Why has it taken so long for men to explore their experience of masculinity? In part, the workings of masculinity within modernity have remained invisible as dominant men have learned to speak in the impartial voice of reason. This has been part of an Enlightenment tradition and is deeply embodied in western inherited forms of philosophy and social theory. So a man's voice assumes a pitch of objectivity and impartiality as it becomes an impersonalised voice, a voice that has 'authority' because it belongs to no one in particular while claiming at the same time to respect alL 1
Thus it is hard to judge men's accounts of their own experience because often these personal accounts are not forthcoming. Traditionally, men have relied on women to provide them with an account and understanding of what they are experiencing in their emotional lives. It is as if men do not have to learn to take responsibility for their relationships, since this can traditionally be left to women within heterosexual relationships. Often men learn to put up with things since they have to learn to identify themselves with an absence of emotional needs, and so to centre their lives around the demands of work where male identity is supposedly constructed. But it is also that feminism has sought to account for men's experience in particular ways, most sharply in the radical feminist idea that all men are 'potentially rapists'. This is a challenging but also a damaging notion, for it works to discount differences between men as 'illusory', for as the story goes, all men are fundamentally the same. They 'have to be' because they all occupy the same position in the hierarchy of powers. They are not to be trusted.