Marriage is sometimes called the fundamental building block of civilization. That might be arrogating it to a position higher than it merits. It is the legal and social construct people use to establish their families, for at least the past few hundred years. Despite a growing number of people born outside of this framework, marriage is how our culture handles the family.
Even as the details, the legal obligations and the format of marriage change over time, marriage remains right in the middle of our culture’s mainstream. It’s a normal and well worn pathway people chose for themselves, to shape their lives.
But our mainstream, including social and legal obligations are now recognized by some men as a bad deal. Suicide, workplace death, homelessness, violence, and other metrics all reveal our casual unconcern for the well being of men.
Some choose to protest and campaign for reform of society’s destructive male facing expectations. Many of these individuals refer to themselves as men’s rights activists or advocates.
Another group, also concerned with the raw deal afforded to men select an alternative strategy. Rather than pushing for reform, they reject many of the unexamined and unjust obligations placed on men. These individuals tend to follow individualistic paths. This group are better described as a “social phenomenon” rather than “social movement”.
But as individual as these paths are, they share rejection of male facing inequities that the mainstream accepts without thought. Members of this group are forging new paths of self actualization and abandoning male exploitive convention. Those men rejecting self destructive and gynocentric institutions call themselves Men Going Their Own Way.
And, in this context, the most significant of these institutions is marriage.
But we need to examine marriage in it’s modern format to understand why that is so.
On the surface, marriage is the legal recognition of a friendly partnership between two people forming a family. The two people are typically both adults, typically of complimentary sex, and typically expected to jump each other’s bones. They might also crank off little copies of themselves and spam their surroundings with these copies. Obviously, there’s a lot of flexibility in this definition. They might be the same sex, they might not decide to spam their DNA carelessly around, they might not even hump each other.
But that is just a surface reading of what marriage is, in the modern context. If we expand our vision to see how marriage fits into the culture it occurs in, we must also consider the role in marriage of government. This includes law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, social service agencies, child care intervention agencies, and long list of interested groups.
A man getting married is not just joining his female friend for the benefit of shared housing, shared bed, shared investment in property and procreation, no. He’s inviting all those government organizations into his partnership. And those institutions and organizations are, for the most part, acting to enforce her interests, not his. He is signing a contract which says she is his boss. And his new boss comes with a whole array of organized, powerful, and in some cases armed enforcers backing her up.
Of course, not all woman are tyrants. A woman finding herself in such a position of power might elect to not pull the trigger on the metaphorical gun this system puts in her hand. She might elect to always resolve disagreement with her husband equitably, and without recourse to the power that system puts at her disposal. But regardless of whether she activates it, that power is there. She has it, he does not.
Between these two groups, those who push reform, and those who abandon male destructive social institutions, there is an emerging conflict.
We can call these two approaches, the reformers, and the abandoners. Those are not the names the groups in question use, obviously. I have renamed them for this discussion because labels used too commonly can obstruct understanding of what they each refer to.
At present, the most high profile figures in the reformer group are arguing that by god they are also members of the abandoner group. And to hell with anybody who says differently.
The highest profile members of the abandoner phenomenon take considerable umbrage with this claim.
Many abandoners view the reformer claim of inclusion in the abandoner definition as an attempt to hijack and subvert the abandoner phenomenon.
They see it as a serious betrayal of the sacrifice and work done within the abandoner phenomenon. And they see it as a deliberate undermining of an emerging project of masculine self determination.
There are some speculations about the motives for this perceived undermining of the abandoner phenomenon. These are addressed later in this discussion.
Members of the reformer movement who insist they damn well are abandoners also have a few complaints about their rejection from the abandoner definition.
Some of these complaints appear borne more from hurt feelings than logic, and appear on their face a bit silly.
“Abandoners rejecting our broadened definition of their phenomenon are equivalent to fascists and social justice warriors.”
We’ll just leave that alone, because there are several other more serious complaints.
One of which relies on the common label applied to the practitioners of what in this discussion, we have been calling the abandoner phenomenon.
Men going their own way.
What if a man, of his own free will, and by his own choice decides himself that the best thing for him is to sign on the dotted line and take the path of marriage. If he chooses it himself, is that not definitionally his own way?
Sure, but only so long as we suspend our understanding that marriage is a foundational feature of the social mainstream.
We must also suspend our knowledge that exit from conventional gynocentrism is the key feature of the abandoner phenomenon.
But okay. In this reading, a man inviting intrusion of coercive, gynocentric public institutions into his life can be called Going His Own Way. Because he chose it himself, sure.
But as soon as we accept this definition, then by whatever label we use, we have made the label mean nothing in particular. It’s a string of syllables which makes no distinction from those who follow conventional thinking without examination.
And this is why the practitioners of the abandoner phenomenon take such offense. This is an argument that men can follow the mainstream path, getting married, while also claiming the identity of those abandoning that conventional path.
They see the claim as a purposeful subversion of the integrity of men abandoning mainstream gynocentrism. And they see this claim, coming from members of the movement which recognizes mainstream gynocentrism. The reformer movement whose members must know how their claim to the abandoner identity will be perceived. To those abandoner practicioners, it is a profound betrayal and they are rather annoyed about it.
But, returning to the reformer side of the argument. It’s clear that the abandoner phenomenon is occurring in the real world. And despite abandoners not caring about positive and negative critiques, their phenomenon is having a real effect on public discourse. People in mainstream gynocentric social institutions are showing real fear of the long term impact of the abandoner phenomenon.
And this type of recognition from the mainstream is something the reformer camp has worked very hard to achieve. It is what they believe they need to be an effective movement.
The claim then, from high profile members of the reformer movement – that they too are part of the abandoner phenomenon is understandable. It’s an emotional need.
But it’s also a political need. In the present evolution of the reformer movement, having a visible share of the public podium is a matter of great importance. But as long as a great many men still take part in marriage, the leaders of the reformer movement feel like their relevance is diminished. Especially if it becomes clear that the thing the mainstream is so visibly shaken by excludes so many of those men who are married.
And that’s a hard place to be. But I can’t solve that problem for them, because I’m no longer a part of that camp.
Claiming abandoner identity, while putting the most obviously gynocentric social convention within abandoner practice is a political move.
It’s a move calculated to appeal to the mainstream as an authoritative voice on the abandoner phenomenon. Sadly, it sacrifices the meaning of self identity for those who actually comprise the abandoner phenomenon.
It is possible that those inside the reformer section of the men’s movement cannot see the impact of what they are doing. They might be unaware they are diluting the meaning of dumping gynocentric social institutions for those the MGTOW label describes.
The departure from the institution of marriage by their former colleagues might seem like a threat to the reformer subset of the men’s movement. So, maybe out of a sense of desperation they lay claim to that label, without seeing the subversion of it that they are practicing.
But, it might be that having tasted mainstream attention, the need for a claim of authority, including MGTOW seems so important that sacrificing those men seems a minor price to pay.
I wont claim I can see inside anybody else’s head, and all of this is just opinion.