By Eugène E.
I first heard about the MGTOW community during a conversation with a Chinese-born mobile developer, who had been telling me about a brand-new business idea that he was mulling over. The idea concerned a female robot that would satisfy the most primordial desire of any man. For the mobile developer – let’s call him Bobbie – this was the new future, a time when men would no longer need real women for sex. I’d first thought it was a joke. But Bobbie was in earnest. The product was perfect for a member of the MGTOW community. Hadn’t I heard about it? As I hadn’t, he advised me to take a look, his eyes twinkling with the zeal of a proselytizing missionary. MGTOW could change my life. I greeted this with skepticism. Wary of yet another acronym in a world already heavily saturated with acronyms, especially one that had the potential of changing my life, I did not dwell on it for long.
When I finally did take a closer look at what MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) was all about, I was quite surprised – not by the existence of such a community, but by the fact that someone like Bobbie could conceivably be a part of it. MGTOW seemed like a club for men struggling with maladjustment; Bobbie was anything but maladjusted. He was young and good-looking in that boy-pop-idol kind of way; additionally, he drove a luxury car and seemed to be well-heeled. I found myself intrigued. By the time Bobbie and I spoke about MGTOW again, I was far less benighted than I had been during our first conversation, but no less skeptical. It was hard not to be, just as it was hard not to dismiss MGTOW as an online fringe group. In a way, that’s what it is. But MGTOW is also more than that: it is part of a broader reaction to the onslaught of feminism; and, as such, it deserves some commentary.
Unlike men’s rights groups (MRGs), which have a longer track record, MGTOW is a newer concept. It also differs markedly from men’s rights groups: MGTOW advocates are men who have thrown in the towel insofar as women are concerned. As the name suggests, they are men doing their own thing, which is very unlikely to include women. In the event that it does, the women in question are more likely than not to be prostitutes, courtesans, or just agents of promiscuity – the MGTOW community deplores pursuing anything serious with the fairer sex. MRGs, on the other hand, do not seek to withdraw from serious interaction with women; rather, their objectives revolve around asserting the rights of men, and ensuring that men are treated fairly and equitably by society and by the law. For all their differences, though, both men’s rights groups and MGTOW could only have come about in an environment that has succumbed to the perverse effects of feminism.
Many claim that the appearance of such movements is a reaction of those men who, in the wake of the emancipation of women, are struggling with the new competition. Not every man can handle that. For a man who can’t, life has become tougher; but it’s a fair price to pay for gender equality. No doubt that’s part of the story. But it’s not by any means the whole story. The truth is that, in many Western societies, a growing number of men believe they are under attack. Owing to the often unreasonable, if not nefarious, impact of a feminist-driven agenda, many men have been left feeling confused, stigmatized, and maligned. MRGs and MGTOW are their concerted responses.
It is argued that men have also been beneficiaries of the emancipation of women: after all, never before has it been so easy for a man to “score”. In fact, things are a little more nuanced: one or two centuries ago, going to prostitutes was de rigueur; in fin-de-siècle Vienna, for instance, hiring a girl for sexual services in the streets was as easy as getting a pack of cigarettes – this has been well chronicled. Today men who patronize prostitutes are seen as psychologically corrupt; the red-light industry comes with a major stigma in the West. In some jurisdictions, you can even get nabbed for being a punter. Paradoxically, the stigma associated with prostitution is a result of the sexual revolution: normal men shouldn’t need prostitutes, the thinking goes, given that women are so accessible. But that’s not how things work in real life. Those who stick to the ease-of-access-to-sex argument forget that copulation is easy enough only for those men who are young and decent-looking; men who are older and not so decent-looking are essentially out of luck.
Moreover, sexual culture has been characterized in recent times by a remarkable shift in emphasis, which is now put on the hedonistic dimension of sex rather than on the reproductive one. Of course, hedonism has always been an enormous part of it. Sex has got to be pleasurable: how else do you get two people to rub against each other? In the past, though, when traditions were strong, men went to bed on their wedding night to make their wives pregnant; women were supposed to safeguard their chastity until they were married and ready to be impregnated. In other words, society regarded sex as an instrument of population growth. Back then a man who had just gotten married did not need to worry about failing to meet some expectations when he lay down with his wife: unless she was a “fallen woman”, it was unlikely she had other points of reference. Anyway, his objective was to beget the next generation and not satisfy the Mrs. Men did not need to fret about their performance; their sex did not have to be ridden with angst.
This is not the case today. When a man starts courting a woman, he must face the reality that he might have five – or perhaps fifty – predecessors against whose copulatory feats his own pirouettes are bound to be compared. His job is not to make her pregnant; it is to please her – and if he fails at pleasing her, he fails as a man. While I am not advocating a return to the halcyon days of the great past, when women wore chastity belts and kept themselves pure until their wedding night, it is worth pointing out that in many ways the sexual revolution has put men under a lot of psychological and mental pressure.
Women were once encouraged, if not expected, to become mothers. Today they are encouraged to have “fun” and indulge in such pleasure-seeking proclivities as they might have; they can settle down later – if at all. They’re not told that their ability to conceive drops dramatically as they cross over into their thirties, but that’s a different story. Why spoil the girls’ fun? They have their jobs, they have the pill; they’re independent. Men used to be breadwinners and fathers – that was their raison d’être. Since women are now full participants in the labor force, they don’t need breadwinners; and since they’re no longer encouraged to become mothers, they’re not especially motivated to look for paternal figures for children that they may never have. They’ve been persuaded they no longer need men that much; men have lost their raison d’être. Put differently, men are no longer all that necessary; if anything, they are somewhat superfluous. It is unsurprising that such messages are not received very well in some quarters.
As a result of constant gender engineering efforts undertaken by ultraliberals, men also feel a lot less manly. There are considerable differences between men and women. This is not tantamount to saying that men are superior to women; they’re just different. These differences are manifested in all sorts of ways. On a primitive level, they are manifested in sexual behavior. A man always needs to prove his manhood: every time he enters sexual congress, he is required to have an erection. If he’s unable to have one, he has failed – by definition. Like a thespian performer who must prove himself every time he’s on stage, a man needs to prove himself every time he has sex. Women never have to worry about demonstrating this kind of rigorousness. It’s possible to fake ecstasy, but it’s impossible to fake an erection, certainly not by any natural means. At the same time, the reproductive life of a man is considerably longer than that of a woman. As was mentioned earlier, a woman’s ability to conceive begins to fall once she hits the age of 30, and the decline is a rapid one. A study done by the University of Edinburgh has demonstrated that a woman will have lost 90% of her ovarian eggs by the time she reaches the age of 30. It’s unfair, but such is human anatomy; and no ideological prestidigitation will ever change that. But gender equality warriors are trying to adjust reality to their doctrine. As a result, anatomy and biology have become subservient to ideology. The consequences have been described in previous blog posts: women have become more masculine; men, more feminine. For many men, this is as silly as it is humiliating (although women have also had to deal with some of that fallout, given the number of young women with “issues” these days).
Men have also been subjected to demonization. It is widely accepted now (by many men too) that women have been oppressed by men for centuries. That is a gross distortion of the real historical situation. Yes, women have been oppressed for centuries. But men have been oppressed as well. Until recent times, the story of humanity was, unfortunately, the story of oppression. There’s this absurd idea that women were forced to perform backbreaking labor, while men sat back and took it easy. Not so. Men toiled as hard as women did – in the fields, in the mines, in the factories. What’s more, when nations and states went to war, it was men and not women who were sent off to the killing fields to be used as cannon fodder. A picture’s worth a thousand words – see a symbolically rich painting by Johann Peter Krafft called The Departure of the Militiaman, which shows the head of a household who’s about to leave to fight, while his wife stays home with the child; or read Tolstoy’s War and Peace in all its sprawling majesty, where the men are despatched to paint the earth crimson, while the women flit about in aristocratic salons. The message is the same: men were sent to kill and be killed, while women stayed behind. So who were the oppressed?
Yes, the glass ceiling did exist, but it’s best not to overstate it. Pace feminists and ultraliberals, the world was not run by a sinister patriarchy. England had a queen in the 16th century – incidentally, one of the country’s most famous monarchs. Russia, which typically lags behind Western societies when it comes to social issues, alone had four empresses in the 18th century. Women with epistolary ambitions could become outstanding writers – it was not solely a man’s world. Let’s name the names: Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, George Sand, the Brontë sisters . . . By 1880, Constance Fenimore Woolson’s novel Anne had sold more than 50,000 copies. Many of these writers did not even bother to take on male pseudonyms. Was there absolute equality? No, but this might be explained by the intrinsic differences between men and women, and not by any predilection on the part of men to deny women opportunities.
En passant, I also note that, in those days of “patriarchal oppression”, great works of literature were produced; today, on the other hand, with the glass ceiling having been definitely shattered, literary output should be twice as good – instead, modern culture is mostly dross. And the fact that there was a time when it was almost impossible for a woman to attain the same status as that enjoyed by a man should be weighed against the fact that men paid dearly for their privileges – unlike women, they were expected to die on the battlefield when called upon to do so. Yet men continue to be accused of having oppressed women for centuries; they continue to be portrayed as violent tyrants and untameable satyrs whom society must neuter. At a certain point, for certain men, this kind of talk begins to grate.
The social changes mentioned earlier have also coincided with the economic winds of change. The increased outsourcing of blue-collar jobs to low-cost zones has left many men jobless and unable to adapt to, and insert themselves into, the new economy. Left in the dust by the digital world, they’ve been forced to abide by the rules of what can justly be called the “femcentric age”.
For that is what it is.
Although many people – women especially, but not exclusively – complain that our society is run by men and for men, this is not true. Our culture is actually very female-centric, fuelled as it is by a consumerist ethos (consumerism – shopping – is more female than male) and an obsessive quest to satisfy the modern woman. “Do you know . . . what it feels like for a girl” – so goes the refrain in a Madonna song; and modern culture demands of men to be acutely aware of what it actually feels like to be one. “What do women really want?” This is the “accursed question” of our times. Inspired by the egocentric, narcissistic contortions of the insatiable modern woman as shaped and presented by the entertainment industry and the media – the modern woman who is always in pursuit of the most skilled lover she can sleep with, the richest man to wine and dine her, the most handsome companion to grace her social media photo gallery – women expect men to cater to the needs of that culture and the modern woman it services. Note that this modern woman is not a mother or a mother-to-be; this modern woman is unabashedly single and hedonistically oriented. She is entitled to be pleased; modern culture and society exist to please her. It is for that reason that this age can, with a little bit of mischief, be called “the age of the vagina” – not the age of the woman, but the age of the vagina, since it is based entirely on the idea of pleasure and not on that of responsibility. Those men who refuse to kowtow to the demands of this culture are branded as men who are out of touch, men who don’t get it, men who are attached to the old ways. Sexists and misogynists, basically.
I remember having a tipple with two acquaintances a few years ago, both of them men in their mid-twenties. As so often happens with a male-only gathering, conversation soon turned to women – specifically, to gender issues. Looking downcast at one point, staring at the ground in melancholic abjection, the two gentlemen – both very intelligent and well-rounded – mumbled something about it being so unfair that women were still treated so unequally. At the same time, they worked for a company that prided itself on its commitment to gender equality, in an industry where women had never had it so good; certainly not a single female colleague of theirs had any reason to complain, and they admitted as much. Yet they felt unspeakably guilty. Is that the state of the modern man in the femcentric age?
Little wonder that some men decide to revolt. Men’s rights groups and MGTOW are manifestations of that revolt. What is one to make of them, though?
However valid its arguments might be, the MGTOW community (some might call it a movement; personally, I am not so sure) is inherently anti-social. Who are these men going their own way? They’re men who are rejecting traditional intercourse and interaction with women. Such a rejection is neither healthy nor productive. The primary function of the human species is propagation. Rejecting man’s reproductive duties means rejecting the continuation of the human race along with the debt that one owes to one’s progenitors. This attitude is selfish and irresponsible; the refusal to marry and have children will, quite simply, ultimately lead to extinction. It’s a dead end, but MGTOW adherents tend to sneer at such words as “responsibility” and “debt”. Indeed, this kind of sentiment was often expressed by Bobbie when we spoke. Après moi, le déluge! There were not the slightest stirrings of protest as far as the status quo was concerned; Bobbie’s whole mindset could be summed up by the words “who cares” – we’re here to gratify ourselves and nothing else. This is the mirror image of the modern single woman – it is just as puerile as it is, in the long run, unsustainable.
It is also not a little ridiculous at times. While looking for more information on the MGTOW community on Youtube, I unearthed a number of videos posted by a few MGTOW activists in one city. Aside from elucidating their ideas and doing the virtual equivalent of nailing their theses to the door, they also organized various social events in their area, which they would film for the viewing benefit of remote Youtube confreres. I saw one such recording, made during a barbecue outing. The sight of these men talking about how they could improve their lives over barbecue, with not a single woman to be spotted anywhere, was a sad one to contemplate. These men did not suggest confidence or strength; if anything, there was something distinctly neglected and despondent about them. They evoked the kind of feeling that one might experience in the couloirs of a retirement home or in the hallways of a hospital – instead of coming across as men going their own way to chart their great destinies, they looked like males who were evicted from normal life. If their goal was to show the beauty of a world that did not include women, they failed – at least, with me.
Men’s rights groups (MRGs) are a different beast. They deserve to be taken more seriously, not least because they are not withdrawing from life. They are unwilling to put up with the encroachment of militant feminism upon their rights, and they are ready to assert their rights and to influence legislation as necessary. That commands respect. Their arguments are valid and deserve to be heard – and some women are reaching the same conclusion. US director Cassie Jaye is one of these women. She made an excellent documentary, The Red Pill, which shows that men’s rights activists are not the misogynists or haters of women that they are often portrayed to be, and that they have a valid message worthy of our attention. The movie also debunks the myth of patriarchy and illustrates how the law – in the US, at least – often favors women more than it does men in matters of divorce law and child custody. The documentary ends with Jaye’s proclamation that, whatever she is now, she knows she’s no longer a feminist. So much the better.
Yet there’s something about men’s rights groups as such that gives me pause, and I think I’ve identified the culprit. My ancestors fought against the Nazis in the Second World War to defend their land and their homes, and they were forced to put up with privations that would be hard to imagine today. These men saw what must have been the nadir of Western civilization, and they came back with the scars, wounds, and medals to prove it. They did not need any rights groups to defend their interests. For better or for worse, they were men. Men’s rights groups – they wouldn’t have been able to understand the very idea. If our ancestors were to look at the men of today, the men of the femcentric age, they’d probably see pygmies.
There’s still room for optimism. I’ve lost contact with Bobbie, but the last time I spoke with him, he was in a serious relationship; and while he did say that his lady friend was a no-nonsense woman, he no longer spoke about the MGTOW community or about designing artificial sex partners for lonely men to cavort with. Yet when I look at statistics and the world around me, my optimism fades. The age of femcentrism is contributing to a major demographic hollowing-out of many Western societies. If this continues – and there is at present nothing to suggest that it won’t – Bobbie might want to take another look at the sex robots idea; there could be some money in it still. There’s just one problem, though: at this rate, there might come a day when there won’t be very many men left in Western societies to actually buy them.