching our bags in the street and steering clear of dark and dingy alleyways.
With similar sentiments Mayim answered the question she was asked in a video message explaining how she intended on raising her two sons in light of the Harvey Weinstein case.
- Also read: Spotlight on rape of girls
In the video she lists all the things she’s been doing to ensure that her sons do not become the men that women have grown up to fear:
"I teach my sons that everyone is virtually the same," she says. "Meaning, we all have the same hearts. We have the same chemistry. We have the same desire to be loved and respected and protected. Everyone. Boys and girls, men and women, black, white, Asian, Native American, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, any sexual orientation or socio-economic background – we’re all virtually the same."
She explains that everyone has the right to feel safe and explains, "If you put someone in a situation where they don’t feel safe, that’s not okay. And it’s not for you to try and convince them that they should feel safe because they are allowed to have feelings and feelings aren’t facts. So if you are with someone and you discover that they do not feel safe, back off."
"I have already started talking to my sons about this and will continue to do so," she continues. "You do not have the right to touch someone if they don’t want to be touched. That goes for friends, girlfriends, neighbours, even family. And if you don’t want to be touched, even by your own mother, you have a right to not be touched."
- Also read: A great way to teach our kids about consent
4. Common Sense
"I really can’t believe I have to say this but I do. And we do, we all have to say this," she begins. "It is never okay to be intimate or touch someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point that they cannot give consent. Ever, never!"
She asserts that we are responsible for where we are then continues, "If you are in a place where there are bad things going on, leave and report it. If you see people who are grossly intoxicated, throwing up, passing out – leave. It is your responsibility to protect a man or a woman that you see in a dangerous situation. Get out, get help, call the police. That’s on you."
"Scientifically speaking, the human brain doesn’t really behave with great judgement in the teens, and even into the 20s," she explains. "Once you add alcohol or drugs to that brain a lot of decisions made with poor judgment can happen. Do not think that you are special or immune to the effects of drugs and alcohol. In addition, ingesting pornography rarely elevates you as a human being and likely contributes to the degradation and abuse of men and women."
"Every single day respect people that you interact with, but specifically, pay special attention to those who have not been appreciated or represented historically. Women, people of colour, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning friends, and people of different socio-economic statuses are the ones most affected by what we call patriarchy," she says.
- Also read: ‘My daughter was raped!’
Patriarchy, in case you haven’t heard the term often mentioned in hushed tones, if at all, is a system of society by which men hold the power and make important decisions which will undoubtedly affect both men and women, but does not afford any of that power to women.
It’s kind of like when Donald Trump met with 30 other men to discuss access to pregnancy and maternity care in the US and similarly signed off on an order to ban US organisations from helping overseas organisations who promote abortions, also a decision he made in the company of men.
So Mayim’s words on how she intends to raise her boys in light of the Harvey Weinstein case is certainly something we should all take into account when raising our children, but in order to do that it is essential that we first realise that there is clearly a mindset that needs to change.
We need to understand that boys and men are not so fragile that we cannot teach them right from wrong, because that’s essentially what it is. And instead of raising daughters who are scared of men, we should raise sons who actually understand consent and the meaning of the word “no” because your sex is in no way a weapon and does not give you the authority to hurt someone else.
Mayim concluded, "It's your job, it's my job, it is our job to do better than we can even imagine because we have inherited a broken world and it is our job to fix it. It is not your responsibility for you to complete the work, but neither is it for you to ignore it. God help us if we cannot turn this thing around one boy at a time."
So, let me ask you, will your boys be like this?
Will you raise your sons like Harvey Weinstein?
- Supporting rape survivors
- How to know your child is being abused
- How the #MenAreTrash movement is affecting my son
What do you think of Mayim Bialik's response? Tell us by commenting below.
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