For the past couple months I’ve been exploring the phenomenon of Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW, the singular being MGHOW or Man Going His Own Way).
A Voice for Men describes MGTOW as:
It’s notable that this definition doesn’t preclude a man from being in a romantic relationship, or even marriage. This is a controversial point, with some MGTOW arguing that one cannot be MGTOW and married, and others articulating various levels of MGTOW.
I must wonder: How did MGTOW originate, and where is it going?
I don’t know, so the following is purely speculative. But first, a detour. Francis Roy recently posted a video about John Calhoun’s mouse utopia, an experiment where he created an enclosed space with a capacity for 3,000 mice, free from predators, and with ample food for all.
The results were unexpected, but not at first. He started with four male and four female mice, and the population quickly exploded to 2,200 in less than a year. But despite plenty of space, food, and no external threats, the population collapsed to extinction in about 18 months. Others replicated the experiment, including rat utopia.
The social degeneration prior to extinction included mice crowding into certain areas and abandoning other areas; allocation of food and water becoming unequal despite abundance; increased competition among males, with many unable to defend their territory, their females, and their offspring; females becoming aggressive in response to lack of protection, but going haywire and attacking their own offspring; excess males striving for acceptance but withdrawing upon rejection, some forming all male groups with increased violence within these groups; and certain males (“the beautiful ones”) going off by themselves and spending most of their time eating, sleeping, and grooming.
It’s difficult to generalize any of this to human society because people are far more complex than mice, and this experiment involved a very artificial rather than a natural environment.
But Return of Kings notes that human history is littered with societal collapses. ROK doesn’t mention MGTOW, but they do compare “the beautiful ones” to Japanese Soshoku kei Danshi, called “grass eaters” or “herbivore men” in English. These men don’t seek out romantic relationships, and are said to devote much of their time to personal grooming. The similarities and differences between grass eaters and MGTOW are unclear, and differences between Japanese and North American culture are a complicating factor.
Today’s global technological society being headed for collapse is a popular theme, but one that could easily be wrong. It could be that today’s ease and abundance, which is unprecedented in human history, will change human culture is dramatic ways without leading to collapse.
However, I argued previously that modern capitalism lead to feminism because capitalism’s technological innovations freed women from the biological destiny of constant pregnancy while also enabling women to economically support themselves with low risk/high wage jobs, thus making men optional. This results in a surplus of men. In today’s post, I must wonder if MGTOW and grass eaters could be a natural result of this excess male population.
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I’m divorced and decided I don’t want to remarry because the risks are too great. But when I began dating again I noticed right away that dating in middle age is different from dating in your 20s. Middle aged women seem quite focused on marriage, and after one woman really gave me the hard sell I quit dating entirely. I don’t want to have children, and I don’t want to legally or financially enmesh my life with anyone else.
It seems I met the definition of MGTOW before I had even heard of it.
But I don’t think MGTOW will change the world. It seems rare for a MGHOW to be an alpha male, and because alphas often have multiple partners it’s unlikely women will notice the few men who have checked out.
I’m also uncomfortable with MGTOW, however, because of what I think is an angry preoccupation with women by some MGTOW, which seems to result from the sting of rejection; statements about women’s true nature with no scientific basis and which reflect common stereotypes; and MGTOW Facebook groups that constantly post news items about women doing bad things, which presents a one-sided view of women that is no different from feminism’s one-sided presentation of men.
One example of junk science is “Briffault’s Law“: “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place”. This wry observation has never achieved the status of a scientific law, and as stated is not scientifically testable. One blogger expanded on it, basically asserting the women demand constant and immediate benefits for the association to continue. Again, any claim about human nature must be scientifically tested. This doesn’t mean Briffault is wrong, though the “law” does seem simplistic. It does mean it should be treated as tentative, and a proper assessment must involve a search for contradictory evidence.
Another example is one MGHOW suggesting that a woman who carries too many bags is mentally ill. Maybe he was joking, but it’s not clear. One wouldn’t say someone is diabetic because she orders a Diet Coke – diabetes is more complicated than that, and only a doctor is qualified to make the diagnosis. The same is true for mental illness.
This MGHOW, Sandman, is a prolific Youtube videographer who creates a new video every day. I don’t mean to single him out because overall I enjoy his videos, most of which are thoughtful and none of which are angry rants. But nuance is important because the reality is that society judges even unintentional sexism by men harshly, while feminist memes such as #killallmen get a free pass (it’s ironic, doncha know).
Another example of women’s “true nature” are stereotypes such as women being irrational. Reality is that human beings are irrational. We have the capacity to be rational, but it’s learned behaviour and takes constant effort. Women and men, however, have different reproductive self-interests, and thus display different behaviours toward that goal. Thus, a woman’s perceptions and actions may seem irrational to men because it conflicts with his self-interest. Or, she may truly behave irrationally, but not any more so than the average man.
In a nutshell, I am a MGHOW because of the lifestyle I’ve chosen, but I remain uncomfortable with the aspects described above.