The Anatomy of Male Privilege
Men value autonomy and freedom, as do most humans. A lot of men personalize it in this way: “Nobody tells me what to do!”
The psychology of this behavioral characteristic stems from a deeper need for self worth, and often an underlying doubt about having it. The “core belief” (often unrecognized by the individual until they dig into their behavior) is:
· “I’m not good enough.”
· “I’m not loveable”
The pathology of this thinking takes the offender in the direction of action: “I must take what I want.” Unfortunately, this thinking derives from a selective reading of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species (competition is the basis for positive change). Sadly, too, this thinking underpins the practice of Capitalism.
Sometimes, the worst behavior (avarice, greed) may get rewarded (promotion, wealth)
The reward feeds the delusion (I must take what I want) and does not address the criminal thinking underneath. (“I won’t get caught”, “What I’m doing is OK”)
Our new book: "SO, The New Scarlet Letters" deals with all of this very straightforwardly. Though the book is specifically about sex offenders, the pathology of male privilege in society comes from the same playbook. In either case, the treatment includes the following steps:
- Admit the crime
- Recognize the criminal thinking
- Look at the pattern; look at the specific behavior
- Look at the bigger picture: where did this begin, where is it founded in your “core belief" (I’m not good enough, I’m not lovable”)
- Look at the self talk that drives the behavior
- Build awareness of the “cycle” of behavior - from desire to action to remorse, then desire
- Build a strategy to interrupt the cycle (mindfulness, counseling, 12-step addiction treatment, etc.
- Embrace new strategies to meet the needs for self worth, love, intimacy
- Enact an accountability and support network to catch and, eventually, override the errant behavioral tendencies
- Atone for misdeeds directly with the victim(s). Admit the wrong and develop ways to remedy the gulf of mistrust and separation created.
It's my opinion that some of this adult behavior is due to a lack of understanding and maturity about manhood and its boundaries. Lots of good books have been written on male initiation rituals, and if that wisdom were employed in the US, boys would not be as emotionally challenged or as aggressive about their sexuality as men. Likewise, I think that more parent education about sexuality, specifically about how to raise children with better awareness and respect for others, would eventually create a healthier manifestation of sex in our country.