The internet has recently hosted a lot of argument about what MGTOW is, and what it is not. In this debate some have focused on historic definitions of the phenomenon, condemning the character of others who assert their own opinions in denial that those uncoordinated opinions are the majority consensus.
As of late 2014, the argument shows no sign of abating so, in the interest of clarity, I’ll revisit the topic of what MGTOW is and is not, in my own opinion.
The present social reality in our society is that women have value, simply by existing. They need do nothing else. Men, by contrast, do not have an automatic human value. For men, positive identity must be earned.
It is not required to prove this premise, it is visible to anybody who participates in society. Understanding that men have no automatic value in the way women do, we come to the knowledge of who has the greatest power in granting identity to men.
In 1849, during an address at a dinner to The Daughters of Temperance, Susan B Anthony said:
“It is generally conceded that it is our sex that fashions the social and moral state of society.”
Through popular acceptance, women grant public personhood onto men. It’s also women who revoke it from those same men if they fail to comply with female expectations. Male targeted insults implying sexual inadequacy, romantic, and financial failure are all judgements of men based on their utility to women. The tenuous value of a man is compared to the fixed measure of a woman’s automatic value, and based on her subsequent approval or disapproval.
This is the normal model of male identity in our culture.
“Culture” is the operative word here. This is not an objective reality with cold nights, predatory animals, or starvation of the tribe due to drought. We are all living inside the social reality of our current culture. It is a construct of our minds populated by concepts like social status, upward mobility, personal charisma, sexual attractiveness, and so on. Our so-called culture is a world of human created meaning. As humans within it, we each have a persistent need for validation of our own value within that world of meaning.
Men, unlike women, don’t get this value by default. Men must jump through social hoops to be awarded their sense of worth from the tribe and the awarding of men’s value is largely the province of women. This produces an imbalance in which only half the species is forced to meet an essential need through contribution. This problem is exaggerated by the feminist influence in domestic policy, family law, educational policy, hiring, health funding and so on.
This manifests as a visible social caste system.
Gender ideology consists of a never ending list of absurd and contradictory requirements for men to be awarded a positive identity. These requirements are generated and promoted with a clear intention of denying men fulfilment of that basic need for value that all human beings share.
It is no surprise that men are rejecting these contradictory and self-harming requirements. Men are also moving towards alternative systems to fulfill their basic human need for esteem in the world of meaning.
This move manifests in a number of different ways, and is big enough to draw the attention and ire of mainstream commentators. Most labels applied from a mainstream perspective are attempts to shame men back into compliance with a path of female supplied approval. “Man-boy syndrome,” “failure to launch,” and “Peter Pan Syndrome” being just a few examples. One non-condemning label comes from the title of Dr. Helen Smith’s 2013 book, “Men on Strike”.
Among men practicing this path themselves, and aware that they are not alone in this departure, the term MGTOW or “Men Going Their Own Way” is commonly used. This phenomenon is a rejection by men of social institutions which inhibit fulfillment of the human need for value within our world of constructed meaning. These constructs include the ladders of career, marriage, and fatherhood.
Social conventions like marriage, which provide the most efficient methods for stripping men’s value are those first dumped in the MGTOW phenomenon. Any other institutions which have, in their modern format a function of devaluing men’s identity must die out altogether. The rejection of marriage, as the most toxic of these male harming institutions, is receiving the most negative attention because it is also the institution which provides the most security for the protected female.
To understand this, we must realize that whatever conventions are abandoned MGTOW is a manifestation of the human need for value within a world of meaning. That world of meaning is the culture we inhabit. This is social reality- constructed by our minds, in contrast to objective reality – created by the forces of nature.
But a dispute exists within the varied elements of the men’s movement, over which social conventions should be abandoned by a man charting a MGTOW path in his own life.
This argument, focusing on specific social conventions, notably on marriage, somewhat misses the point. It is not the abandonment of a specific list of mainstream practices which defines the phenomenon of MGTOW. MGTOW is a practical rejection based on new awareness of the failure of these institutions to meet the needs of men.
To decide if a social convention is inside or outside the definition of MGTOW, examine whether that institution has a feature for destroying a man within it.
That other people within that convention may elect to not demolish a man by those mechanisms is not the point. It is the presence of a male-demolishing mechanism which makes it a cultural convention to be abandoned.
What past MGTOW writers judged to be compatible with the practice of MGTOW is of shrinking relevance with the passage of time. The social phenomenon is an evolving one, rapidly updating itself, based on men’s growing awareness.
Every man who wants to can follow the trail being cut by MGTOW writers but, within the MTGOW phenomenon, admonitions to conform or to “listen up” because that person has decided that somebody they like is the expert is signalling a political agenda. Anyone trying to freeze MGTOW in time in order to make it best suit their own definition is shying from the hard work of personal freedom and should be treated as a swindler.