According to columnist Martin Daubney, members of the MGTOW community believe that legal and romantic entanglements with women fail a cost–benefit analysis and risk–benefit analysis. Jeremy Nicholson writing for Psychology Today similarly described MGTOW as men frustrated with the lack of incentives to date who choose to opt out of dating and focus on taking care of themselves. Kay Hymowitz has stated that some self-identified MGTOW express discontent because they see women as hypergamous and manipulative. Business Insider reporter Dylan Love wrote a “fully-realized MGTOW (there are levels to it) is someone who shuns all relationships with women, short-term, long-term, romantic, and otherwise. He eventually shuns society as a whole.” MGTOW use the word “gynocentric” to describe conditions that favor women to the detriment of men, and are opposed to such circumstances.
-from Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) on Wikipedia.
I heard about this on Facebook less than an hour ago (as I write this). I’ve been doing a bit of Googling and read a couple of articles, and it seems well out of my experience. But then again, I’m 62 years old and as of next April, I’ll have been married to the same woman for 34 years.
However, my experiences as a young man back in the day are a lot different from those in today’s society. Even my expectations were different. I’d always been raised to believe that when I grew up, I’d leave home, make my way in the world (get a job, support myself), meet “the right woman,” get married, and have children.
I figured that was “normal” for all guys everywhere. That’s just how things worked.
I’ve found the official MGTOW.com website, but I haven’t had a chance to poke around yet.
Like I said, I’ve read a couple of articles. The first was written by Kay Hymowitz and is titled Why Are Men So Angry?. I should say they might be angry at Hymowitz because she wrote a book called “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys.”
Here’s some of what she has to say:
About a week ago, The Wall Street Journal published an excerpt of my new book, which argued that the new stage I call pre-adulthood—the twenties and early thirties—was not bringing out the best in single young men. Some men didn’t like it. As in, “cancel-my-subscription-the-writer-should-contract-such-a-bad-case-of-carpel-tunnel-syndrome-she-never-writes-again” didn’t like it.
But a lot of the responses unwittingly proved my point—and another one: Men are really, really angry. Consider: “We’re not STUCK in pre-adulthood, we choose it because there aren’t any desirable American women. They’ve been bred to abuse men.” This fairly typical response that appeared at the Seattle Post Intelligencer website: “Sorry ladies. In the age of PlayStation 3s, 24-hours-a-day sports channels, and free Internet porn, you are now obsolete. All that nagging, whining, and stealing our hard earned cash have finally caught up to you.”
Yikes! Has feminism (there are so many waves, current feminism bears no resemblance to what I was familiar with in the 1970s) somehow made women so competent and equal that men can’t handle a relationship with them? Has this resulted in young men turning away from dealing with equal female partners and withdrawing into “PlayStation 3s, 24-hours-a-day sports channels, and free Internet porn?”
That explanation might satisfy a lot of women, but even Hymowitz doesn’t think it’s the whole story:
Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure.
But there’s another reason for these rants, one that is far less understood. Let’s call it gender bait and switch. Never before in history have men been matched up with women who are so much their equal—socially, professionally, and sexually. By the time they reach their twenties, they have years of experience with women as equal competitors—in school, on soccer fields, and even in bed. They very reasonably assume that the women they are meeting at a bar or café or gym are after the same things they are: financial independence, career success, toned triceps, and sex.
That’s the bait; here comes the switch. Women may want equality at the conference table and treadmill. But when it comes to sex and dating, they aren’t so sure. The might hook up as freely as a Duke athlete. Or, they might want men to play Greatest Generation gentleman. Yes, they want men to pay for dinner, call for dates—a writer at the popular dating website The Frisky titled a recent piece “Call me and ask me out for a damn date!”—and open doors for them. A lot of men wonder: “WTF??!” Why should they do the asking? Why should they pay for dinner? After all, they are equals and in any case, the woman a guy is asking out probably has more cash in her pocket than he does; recent female graduates are making more than males in most large cities.
In other words, according to this article, the problem may not be with men dealing with women as equals, but woman wanting to be treated as equal to men in everything except dating.
This may also relate to a concept called Hypergamy or “marrying up.” A “term used in social science for the act or practice of a woman marrying a man of higher caste or social status than herself.”
Of course, this social expectation has been around a long time, and the historic advantages men have had over women for most of the existence of the human race is likely a large contributor.
But if society has “progressed” and women in western culture are equal to or strongly approaching equal to men, then why hasn’t this expectation gone the way of the Dodo bird?
The flip side to Hymowitz’s opinion is an article written by Jeremy Nicholson, MSW, Ph.D called Why Are Men Frustrated With Dating?.
Essentially, many men report that they find modern dating a primarily punishing affair. Changing social norms has allowed few avenues by which they can be both acceptable as a relationship partner and attractive as a sex partner. As a result, at least half of their needs are unfulfilled, regardless of the decision they make.
If men choose to follow social norms and become compliant as “good guys”, they may get a “relationship partner”. However, due to women’s social vs. biological double-bind, these compliant men may also not be “attractive” to those same relationship partners (Buss & Shackelford, 2008). As a result, they may be punished by their girlfriend’s/wife’s lack of sexual interest, being cheated on, or disrespected as a “push over”. These men may further be regarded as “just friends”—expected to pay for all of the costs of a relationship, without the physical and intimate benefits.
Nicholson doesn’t believe this issue is caused by male immaturity, but in a shift of social expectations that remove the incentive for men dating, especially in a society where the social norms now highly favor women.
According to Wikipedia, “MGTOW use the word “gynocentric” to describe conditions that favor women to the detriment of men, and are opposed to such circumstances.”
Nicholson believes there are four options for such men:
- Becoming attractive
- Partnering carefully
- Holding high standards
- Opting out
The article I linked to provides descriptions of each of these options, and of course, opting out is the MGTOW position.
I have two sons who are age 30 (twins) and a 28-year-old daughter, so this is very much related to them. Only one of my sons married, had children, and got a divorce. The other two kids don’t even date.
I thought it rather odd that all three of them hadn’t found mates of one sort or another by now, but maybe the situation I’ve been describing is part of the problem.
I don’t have much of a conclusion to this. I’m writing as a way of processing this information. Maybe more will come of it later, including yet another short story about the dystopia.
Addendum, 1 February 2018: I write weekly for Lyrical Fiction Friday hosted at The Next Chapter. Marquessa posts a line from a song every week and asks that anyone who wants to participate uses it as a prompt for authoring a poem, short story, or other creative work. The lyric for this week is …There are some things I won’t do…I don’t ever want to leave you confused… “
I was having trouble finding a “hook” for a story based on that, so I looked up the entire song which is I Don’t Need a Man (YouTube video) recorded by The Pussycat Dolls in 2005. The title and frankly the lyrics sound pretty horrible in some sense, but in researching the meaning, I found that it’s not addressed at all men, just those who are arrogant enough to believe they’re God’s gift to all women everywhere.
Okay, I get it and it’s a valid point, but then I remembered I wrote this article a little over a year ago, which attracted a fair amount of pro and con comments. In this case, I thought it appropriate to use as a response to the writing challenge, not because the song in question is really a rejection of all women of all men, but to give a fresh voice to an obviously changing dynamic in male-female relationships in the 21st century.
Let me know what you think.