The Cost of Creating Leadership Through Sexuality

If you play with snakes, expect to get bitten.

Sex sells. It’s interesting how this fact suddenly dawned on everyone with the revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year history of misdemeanours and crimes against women, all in the name of a business deal.

The story has launched a whole raft of confessions from men and women in the entertainment industry, and it’s inspired many to reveal, if not their stories, the fact that they, too, have experienced unwanted sexual attention at work.

As I write, I feel a huge amount of resistance to tackling this issue. For me, it feels like a return to something for which I feel compassion for the people who had to endure his advances and frustration at the blind spot that continues to obscure people’s perception on this issue.

It all goes back to my opening line. Sex Sells. Violence Sells. Notice the themes of the movies themselves. What do you see? If the films are not about violence, they’re about sex, and the BEST ones are a mixture of the two.

This has been the case for many years. The studio system grew up on the back of the “casting couch”. According to Wikipedia, as far back as 1910, studio bosses “participated enthusiastically” in the practice, and female actresses used their sexual wiles to gain parts and achieve stardom.

We can only speculate about who started the trend, but one thing is clear. Sexual deviancy comprises a core strand of the Hollywood DNA. And, it’s not limited to men with women. There are numerous stories of members of the Hollywood and theatre “elite” who demand gay sexual favours from aspiring actors as payback for landing big parts.

As I write this, I’m thinking, “If you choose to play with snakes, you can expect to get bitten.” The word “predator” is used liberally to describe Weinstein and others like him, and to some extent it paints a pretty accurate picture. He and his fellow harassers have yet to evolve their psychological level beyond a reptilian level, that much is true.

But that’s where the whole of Hollywood’s psychological level lies. Take a look at the output and you’ll see that the entertainment industry is obsessed with the most basic aspect of human nature as expressed through violence and sex. The conspiracy theorist in me would argue that it’s in their interest to keep consumers from evolving beyond this level of human existence, too. It distracts vital life force from being applied meaningfully.

You could believe that I’m being a tad insensitive. Really? Given that the average Joe knows what Hollywood is like, I’m surprised by the faux protestations of the victims’ innocence. Many have made their fortunes and funded high-profile campaigns by keeping quiet about it.

I fully understand how hurtful a sexual transgression can be. I’ve experienced transgressions on several occasions. Most women and many men have experienced it at some point in their lives. But let’s face facts here. People can be a*%holes. That includes you.

It can be tempting to want to inflict pain on the transgressor, and it can be tempting to want to save yourself and others from this in future. However, moving around the victim — perpetrator — saviour triangle keeps you stuck in a vicious, circular narrative that will disempower you quicker than I can say “blow job”.

When your creative sexual energy is unrefined, you tend to direct your focus outwards, trying to manipulate others’ thoughts, perceptions and responses towards you. This is what drives people to desire fame, and it can get you into a spot of bother. The need for recognition from others leads you to misdirect your precious power by placing responsibility for your creative output in the hands of external sources.

If you believe that you can entrust another to channel your power in a way that serves you, think again. Not only are you being naive, you are inappropriately assigning the responsibility for your power to someone else. Do you really expect others to always have your best interests at heart? Wake UP!!

Try redirecting your creative energy inwards and upwards. Clear out your mental closet to better align your desires with your personal integrity and goals. Once you’ve mastered and strengthened your internal experience, you’ll find that your environment, including people, respond to you differently. Removing energetic entanglements by directing your focus inwards enables you to develop wisdom. You start to flex the muscle of the Witness, a highly-developed aspect of personality that allows you to rise above a situation to assess it honestly and completely, free from judgment and emotional attachment.

Here’s the thing. When the needle of your inner compass shifts from pole to pole, you are far more susceptible to being coerced by others, who have their best interests at heart, not yours. It’s your responsibility to take care of you, it’s you who must decide where your true North lies, and it’s you who must take you there.

I had a brief flirtation with a career in music. In fulfilling an unfulfilled dream, I discovered that what must drive people to pursue a career in entertainment is the need for the audience’s love and adoration. Fortunately, I didn’t need this. I had already learned to love and adore myself. I balanced the payoff of audience appreciation against the high cost of time pursuing a career that bored me. In the end, I chose myself, and I haven’t looked back.

My suggestion to anyone who has experienced sexual harassment is this. Lift yourself out of the emotional tornado and ask yourself, “Where do I give away my power, and what can I do to reclaim it?” Write down responses until you’ve run out of words. Notice what comes up.

Experiences like harassment provide powerful learning opportunities. Through conscious application of intense lessons, you’ll unearth diamond-like brilliance in your leadership.

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