Watch the video above or read the transcript below
Note: most of the information about MGTOW in this post comes from the website MGTOW.com.
Today we’re going to be talking about Men Going Their Own Way – or MGTOW, as it’s commonly referred to. I figured it was important for me to investigate this movement/philosophy to understand it a bit more, because it seems to be an option that many modern men are either tempted to take or are diving right into taking.
The first thing that struck me about looking into the MGTOW movement is that, despite doing a lot of online study, I couldn’t really figure out exactly what it was trying to accomplish. I know it’s part of the manosphere. I know it has some association with the whole Red Pill thing. But I couldn’t really get what it was about in a simplest form.
It talks about the ‘sovereignty’ of the man – sovereignty being this kind of freedom and autonomy to do whatever you want, unrestrained by rules and expectations. (I hope I’m not creating a straw-man here because I got this directly from MGTOW website).
There’s an idea that somehow men are not free, not sovereign to themselves, and the MGTOW movement is about creating that freedom – about breaking out of some prison that seems to exist. What I could not for the life of me figure out is exactly what this prison is made of… beyond imagined expectations.
It seems to me that the MGTOW movement believes that men are somehow forced to uphold a provider role in society – to bear the burden of society on their backs; to pay for everything; to create everything; to take all the risks; and for the others – women – to benefit from men’s efforts. It’s this idea that men are used as a resource while women reap all the benefits.
If I’m hearing or reading it right, I can understand why somebody would want to escape from that, but what I don’t understand is where the evidence for this prison is, beyond imagined expectations.
While I know there are some laws – especially in the United States – that are stacked against men (e.g. when it comes to divorce and custody of children), what I couldn’t find was any evidence or any kind of force beyond social pressure that says a man must be any one particular thing. I could not, for example, find any evidence of men being forced to be husbands or fathers. As I looked through the MGTOW documentation online, they seem to beg this question. They are certain that men are somehow forced to be something, and that we need to break away from this force.
This is what I found confusing because I’ve never felt that force. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I’ve always felt sovereign, I’ve always felt free to do whatever the hell I want. Nobody has ever forced me to get married, for example. In fact, in my opinion, it’s the women who get pressured to get married – much more than the men – and this is evidenced in a range of countries I’ve been to around the world. In arranged marriages, for instance, it’s usually men who decide on the partnering.
That doesn’t mean that the evidence I’ve seen is correct, but I’m not really sure what it is that MGTOW is fighting against. What is it that’s stopping men in going their own way? Because I can’t find any laws that are stopping them or any groups that are kidnapping or extorting men to force them to undertake particular roles.
Something that came up when I was looking into this is this idea of “idiotic risks.” The MGTOW community seems to feel that men are unappreciated for putting ourselves at risk to create amazing things and get hard work done, and that because we’re unappreciated and because we’re seen as idiots for taking these risks, we should simply stop taking them.
For me, this sounds very childish; why do you need to be appreciated to do the right thing? If you’re really doing the right thing it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re appreciated for taking a risk.
I have to be honest: there’s an immaturity I saw throughout the MGTOW documentation I was reading through, and from the people have put me on to MGTOW and recommended that I get into it. This idea that “If I’m not being appreciated then it’s not worth doing it.”
So if I’m hearing it right, there’s this combination of 1) we’re under pressure to be something that we don’t want to be and 2) we’re not being appreciated even when we are being that thing (e.g. a husband or providing father or a hard worker or a person who works in a high-risk job etc).
“well fuck you then”
The solution to this dilemma, apparently, is to not be any of those things. To not take any of those risks, to just let the world burn. There’s a quote I want to give you here directly from the website:
“Great men of history have already given enough, so the modern man can afford to take a century off.”
I’ll be frank: what I’ve seen so far of MGTOW I find equally as unpleasant as what I’ve seen so far of third-wave feminism (which ironically seems to be their counterpoint or enemy). What I see on both sides of the spectrum is people feeling oppressed while not actually being oppressed – just feeling it – and then reacting with a “Fuck you then! I’m not going to do anything!” tantrum.
Again I’ve really got to emphasize I probably don’t know enough about this yet to comment with great accuracy on it. But I have done a huge amount of study on Red Pill and the manosphere under which MGTOW exists. I would have thought after reading for an hour through MGTOW.com – the main website – that I’d be able to make sense of this beyond the idea that some people are bitter and resentful and want to avoid responsibility rather than trying to make it work.
why no women?
One thing I’m not really certain of is whether or not MGTOW are promoting asexuality. They definitely seem to be anti-marriage and children – at least in the traditional sense – but they also seem to be anti-woman and anti-relationships with women.
There was a list of people they provided on the website – all of whom either are asexual men who do not have any connection with women, or are men who do not commit or maintain any loyalty or monogamy with a single woman. There seems to be a worship of men who have ‘freed’ themselves from any committed connection to women and family.
I know many men who have been divorce-raped and taken to the cleaners – they’ve lost half their money or more, and lost custody of the children. I get why there’s resentment and bitterness there! Yet at the same time, each and every one of those men made poor decisions that led to that situation. They chose their woman poorly – not all women would do that to them, but they chose the ones who would. They created relationships based on neediness and insecurity rather than love and connection. They basically dug their own graves.
While on one hand, the law in USA and a few other Western countries absolutely does seem to be stacked in the favor of womean, when it comes to divorce and custody. On the other hand, this is easily avoidable if you don’t make naive and needy decisions based on fear when you’re dating.
blame and responsibility
I think what stands out to me most when I’ve looked into MGTOW is the lack of responsibility that’s being disguised as responsibility. The “We’ll just do our own thing” is a mask for “We don’t want to do anything and this is not our fault!”
Look: if you don’t want to have a woman in your life, that’s fine! But you’ve always had that choice. There’s no need for a rebellion here. You can be asexual if you want. You can stay single forever if you want. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be forced to get married. So what exactly are you fighting against? Why do you need to join a group before you can take responsibility for your life?
That’s the bit I don’t quite get. If it was legal oppression – like every man must be married by the time he’s 40 or every man must join the army or every man must just give his money to society or very man must do high-risk jobs – then this totally makes sense. But it’s not the case.
You can do whatever the fuck you want and that’s always been the case. I think, ironically, that is feminism’s main argument: men have more freedom than women. I don’t believe that’s true anymore in most Western countries but certainly, in other countries around the world, it’s still very much the case.
The sovereignty idea – when did you not have it? I don’t get it. Put it this way: you can get married and have children without being in some high-risk situation (just google “how to marry without financial risk”).
moved by hurt
I’ll be frank: when I first researched the Red Pill movement and was digging through all the forums and the blogs and the websites, this theme started to emerge: the bitter and hurt character of the people in the group, particularly their personal histories.
I don’t want to commit an ad hominem fallacy here, I just I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the Red Pill community appear to have had very nasty experiences in their romantic relationships with women in the past, and they present this as evidence of how all women are. Then they make huge life decisions based on this ‘evidence’.
I see a similar thing happening within MGTOW – this idea that there are a few guys who got fucked over with divorces and there are a few guys who have been pressured into doing shitty things, and then they’ve gone, “Well, this is society and this is women and we have to fight against it.” As opposed to facing the uncomfortable truth, which is that if you’ve had these issues you were psychologically vulnerable in a specific way that allowed you to be manipulated and caused you to dig your own grave.
I can’t help but notice that as I scrolled through all the stuff on the MGTOW website a feeling of bitterness just seemed to leap out of the screen at me. This wasn’t a movement based on enjoyment of life. There was hatred-based reasoning behind the philosophy. I find, in general, that movements based on bitterness and resentment and hatred are, shall we say, less effective for building a high quality of life than movements based on love, confidence, responsibility, and core values.
We all have problems around self-sabotage. There’s a battle we have to overcome in life. You don’t win a battle by running away.
help me understand
To the guys in MGTOW – first and foremost; help me understand you better. If I’ve misrepresented what it is that you’re doing – if I clearly don’t understand what’s going on – that’s what the comment section below is for. Let me know. I want to be educated on this thing because it baffles me. I don’t understand why a straight man would want to give up women when most women out there are an absolute pleasure to have in your life.
If all you’ve had is negative experiences with women and you’re surrounded by other men who have only had negative experiences, I can get why you think there’s something you need to run away from. But it’s like someone being raised in a war-torn country – they think all there is war but it’s just because of where they are… and because of who they are.
As somebody who’s studied psychology for over a decade now, I can say with some certainty; if you’re having consistently unpleasant experiences in your romantic love life, that’s about you, not about other people.
If you want to go your own way, break the rules of society and do your own thing, that’s fine! There’s literally no-one stopping you from doing that. If that’s what really brings you pleasure, so be it.
But to all the men out there who are on the fence: I don’t think running off and doing your own thing is the best available solution to your struggles with women. What I’d suggest is something else – taking responsibility for the struggles you’ve had with women. If you’ve had a lot of miserable, painful, and expensive experiences with woman – if you felt pressured to live up to some idealized version of being a man instead of just being yourself – that’s for you to work on.
Society doesn’t need to change, you do. And you can.