Part II

A tangential idea to the post below, which didn't quite fit into that piece…

The gap between what our culture promises privileged men and what it delivers to and expects of them also underlies the mystification shared by many people (men and women, privileged and marginalized alike) that a sexist joke (for example) could still be a "big deal" in a culture where many women are out-performing their male peers.

A person born into a world in which his humanity, agency, dignity, autonomy are not in question views achievement as a personal and individual pursuit—"I want to get an education, I want to get a good job, I want to succeed in my career, I want to attain certain material possessions and comforts."

A person born into a world in which hir humanity, agency, dignity, and autonomy are in question, philosophically and often legally, on the other hand, often views achievement not merely in personal and individual terms but also as a collective pursuit—"I want [all members of the marginalized group(s) to which I belong] to have access, opportunity, respect, equality" because attainment of those things on a personal and individual basis, with rare exceptions, is elusive.

(Which is not to discount the compelling motives of solidarity and empathy born of mutual struggle.)

Thus, a sexist joke (for example) can deny a different kind of achievement, even as women may have lots of forward momentum in educational or professional achievements.

It should also be noted that the little stuff of sexism is one way in which the kyriarchal narratives that inhibit privileged men's progress are promulgated. So it's not exactly doing privileged men any good to treat them as an insignificance, either. They're just conveying the bars of their own cages.

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