Author’s note: In the time since writing this article, there has been an expose on a spiritual “leader” who matches the description detailed here as a mansplainer who seeks to dominate women through his “spiritual teachings,” a phenomenon which is unfortunately far from rare. His name is Bentinho Massaro and he has been running an organization in Sedona, Arizona with many many followers, which some describe as a cult. He has been recently called to account in an expose written by Be Schofield.
The other day I walked into my local juice place and put in my order. The fellow behind me also placed an order, and as we were each waiting for our deliciousness to arrive, he inevitably struck up conversation with me.
Sidling up, he asked: “So, what did you order?”
“I got the green juice,” I replied with a polite smile.
“Well, you should really try the #6. You need to think ahead to menopause and make sure to get all the nutrients you’ll need,” he added, leaning his elbow casually and knowingly on the counter.
He—a total stranger to me—then proceeded to “inform” (browbeat) me with everything I “needed” to know about that most intimate, feminine change of life. When I did not show interest or enthusiasm, he became very irritated and attempted to actually berate me, apparently to “put me in my place.”
Simultaneously laughing and grimacing, I said goodbye to the owner of the shop with a smile, winked at Menopause Man, and gingerly walked out.
Similar situations happened to me three more times that week alone, and have happened hundreds (thousands?) of times in my life: men that I do not know nor necessarily care to know, pressing in upon my space, without invitation, to “offer” some strange verbal hybrid of insult, flirtation, and attempt at domination.
Because I believe in being accountable and finding a gift in every situation that arises in my life, whether apparently “positive” or “negative,” I committed to looking for the gift in this, too. I discovered there were still some “chinks” in my energy field, vulnerabilities from past violations that were allowing these sort of encounters to continue to occur, times when I’ve been too “nice,” when I’ve ceded my power, when I’ve looked up at men with big puppy dog eyes of innocence and allowed them to be my “teacher” in ways they really had no business doing. I took it upon myself to explore and heal those, and am a better woman for it.
But the truth is, men behaving this way appear often in many women’s lives: men who try to make women wrong. Men who lecture and bully women with their “spiritual” or “expert” talk.
One man, who knew me only of glancing acquaintance, actually had the audacity to tell me when I rebuffed his flirtation that I was “uptight” because I “had not yet been fully penetrated by the sacred masculine.” He was then deeply hurt and “victimized” when I subsequently told him to go suck the proverbial egg, presumably off to cry his sacred jester tears.
As a woman who truly reveres and honors the men in my life, I would typically shy away from terms such as “mansplaining”—but in this case, the shoe unfortunately and unmistakably fits. This terms exists for a reason, and it’s in my face in ways that I and other women surely do not want it.
This phenomenon reaches peak absurdity—not to mention actually being disgusting and dangerous—in the form of the male “guru” (or yoga teacher, spiritual “leader,” etc.) who purports to teach and “empower” women in the form of ‘splaining and domination, often of a sexual nature. (My encounters with two such “spiritual” men, who have seemingly made a career of predation whilst taking apparently zero responsibility, is detailed in my memoir SHE IS ONE.)
Because mansplaining is truly a dreaded disease that can strike anywhere and anytime—and with no apparent conscious recognition of it on the part of the men actually doing it. Men, I am asking you to please become aware of yourself when you are tempted to mansplain that lovely woman across from you, whether at the coffee shop, the doctor’s office, or the workplace.
If you’d like to know if you are a mansplainer, ask yourself the following:
>> Do you lecture women on topics like women’s sexuality, menstruation, childbirth, menopause, and the “sacred feminine” as though you are the world’s resident expert?
>> Do you use sentences like, “You are being so negative,” “That’s just your ego talking,” or “You should be more humble” to belittle or diminish women’s points of view?
>> Do you frequently offer unsolicited advice to women, of the variety that makes you “right” and them “wrong?”
>> Do you oscillate back and forth between praise/inappropriate interest and actual browbeating of women?
>> Do you withhold/pout/become belligerent when women don’t readily become your pupils or do your bidding?
Men: I do not wish to make you wrong. I am not here to shame you. I am here to love you and out of love I will tell you, unambiguously:
When you stand in your own truth and power, you will have absolutely no need to do this to women.
And, you won’t ever become powerful by dominating women. You will not ever be powerful by attempting to make claims over her body, and being, and mind, and soul, and trying to be “smarter” than her, or by “knowing” more about her than she does, or by attempting to shame or control her in any way. If you are seeking power through the control of the feminine, or any form of control for that matter, I’ll give you a hint: it ain’t there.
Luckily, there is a cure. Simply, let go, and let Goddess. Agree to look within and heal the self-estrangement and divisions within yourself and begin to finally address the wounding and sense of disempowerment that comes with a society that has told men in a million conscious and unconscious ways not to be whole—just as it has told women.
Because all of this “patriarchy” business has hurt and affected men just as much as women, albeit in different ways, and the way to reclaim power is to look within, own that, and stand in your own vast, vital, beautiful manhood and power. And it never ever looks like trying to control women. What does it look like? Look to the men in your life who are emblematic of that for you, and if you don’t have a positive role model, we can help you with that too. Let’s all rise together.
And as far as your relationship with “her” is concerned? If she wants advice or help, let her ask for it. Don’t try to fix her, or talk above and over her. Simply be present and listen. Let her unfold and open in her own timing if that is what she chooses, and if not, do not try to beat her down or pry her open. Because that is what mansplaining is and does, and it is not cute or okay.
I made a handout sheet that cites exactly the above for my next visit to the juice shop. Next time a man tells me about my reproductive cycles, childbirth, sexuality, yoni, womb, menopause, and how much he “knows” about everything that is woman, he will receive a copy and an invitation: to himself and his own power, as I peacefully stroll out the door and back to the Goddess’ temple.
[Women: handy-handout for men who ‘splain now available through my patreon services as one of several perks with subscription.]
Author: Sara Sophia Eisenman
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Callie Rushton