4.5
December 9, 2017

5 Questions to find out if you are a “Mansplainer.”

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

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Sara Sophia Eisenman Mar 2, 2018 7:24pm

Stephanie Smith Breasts are holy <3 I'm glad you appreciate and enjoy mine. Maybe you do the same for your own <3 <3 , and all holiness of the body.

Mohammed Anas Dec 16, 2017 8:47am

Dr.Ahmed helped me a lot if you need real help then go to Dr Ahmed he can really help you out. i broke up with my wife and tried many casters for 6 months before meeting Dr Ahmed and he was able to get her back to me even when she already had another man, he broke them up and got my wife back for me, he is the best of the best i highly recommend him and his service thank you so much doctor Ahmed i appreciate you and you are truly blessed.You can also give him a try if you are interesting. Here is his contact, SMS him directly or WhatsApp on +27631539694 email [email protected]

Stephanie Smith Dec 15, 2017 5:19pm

Had pretty much the exact same thought. I mean really, whenever I see someone with neon hair half dressed I'm always mildly concerned. I'm not surprised random people are trying to offer help in advice, but my god that ego is painful. Reading the piece made me cringe because this is so clearly not a gendered thing at all as I may well currently be demonstrating with my 'ma'amsplaining'

Stephanie Smith Dec 15, 2017 5:16pm

Shanti Zimmermann How on earth did you not see the boobs lol. The picture is deliberately angled to include them and make them look big. It isn't remotely subtle

Stephanie Smith Dec 15, 2017 5:15pm

*reads message while looking at picture with low cut top, tits screaming for attention along with shaggy blue hair* I can't imagine why anyone would attempt to teach you anything or condescend to you. You are clearly always right and this is definitely a gendered issue. I'm sure it is 100% true that if you were a man no other man would attempt to help you for fear of growing a vagina /s

Booster Blake Dec 13, 2017 6:53pm

Where it's the case that a person is attempting to dominate, diminish or otherwise override another's wishes to enforce their own, I think this article offers some great feedback. Thanks Sara. I appreciate your desire to assist men in finding the true source of their power within themselves. To be fair, I don't know what the equivalent term is when such behavior is used by women, but critisizing, judging, and offering unsolicited advice is something that I think we're all guilty of doing. But I acknowledge that for the sake of this discussion, we're only focusing on the behavior exhibited by men and that's fine. My point is I think the term "mansplaining" is often misapplied to a range of relatively benign, albeit possibly annoying, behaviors. The cliche of men defaulting to a "fix it" mentality, when asked to listen, is a prime example. In this example, often men are simply trying to be useful, which may be irritating to the one feeling "fixed". However, I think asserting there is an underlying motive to dominate seems like an unfair characterization to me and misses the intent to serve, or at worst, be liked, loved, etc. Another instance where I see the term misplaced is simply when a man is attempting to participate in a discussion in service of being heard or adding to the conversation (case in point, I wonder how many comments will follow this one accusing me of mansplaining). Again, I want to re-emphasize that I'm not in any way defending instances where men are pushing their viewpoints onto women without invitation, consideration, or respect. And I want to add that offering my perspective here feels vulnerable. As I write, I notice I feel braced for feeling misunderstood and mischaracterized.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Sara Sophia Eisenman

Sara Sophia Eisenman is a writer, energy healer, Berkeley-educated neuroscientist, and a devoted wife and mother of two children.  She is a powerful advocate for women embracing their natural ageless beauty, and serves to reintegrate the feminine aspect of the divine into the fabric of the collective. Sara holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from UC Berkeley, graduating at the very top of her class and earning numerous accolades for her unique work. (Read more about Sara’s time at Berkeley here.) She also has a Master’s degree from UCLA in culture and performance. Sara’s graduate work focused on dance and ceremony as a means of transmitting consciousness and accessing/healing deep trauma in the body. To further ground her healing pursuits, Sara trained in Reiki and shamanism for many years, becoming a Reiki master and noted teacher. To learn more or schedule a healing session with Sara Sophia, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.