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from Male Lust

Because a privileged man’s life is unremarkable,” he is less likely to know how his social position affects his life. A white” man knows he is white,” but he is likely to have little idea how this identity shapes his social world, much less his sexuality. He’s rarely forced to stop and think about it. Any interpersonal or emotional difficulties he might have are thus made to appear as individual worries. This illusion of a fully autonomous self lets privileged men act with less concern about the social impact of their actions—they are more free” than others. Yet, this freedom makes them less able to identify the links between their concerns and the larger social environment. Because of this hyperindividuality, itself socially constructed, privileged men are vulnerable to intense feelings of self-blame and isolation when something goes wrong. It makes them less able to understand how their lives relate to the lives of those around them, and less able to respond to the social forces that daily shape their lives.

—Kerwin Kay, Introduction,” Male Lust: Pleasure, Power, and Transformation

Up next from Male Lust from “Pluralism and Its Discontents: The Case of Blacks and Jews,” by Cheryl Greenberg
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