How to Raise Sons Who Won’t Turn Out Like Harvey Weinstein

Miriam Weinstein and her son Harvey Weinstein

What would Miriam Weinstein say? Yes, even Harvey Weinstein had a mother.

She passed away several years ago at age 90, so she didn’t live to see her golden boy and powerhouse film producer go on trial for multiple counts of sexual harassment. According to news reports, Mrs. Weinstein, photographed with her son above, was alternatively nagging and nurturing, offering advice on how to run her son’s movie studio and also bringing him pastries.

Martha Kavanaugh at her son Brett’s confirmation hearing

You Want to Talk About Scary?

Let’s set aside for now the fact that it has long been a scary time for women of all ages in America. My daughter, a young woman now, gets harassed on the street, in the subway, and in the workplace. When she goes for a run, she always has to be mindful of surroundings. We women know how to avoid eye contact and how to avoid being alone in the wrong places. We’ve learned not to live in a ground-floor apartment and where to park our always-locked cars. These everyday precautions reflect our scary reality.

On the Spectrum

Rape and sexual assault are one end of a spectrum of conduct. But myriad other behaviors-harassment, sexist jokes, objectifying women-can all set the tone for sexual abuse. As little boys, our sons were subjected to a barrage of cultural messages about what it means to be a guy. When I was raising my 30-year-old son, strict gender norms dictated everything from what toys he should play with to what colors he should wear. His generation heard how they should “man up” and that expressing affection to another boy was “gay.”

Here Comes the Backlash

Journalist/author. Contributor NYT 20+ years. Also WSJ,, GH, more. Author: Mama’s Boy Myth (Penguin/Avery 2012). Cook. Parent. Queen Latifah fan.

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