Featured image credit to: The Wrap
Are you ‘shocked’ by the Harvey Weinstein scandal? I’m not. I’m shocked something wasn’t said sooner, say when the pedophile documentary came out all but fingering one of the founders of BitCoin and his Hollywood power circle. That’s right all you BitCoin lovers, know what you are supporting. But I’m absolutely not shocked that some Hollywood lech used his disproportionate power over wannabe starlets. And while nothing would make the victims of assault guilty, abuse like this happens (and will continue to happen) because men and women groom their daughters from a very young age into soul destroying “people pleasing” compliance and by extension financial dependency.
And parents, I am talking directly to you because you have the ability to create real change beyond a hash tag social media campaign that won’t outlast this week. The disabling of our girls starts young, when you are not having conversations about money in your home or you are not encouraging your daughter to think about being a small business owner of, say, a lemonade stand. It starts when you tease her for being money aware – which is often frugal, as if this is a bad thing. It continues when mothers show their own ignorance around money matters, and either explicitly or implicitly treat money as a domain cordoned off for men. It further continues when you gift her for good behavior or hold her to different standards than her brother for chores.
Disabling hits “The Point of No Return” when you are desperate for her to conform, in hopes – secretly - that the local Queen Bee includes her. Or maybe you convince her that conforming is safer, instead of celebrating her ability to excel in the absolutely abnormal or unusual (Math and/or ‘individual’ sports in my day). I have never met a Queen Bee child who grew up to be anything less than a manipulative nightmare of an adult wielding exclusion and cruelty over inclusion and a celebration of diversity. This insanity continues right through high school to many organizations such as sororities and other female-centric groups that favor conformity over originality or excellence. The irony is that these groups pretend to promote female empowerment under the false guise of "tradition".
All this but guarantees that the horror of Harvey Weinstein in all aspects of life from domestic violence to work place harassment will continue because power corrupts and you have disabled participants who have been groomed to please. And unfortunately a byproduct of this is that some people will compromise their physical selves to get from Point A to Point B faster. But anyone who believes that it is necessary to accept degradation for advancement is as powerless as a child seeking approval from a parent or a peer group.
This sorry cycle of the abuse does not have to happen to your daughter, and if it does she can be empowered to manage the situation in a way too few women are taught at all. My advice? Get over the parsimony of pleasing and equip yourself and your daughter with financial and legal knowledge. You need to tell her and show her that she is entitled to fair pay. You need to show her how to manage and invest money. You need to understand workplace rights and explain that she is entitled to report inappropriate language and actions. She has to feel not only entitled but also good about leaving a job to remove herself from a bad situation. Say: Not In My House will my daughter remain ignorant of all that truly matters to being financially enfranchised.
Most importantly of all, your daughter is entitled to believe there is more than one pathway to financial success rather than through just one job, one guy or one grotesque, abusive, slob producer. When women feel that they are financially empowered and know their legal rights from a young age, all sorts of improved long-term decision-making and boundary setting takes place in adulthood. This does not guarantee that they will not be harassed, but it increases the likelihood that they can more skillfully manage an exit strategy if they face harassment.
And I hate to sound like a broken record, but knowing how to plan into the future financially, and knowing how to invest money brings a profound sense of power because it says this: “I do not need to put up with one ounce of your sh*t because I know how to create income streams so as not to be dependent on anyone or anything other than my own money.”
So instead of #MeToo, consider #NotInMyHouse and make sure your daughter is equipped with enough financial and legal knowledge to throttle with full confidence any Harvey Weinstein that may cross her path.