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An Explanation for the Odd Behavior of Harvey Weinstein: Oct 15, 2017

October 15, 2017 12 comments

As regular readers know, I have previously written two posts (Link 1, Link 2) about this topic. Both were a mixture of some news items about this still developing topic as well as initial speculation about why others in the industry remained silent for so long. To make a long story short, it is very likely that similar behavior is common in the entertainment industry and Harvey Weinstein is unlikely to go down without a series of nasty fight- which might end up exposing other prominent figures in that industry.

We are, however, still left with the unanswered question about the real motivation behind his actions. I mean.. what would motivate a very rich, famous and powerful guy to chase down often unwilling women of far lesser means just to expose himself and jerk off in front of them. While it is certainly possible that the majority of women he propositioned in that manner did indeed go along with the ‘script’ and have sex with him. Why not just hire super-attractive escorts or make an explicit sex-for-money arrangement with women he fancied?

The method used by Harvey Weinstein to proposition known and aspiring actresses/models was not especially efficient in addition to being significantly riskier than just purchasing sexual services from them. What makes his choice of method especially odd is that he seems to be an especially smart, rational and pragmatic guy in his long and very successful professional life. There is also the question as to what pleasure he was obtaining from jerking off in front of often disgusted women.

Conventional feminist-influenced explanations for his behavior ranger from obviously unrealistic to sublimely absurd. There are, for example, theories centered around his behavior was yet another example of “male entitlement”. The people who peddle these theories do not however explain why most men are not turned on by the idea of jerking in front of unwilling women. Others want to blame industry ‘sexism’ for his behavior. But that still does not explain why he did things that way when he could have simply offered those women money for sexual acts.

There is however a different, and far more rational explanation, for his behavior.

Let us start to by asking the simple question- when he did he start propositioning women in that manner? Well.. as far as we know, to date, he was propositioning women in that manner since the mid-1980s. In other words, Harvey Weinstein was propositioning women for at least a few years before he became really famous. In other words, his behavioral pattern was established before he became famous. Subsequent public acclaim and successes simply brought him more opportunities to indulge in that pattern of behavior.

So how did it all start? For starters, he was born to a fairly average middle-class Jewish family in NY. It seems that both he, and his brother, appeared to be smart and driven- even as kids. But his overall upbringing and rather non-elite educational background (SUNY- Buffalo) must have been shared by many tens of thousands of kids- none of whom grew up to be Harvey Weinstein. So what made him the person he ended up becoming?

Part of the answer to that question might lie in an unusual and somewhat tragic event which occurred when he was 10 years old. Long story short- he lost one of his eyes in a playground accident. It took him about 6 months to recover from the accident and it was during this time that he first got seriously interested in the entertainment industry. Basically, a series of events resulting from his losing an eye is what drove Harvey Weinstein to the career which would make him rich and famous.

And this brings us the next question- What other effect did losing an eye at that age have on him? Well.. for one, it would not have helped his social life in school or university. Between his general appearance, lack of inherited money and lack of one eye- his normal sexual advances towards women were likely met with scorn, contempt and very high degree of failure. To put it another way, he likely suffered a lot of humiliation from women during the earlier part of his life. Maybe, he never forget that humiliation.

Given that his behavior towards all those women was largely about humiliating them (through exposing himself, jerking off in front of them or making them have sex with him), it is very likely that he saw it as payback for what he had received before he became wealthy, famous and powerful. That is also why he preferred to impose himself on women rather than quietly pay for sex. It was about redressing his perceived grievances with women. It is also telling that he went after attractive women irrespective of their overall body type, race or fame.

His behavior was, therefore, less about sex and more about payback for all the rejection and humiliation he had received from far less attractive women in the past. And that is also why he started doing it so early on in his career. He just wanted to dish out what he had received, albeit on a far larger scale. To summarize: his behavior was a peculiar manifestation of vengeance and payback, maybe not exactly legal or “nice”- but rational nonetheless.

What do you think? Comments?