There has been a thread of conversation going on all day. Either out loud or with my Guides. This week I have been encountering ‘mansplaining’ from several directions. Interestingly not exclusively from men. In this year of Divine Feminine, when the focus is on relationships with myself and others, I wanted to find a spiritually creative way to deal with this.
Mansplaining has entered our language. It means “(of a man) explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising.” When I was younger there was no word to describe what was happening when a man explained something to me that, it was reasonable to expect, I understood better. Like childbirth. Or being a woman working in a ‘man’s world’. Yet I am relieved to have a word that so exactly describes what it feels like. And how my inner dialogue wants to scream in annoyance whilst at the same time excuse him because he is a man. After all, girls have been socially conditioned to take the word of a man in preference to their own intuitions.
Here I’m thinking of several of my male teachers, managers and doctors. As well as a whole load of other men who passed through my life cheerfully mansplaining things to me. After all I couldn’t possibly understand cricket. Or rugby (which I played for a while). I’m relieved that my internal dialogue now wants to shout loudly at any man who tries to explain things I am best placed to know. It’s a kind of progress. Because I can stop telling myself the other half of the population automatically know better. That my opinion has little value compared to the opinions of men. I suppose I could be accused of being sexist in reverse here. But there is a lot more to it than that.
With my Guides I have come to understand about energy. That we are all both feminine and masculine energy. So where does mansplaining fit when it’s actually a woman who is doing it? To another woman.
That’s a really interesting phenomenon that I am getting use to spotting. And a strong reason why some women excuse mansplaining or everyday sexism. When I worked in a corporate world heavily influenced by men I tried to be ‘one of the boys’. Because I wanted a career. I wanted to do a good job. The wages were good. All sots of reasons that pushed me further and further into my masculine side. Until I identified more easily with masculine language, attitudes and behaviour. Most women in my organisation did the same. But still men explained things to us. Even when we were more senior, more qualified and more familiar with the subject.
At the time I didn’t realise I was also playing the mansplaining game. But I was. Now that I am aware of my dual energy flow I can understand that a woman who has drifted out of balance and into more of her masculine energy can also be the ‘man’ explaining. Without even being aware of any condescending or patronising language. In fact many women who are more in their masculine energy take on the language of patriarchy towards the women in their lives. And it can be a hard habit to break even when trying to get back into balance. Learning to listen to my inner dialogue is vital. As is recognising where my inner conversations are distorted in what I share with the world. Even understanding that I might be gaslighting myself.
So what does this mean in the Divine Feminine relationship energy? How to work with, through and around mansplaining?
First of all, I feel it is about becoming consciously aware of our speech patterns. Of the words we use as short cuts for much bigger assumptions and beliefs. And the judgements implied behind what those words convey. I believe this starts with an inner journey. Me watching what I tell myself about me. Once I have noticed the put downs I can start to recognise the outer conversations where I try to reclaim my power. Because that is what mansplaining does. It is a persistent attempt to remove personal, expert and social power. I may try to put on a brave, powerful or warrioress face. My words may sound apologetic, deferential or even ignore the explaining altogether.
Secondly, I have to find the peace and balance within to challenge both the inner and outer mansplaining. No matter where or who it is coming from. This also requires me to be my authentic self as much as possible. To get out of the blame game and accept I am personally responsible for letting it go on. If I am being treated badly then it is me who allows it to happen. This removes the influencing energy of the man or woman who has been undermining mine. I can work to create new inner and outer dialogues, bit by bit, to stand in my personal power. And I can start to move myself out of situations, connections and relationships where this kind of patronising behaviour is present.
Finally, I can get in touch with my own feminine energy. I can use respectful collaboration instead.
I believe that everyone is equal. We all have the same flow of Divine loving energy running through us. That it is a dual energy shouldn’t complicate our lives. Moving between feminine and masculine energy can be easy and useful. It would allow us to bring all of our energy to bear on our lives. Both the uniquely creative and the ‘make it so’. In a lovely collaboration of each person offering what they can for the good of the whole community. To bring this about there has to be a big shift. I know some people will feel they are loosing power or rights. And some will celebrate gaining more power and rights. Yet the feminine energy of this year is pointing out that it is time to do so.
I know we have a lot of challenges to face as a global community. Our children’s children’s children deserve the greatest of efforts from us to ensure they are born healthy, grow up loved, in a good environment and well fed. And are able to take their place as citizens of the future all working to gather on a harmonious planet. Mansplaining denies us the opportunity to move towards that goal. It is the outer dialogue of an inner sense of entitlement. An entitlement that I believe also carried with it little to no sense of responsibility. A kind of ‘there, there dear, let the man fix it’. I know men can’t fix it. Look at where we are now. It will take the whole population of the planet to collaborate in building a future full of entitlements and responsibilities that come equally balanced with one another.
For a while men will have to get used to being told when they are mansplaining. I know it will be confusing when they see women doing it too. And perhaps getting away with it. Yet I believe it is a necessary part of our growing up process. We have to remember that underneath everything flows the Divine energy which is unconditional love. The lesson we are all here learning right now.
Day 923 of my blogging challenge