When Mayim Bialik heard the news of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein — which now involves accusations from more than 30 women, including actresses Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow — she was “outraged, but not surprised,” she said in a video she posted on her Facebook page this week that has since been shared over 33,000 times and viewed 2.7 million times.
The actress, who began her career when she was a child in movies including “Beaches” and as TV’s “Blossom,” and now stars in the hit sitcom “The Big Bang Theory,” said that when a friend asked her if her own sons could grow up to be like Weinstein, her initial reaction was to say, “Of course not!” But the questions made her analyze how she is raising her own sons.
“My boys will be different, and yours will be too,” she said in the video. She said she is already teaching her sons how to be men that women will not need to fear the way women feared Weinstein, including how to treat people equally no matter who they are or what they believe, how to honor other people’s rights and feelings, and how consent works, both for themselves and for the people around them.
“If you don’t want to be touched — even by your own mother — you have a right to not be touched, absolutely, no exceptions,” she explains.
Bialik also reminds her sons, ages 9 and 12, of their own responsibilities. “You are responsible for where you are,” she said. “If you are in a place where there are bad things going on, leave and report it… 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.” She also tells them ingesting alcohol, drugs, or pornography are not good choices.
Never miss a parenting story with the TODAY Parents newsletter. Sign up here!
The actress told TODAY Parents that she knows her sons will, at certain developmental stages of life, be hormonally motivated by a desire for sex. “That’s not a bad thing,” she said, but “using girls and women for sex or being insincere about your interests for the purpose of using someone for sex” is what she is discouraging. She is trying to teach them how to approach sex in a healthy way for both them and their future partners, she explained.
“Sex is not dangerous or bad. Sex before you are old and mature enough to understand the implications can be,” said Bialik. “I happen to fall on the social conservative scale on sex; I think sex is special and meaningful and I think we would all do well to encourage young people to have sex in safe ways that elevate.”
And Bialik is careful not to make her sons think that boys and men are inherently predatory toward girls and women. “I tell my sons how awesome and amazing and beautiful their bodies are, and puberty is their bodies learning to be men,” she said. “I also tell them that they are responsible for behaving respectfully, just like women are.”
Bialik ended her video with a plea to both her sons and her audience. “We are all humans on this planet, and there are a lot of bad people. But it is your job, it is my job, it is our job to do better than we can even imagine,” she said. “Because we have inherited a broken world, and it is our job to fix it. It is not your responsibility to complete the work, but neither is it for you to ignore it. And God help us if we cannot turn this thing around, one boy at at time.”