I observe that in our society at large it seems okay to paint women as co-dependent victims. It is an accepted narrative that many do not see as disempowering.
The underlying assumption here is that the woman had no choice but to accept the abuse because she is too “weak” or too “co-dependent” to choose something else. But what are we teaching our sisters and daughters if this is our primary storyline?
This is exactly the bias that Mark Wilding has chosen to build on in his recent article about the school I am a teacher at. He created a story that is built on the premise that the women training at the school are essentially dummies who blindly follow the “bad” men who are leading the school. He uses no facts to actually prove that the men have done something wrong but instead insinuates, using hearsay to fabricate a story that is entirely incorrect and only works if you buy into the narrative that women are disempowered and easily manipulated.
In his reporting, Mark Wilding failed to mention that the men in the school – Gudni Gudnason, Dave Lanyon and Hideto Nakagome only teach a small subset of the hundreds of classes offered. Most classes are taught by women such as Julia Tiffin, Erin Wallace, Christina Lozano, Sarah Hauch, Shani Lehrer, Kity Maria Oliveira, Verla L Wade, Ariana Bain, Ashley Aron Craig, Emily Leahy and Alex Bynum.
Further, the school is led by a council of 12 women including Franca Lanyon, Liza Rossi, Rita van den Berg, Kate Bartram-Brown, Ann Donnelly and other women in Asia. Mark Wilding failed to mention that most of these women are PhD holders, doctors and highly educated discerning individuals who pursue successful careers and lead stable lives while contributing to their communities and yes, offering spiritual training.
However, to mention the above would not make the article suit a convenient narrative that is easy to sell – would it?
So Mark Wilding, I am calling you out on your disrespect. I now have backed-up evidence that you twisted the words of at least two of the four women mentioned in the article, that you used their testimonials out of context to build a narrative of female disempowerment.
So here are the facts:
· The school has thousands of students each year
· It took you two years to research and write an article for which you only got 4 actual sources to support your narrative – you ignored the countless other people you spoke to which had positive accounts (I have evidence for that)
· 2 of the sources you chose to include you evidently misrepresented given they have since written public statements explaining that they were misquoted
· The other two sources have highly questionable motives – which you would have realised after speaking to them (if you cared about balanced reporting)
· As a researcher, I call you out on your bluff. You would find way more negative voices about any other institution including your so-called magazine or any school for that matter. 2 people out of thousands, really?
I do not condone this kind of behaviour towards women. You want to paint yourself as someone who wants to help women – at the expense of portraying us as silly girls who need supervision. It is obvious that this is backfiring and I hope you will use this experience to reconsider your perspective on women and our ability to discern and to make decisions for ourselves.
I actually sat next to you with my husband at one of the meditation events that you chose to attend during your research. It obviously didn’t come up in the article because again it didn’t fit your skewed narrative. It would not sell your one-sided angle to say “I joined a Wiccan meditation event and we made bath salts, danced and had a chat” right? And that it was led by a confident friendly woman and was quite affordable – 30£ for the evening I think?
It also doesn’t fit your narrative that one of the primary teachers of the school – Dr Theresa Bullard – has a PhD in Physics, has a successful show on Gaia TV about how physics and metaphysics interrelate. Maybe it was too complex a topic for you to absorb? Or maybe writing about sex and money is more likely to sell?
You also conveniently didn’t mention Dr Kate Bartram Brown. She leads the Modern Mystery School in the UK and Europe is a successful businesswoman who has won several awards and is featured as a keynote speaker and expert on mental health and mindfulness in many publications. I guess she didn’t fit the narrative of a victimised women either?
Or myself for that matter? I represent the school in the UK and Switzerland, teach and initiate people into the lineage internationally. I am also a director of a consultancy, used to work for McKinsey & Company and have an INSEAD MBA.
But where I feel you definitely showed your true colours is when you failed to mention the amazing and documented support the school has provided to Women Shelters and women who truly need help, support and care by the community because they have escaped life-threatening situations – such as being held against their will. You failed to mention the Modern Mystery School’s donations to these organisations. In your actions, you have actually tried to sever the relationship we have with them by planting seeds of doubts through false accusations – which could well lead to less support to the women who really need it.
The question I am asking myself is – if you truly believe women are that weak or whether you just thought that this way of spinning your story would sell better?Either way, this should be a wake-up call for you, and you are about to experience the wrath of a lot of powerful women.