We make heroes of men who conspicuously face and overcome fear for a good cause. But there is one fear that we not only want men to run from; we punish them if they show any bravery at all.
There is one fear, above all others, that unites men in what we have come to regard as modern masculinity. It’s a fear that affects almost all men, whether they are meek and timid by nature or the kind men who walk into burning buildings to save people’s lives.
It includes professional boxers, commercial fishermen, inner city police officers, government whistleblowers and law enforcement agents who infiltrate organized crime.
It is not a fear of death that cripples them, nor of torture or personal ruin. But it is a fear so great their refusal to face it has driven them at worst to kill themselves and others, at best to trade in personal dignity and self-respect for life as a servant and court jester.
The set up for this is both complicated and almost indescribably powerful. There is a solution to it for many men that requires an understanding of how we get set up for this fatal weakness. That understanding itself requires courage to face. So much so that most men never will.
That fear is the fear of losing a woman’s love and approval. It is a fear so deep and so pernicious that men will go to insane lengths to preserve it, even when being bitch slapped with the fact that the love and approval aren’t there and never were.
Let’s look at some anecdotes that form a rather uncomfortable picture.
Why it is that so many soldiers who lay dying on the field of battle call for their mothers, or whose last words when fallen are “tell my wife I love her?” Why do so many men work so hard on salvaging relationships with women who are beyond salvage; women who have proven not only that they don’t love those men but in many cases that they feel deep hatred for them?
Why do so many men never develop the skills to defend themselves from abusive women, men who volunteer to become financial marks, throwing their hard earned cash away to impress women who could not be less interested in them? Why do men continue to volunteer labor and personal resources to women, even after they have been wiped out by them in a divorce? Speaking of divorce, why is the tendency toward suicide so overwhelmingly dominated by men during a divorce or breakup?
Why do men seem so incapable of change when it comes to how they approach getting involved with women? In short, most men’s criteria for taking an emotionally, psychologically and financially invested leap with a woman hinges solely on whether she returns his physical attraction.
Why don’t we, as a rule, ever talk to our son’s about this? Why do we conspire, men and women together, to keep them in the dark and to keep them so vulnerable to women?
We are pummeled with the answers to these questions every day of our lives. They slap us in the face and scream in our ears. They grab us by the lapels and shake us violently, trying to get our attention, and yet most men, nearly all of them, invest everything they have in not seeing, not hearing and not feeling any of it. That too goes back to the fear of loss.
I talked to a young man once who came to me for advice. He had saved up to buy his girlfriend a birthday present. It wasn’t something expensive. He was 21 and just starting out in work life. His girlfriend scoffed at the present and told him she had hoped for something a little nicer.
My advice, of course, was to get a better girlfriend or to do without till he learned to land one who was a bit less of a whore, but he was unable to hear any of that. He just kept circling back to his dilemma that he wanted to please her but could not afford to do so. He even asked questions about career paths, with the inference being that he did not ever want to feel so inadequate again.
When I tried to pin him down on what terrified him so about her rejection, he opted to seek advice elsewhere. He exited the conversation in a bit of a huff, telling me that he wasn’t, by God, afraid of anything.
It is easy to write this off to the naivety of youth, but it is now about 15 years later and from what I hear he still lives the same way, in an endless cycle of trying and failing to make a woman happy enough to keep him around. Even though he is now married and with a child, he still allows her to keep him running on the performance treadmill, constantly sweating and pushing for crumbs of occasional, transient approval.
I am pretty sure he has no idea what is about to come, now that there is a child, and he has pretty much maxed out on his income potential. When the other shoe drops, and it will, he will be devastated. When and if he recovers, he will set about finding a woman much in the same way he found his wife, by overextending his means and offering it up on a silver platter to anything pretty, hoping for another crumb of approval.
How did this level of irrational, destructive fear ever become the default setting for men? Well, I think my theory on it has some weight.
The critical, formative years of every child’s existence is dominated by the female presence and the female will, which is often self-serving, unhealthy and for boys, emotionally incestuous. Fathers, whether absent or present, contribute to the problem.
Where there is no male influence, the mother often runs amok. She teaches her boys that they better please her or she will punish them with rejection, physical pain and often psychological humiliation. For boys that have already lost one parent, this is a soul-killing, developmental nightmare and you can bet that their minds adjust with compliance.
Where the father is still present, he is often the enforcer of the same sick agenda. The term “you just wait till your father gets home,” is the young male child’s first experience with proxy violence, instigated by the woman who will shape his view of all women for life, enforced by the man will shape his view of himself and all men.
At some point, he enters the female dominated primary education system, where his coercion into satisfying the will of women is institutionalized. By the time he reaches middle school, his preparation for how to handle his budding attraction to girls is fixed in cement.
And there is yet another key factor that puts the icing on this misandric cake. Romantic chivalry.
For every man’s entire life he is inundated with the message of sacrificial, unconditional male love and dedication in exchange for the appearance of approval. In fact, his willingness to place himself on the altar of female acceptance is tied directly to his ability to feel worthy as a man.
As we know, an unworthy man is just about the lowest thing you can be in this culture.
The mantras of “Happy wife, happy life,” and “When mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” or their sentimental equivalents have been drilled into his consciousness from the time he is old enough to understand what “big boys don’t cry” means.
Once you sweep away all the false pieties of “good man” and “a man who knows how to treat a woman,” what you have left is the groveling servant produced by romantic chivalry.
You see, and it is very important to get this, Chivalry was once a military ethic. It was a code that demanded sacrifice for the unprotected. It was an honorable warrior’s code. It was embraced as a romantic model in the 12th century by the aristocracy, then later emulated by the masses.
The mindless, servile action of men with women was just a social trend that stuck around for a long time. Men weren’t born fools and puppets; it was social pressure that caused it. The human being’s innate tendency for gynocentrism made it all the easier. And it continues to this day.
I recall another event from decades ago, but it will be something very familiar to you, right now. I lived in a duplex. The man who lived above me was a huge sports fan, especially baseball. I could often hear the games through the thin floor of the building. One day his girlfriend was there. They were arguing because he was, according to her, watching too much baseball. I heard her clearly say, “You care more about baseball than me!”
The next thing I heard was the door slamming and her footsteps going down the stairs. A few seconds later he was coming down the stairs, screaming “Stephanie! Please wait!”
At that moment, his baseball game was still coming through the TV in his living room, unwatched. He was on the street at this point. I could see him through the window, pleading with her to stay. Just a few moments later they left together — after he went back into his flat and turned off the game.
And that is how they get you, guys. Doesn’t everyone know that her threat to abandon him was her ace in the hole? Don’t most or all women know this? Don’t they play that card like a boss?
Stephanie’s threatening to leave wasn’t just a minor manipulation. She was triggering every ingrained fear he ever had, from the time he was old enough to talk. Her rejection was his mother’s rejection, his teacher’s disapproval and somewhere in his mind there unconsciously lurked a proxy agent to punish him for his failure at romantic chivalry.
Of course, he wasn’t consciously aware of any of this. All he knew is the thought of her abandoning him left a hole in his gut big enough to swallow him up.
She may not have been totally conscious of her actions, but you can bet she knew enough to know that in walking away she was ripping him to pieces.
When she left, she was taking his manhood with him. Just as the young woman who sneered at a less expensive present from a lovelorn young man had turned his masculinity into a cruel punchline. The only way either of these men could redeem themselves was to lose themselves. Their only path to love was self-hatred.
And that is the moral lesson of today’s talk. Romantic chivalry isn’t love. Often, it is the opposite. It makes narcissists and children of women, and hapless pawns of men, who on close inspection do not resemble anything of what we have ever really honored about men.
In my way of thinking, the only way men can overcome this is by walking into the heart of their fears and rebuilding their self-image on their values instead of on their willingness to sacrifice them. In a way, it requires rewriting the narrative of your life. It is harder to do that for most men than to face a hail of bullets or to walk into a burning building when everyone else is walking out.
The good news is that you can start doing this anytime you make the choice.
Women don’t know a thing about the way men process emotions. Why should they? Their way of dealing with feelings is certified as THE way to do things. Why would she even consider there are alternate ways? But it is worse than that. Not only do they not know about men’s ways, they also participate in a huge cultural game of pointing the finger at men and telling them they don’t do it right! Men need to talk about their feelings and cry, cry, cry. They use this idea as the reason for why men do any possible negative behavior. You know, men who are violent, men who rage, men who are quiet, hell, men who get parking tickets. It’s all rolled into one big party and the finger is pointed and the claim is made that if only he was able to be human and deal with his feelings he would do this or that. Until he can learn to deal with his feelings he will be less than human. Pretty easy gambit to marginalize someone eh?
Entire industries are built on this lie. The therapy industry is just one of those. Then there is the media who write millions of words about this terrible handicap. But what are they missing?
Let’s talk about the first two of five things that they are missing:
1. A man’s emotional pain is taboo. Men are not dumb enough to run out in public and emote openly. They know that no one wants to hear it and those who do hear it will shame him. Think about it, if you are a man when was the last time your spouse really listened to your emotions? Most men will likely say never or extremely rarely. Oh but they expect you to listen to them, right? It’s like Warren Farrell says, when women say they want a man who is touch with his feelings they mean in touch with HER feelings. I’ve worked with hundreds of grieving men and my sample shows the percentage of women who really listen to the man’s pain is nearing zero. Men’s pain is taboo and a woman’s pain is a call to action.
2. Men live in a hierarchy. Research is slowly starting to realize this in their work on what they are calling Precarious Manhood. Men are judged on a daily basis on whether they are “men.” Women face no such judgement. The key for men to be as high in the hierarchy as possible at all costs. Men practice this. They are usually very good at it, and for good reason. If they emote in public they are judged harshly. So we have men, who have practiced this for years and all of the sudden we expect them to take a 180 and open up about their feelings? Fuck no. Opening up about feelings is a quick path to dropping on the hierarchy, way, way down. Women don’t understand a man’s avoidance of this because they have never experienced anything like what he goes through on a daily basis.
We will go over three, four, and five next week.
Laila Laurel’s supposedly “tongue in cheek” manspreading chair is only the latest in a concerted campaign by feminist activists to make men feel bad for supposedly taking up too much space. It is the result of decades of feminist grievance-stoking that has led us to the point that feminists think they should be congratulated for having the gall to tell men how to sit.
How could it happen that some women—with institutional support—could come to feel it their right to lecture men on keeping their knees together?
In 1988, feminist theorist and University of Illinois philosophy professor Sandra Lee Bartky published an article about women’s social position that demonstrates the intellectual roots of this particular strand of anti-male bigotry. Bartky used the ideas of French post-structuralist Michel Foucault to explain how it was that women in the late twentieth century west were technically free, and yet still profoundly, and seemingly willingly, constrained in a variety of ways, ranging from the way they moved and sat to their tendency to smile more than men and to spend a great deal of time and energy making their bodies conform to ideals of feminine beauty. No matter who they were or what they did with their lives, they were always aware of themselves, she claimed, as bodies on display.
Foucault’s theory, developed in his book Discipline and Punish (1975), was that modern regimes had moved away from what he called the power of the sovereign—brute power, often haphazardly applied–to a far more subtle, widespread and effective micro-power that resulted in individuals willingly monitoring and disciplining themselves, becoming what he called “docile bodies.” Though Foucault was far more interested in men’s experiences than women’s, Bartky saw his theory as uniquely applicable to the modern woman, whose body became “docile,” according to Bartky, as a result of the micro-regulation of her gestures, her posture, her movements, her facial expression, and even her tone of voice. What made women regulate themselves, according to Bartky? Nothing and everything—the culture at large. Everything about men, in contrast, from the way they stood and positioned their bodies to their assertive, unconstrained behavior in public spaces, bespoke their less-regulated gendered selves.
Bartky’s is an entirely social constructivist view of womanhood, and the feminist movement in general has taken a strictly constructivist approach to social change over the years. And feminist social change has amounted to a deliberate, institutionally enforced reversal of sex roles, following Bartky’s list of grievances almost to a T. Feminism aims to make men experience greater and greater restrictions on what they can say and do while women demand and achieve ever greater freedoms (without responsibility) in dress and behavior. A few men can get a pass if they are approved by women or beyond the reach of feminist enforcement mechanisms. But a majority of men experience a steady erosion of their autonomy and freedom, to the point that they’re not even sure it’s okay to touch a co-worker on the shoulder or give her a compliment. And they’d better keep their knees together when they sit.
Feminist demands are often framed in terms of women’s safety or social justice. Laila Laurel, for her part, has claimed that how men sit is a part of the everyday sexism that encourages men to “command space” while forcing women to make room for them. But don’t be fooled. The anti-manspreading project is designed to force men to endure the shame and humiliation that Laurel believes, falsely, has been forced on women by men for centuries. It is a project of blatant collective punishment typical of totalitarian movements.
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Does the image above catch your attention?
Of course it does, because male motivation is tied to sexual reproduction and men are motivated primarily by urges to have sex with females, right?
It’s more complex than that.
As far back as 1941 Scottish psychiatrist Ronald Fairbairn found that the desire for attachment in human beings, in terms of the overall psychobiological economy, is a more important necessity than the desire for sexual pleasure and reproduction.
You read it right: attachment is more important than sex.
This scientific finding, not controversial in the field of psychology, presents something of a heretical view to some in the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) who, by contrast, seem to have come in recent years to believe that males are chasing sexual reproduction only — which, oddly enough, seems similar to the stereotype of the “all men want is sex” misandrist paradigm we’ve all come to find so annoying.
Fairbairn’s proposition is now many decades old, but his findings heralded a Copernican revolution within the world of scientific research that would culminate in today’s attachment sciences; it moved the discussion beyond the reductionist sexual theories of Darwin and Freud and into new areas–more complex, more subtle, more nuanced, and ultimately more human.
The question attachment scientists explored is: why do couples continue to stay with each other years after producing offspring, and indeed sometimes for decades after all sexual activity has ceased in relationships? The answer is because human beings are pair bonders who get more out of attachment than they do out of fucking.
Since Fairbairn, studies have confirmed that humans possess an array of distinct motivational systems each in communication with the surrounding environment. Of those systems two are singled out as particularly powerful in motivating humans to form relationships – the sexual urge (eros), and -separately- the urge to attach. Of these, attachment is quite simply the most important to the continued survival of the individual. This cannot be overstated: attachment is the more important to individual survival.
As studies reveal, an absence of close and consistent human attachment causes children to literally wither and die, refusing to thrive even when being provided with clothing, food and an adequate number of toys. Children need reliable and consistent relationships in order to thrive. Likewise adults literally sicken both physically and mentally, and often commit suicide, to escape feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially after a relationship separation.
A lack of sexual contact on the contrary is not as life threatening; you will never see someone die simply because they didn’t get to fuck with the opposite sex and reproduce. I would think that seals the case about what is really important to both men and women. Survival of the species depends on sex; survival of the individual depends on the vital bonds of attachment.
What does all this mean to men?
Well, it means that we need to evaluate separately our attachment needs and our sexual needs, and avoid the common mistake of conflating them; especially if that conflation sees us rejecting both when in fact it may be only one of these causing most of our relationship angst. It may turn out that attachment and sex both need to be rejected in our gynocentric zeitgeist because both are sources of entrapment, however that cannot be determined until we consider each factor separately and thoroughly.
In our psychobiological economy, various desires come into conflict with one another, each jostling for momentary supremacy where one imperative will usurp the claims of another. That game has reached a problematical impasse during the last 800 years because, during that (historically relatively short) time span, human culture has thrown the weight of its patronage into developing, intensifying and enforcing sexual gamesmanship to the degree that our sexual compulsions appear pumped up on steroids and taken to extremes never before seen in the human animal (myths about widespread Roman orgies notwithstanding).
If we lived back in Ancient Greece, Rome or anywhere else we would view sex as little more than a bodily function akin to eating, shitting and sleeping – a basic bodily function without the hype. After the Middle Ages however it developed into a commodity to pimp and trade, and the new cult of sexualized romance that arose resulted in a frustration of our basic need for attachment – a frustration aided and abetted by social institutions placing sexual manipulation at the centre of human interactions.
During these fairly recent centuries of increased hypergamy and sexual focus, our drive to pair-bond continues to shout its demands even while being neglected. Observe for example the not-infrequent feelings of disillusionment and loneliness of serial partner upgraders (hypergamy) or of promiscuous gamers, or consider a beautiful young woman living in her mansion with an aged but wealthy husband to whom she has little or no emotional attachment; even if she is getting sex on the side her loneliness can eat away at her sense of contentment. These examples reveal an urgency surrounding attachment when it is neglected for the sake of secondary sexual or power gains.
Like men, women desire secure attachment beyond whatever sexual advantages they can and do exploit. However the hypergamous compulsion tends to get in the way and frustrate their powerful need to pair-bond. From the Middle Ages all the way to today we read of men and women bitterly disillusioned by the interference of hypergamy in the desire to form stable pair-bonds. Read for instance the bitter, antifeminist complaints of 12th century Andreas Capellanus or those of 14th century Christine de Pizan, or the disillusionment and ultimate rejection of the benefits of hypergamy in later works like Madam Bovary. These authors knew full well that sexualized romantic love had upset the balance of attachment security for both men and women alike.
The question we must ask ourselves is this: can our human need for attachment be indulged without men and women succumbing to the destructive manipulations of the modern sex code? As we stand atop the mountain of bachelor freedoms, rightly rejecting gynocentric women and culture as bastions of exploitation, have we intellectually thrown out the attachment baby with the exploitation bathwater?
Sexual games need not get in the way of healthy attachment, so why should we live without relationships? Well no one ever said we had to, but in recent years I’ve sensed a trend both within and without the men’s activism community (which I’ve long been part of) that foregoing “relationships” is a necessary part of the deal.
This does not seem a prudent attitude to be cultivating, especially for young men who may now be reading advice about rejecting relations with women and making extreme decisions about their lives; refusing to marry, cohabit, or procreate does not require a cutting off from human society. Even if we don’t suicide from loneliness (as so many men do) we need to question if the absence of an intimate relationship in our lives can leave us limping, or somehow unfulfilled. Some will say no, and some of these naysayers may well be what are known as ‘avoidant attachers.’ Of those who would say yes, some might recommend we fill our intimacy void with friendships, which is I think a very good starting point. But this leads to a further question of whether there is an adequate formulation of friendship that can satisfy our needs in a modern context – a relationship that doesn’t rely on the usual corruption at the core of sexualized romantic love.
These questions lead to an exploration of adult human attachment, and modern studies on the subject are abundant from psychological, biological and behavioural points of view. For those interested in following this subject further the Wikipedia entry on Attachment in Adults would be a good place to start, and to branch out from there. Of particular interest is the existence of four basic attachment styles in human beings, indicating that there must also be four main ways of conducting relationships:
Only one of these styles (dismissive avoidant) involves a lack of desire for emotionally close relationships (relationships with minimal emotional intimacy may be tolerable to them), while the other three involve a desire to form emotionally intimate attachments. These are biologically-based traits appearing in each man before he considers rejecting intimacy with women, and they help to account for the behavioral and ideological variability we see among men – for the most part we are working creatively with what’s already in our make up rather than changing our core attachment style.
The four attachment styles and their implications for men deserve a follow up article. While some men’s rights advocates claim men do not need attachment at all, evidence is not in their favour. Thus, for most of us, constructing new ways to form secure relationships with our fellow humans in a rich and rewarding way is an important long-term question, even if we cannot pretend to have all the answers now; we start by knowing what we don’t want: relationships of enslavement and entrapment to the opposite sex (or anyone else for that matter) in an environment that makes healthy attachment difficult. But how do we forge a more positive model for human relationships and attachment for ourselves?
We started this essay with an important question: are sex and attachment two relatively different motivations? The answer is a resounding yes! Yes, despite all the pop culture bombardment of sex, sex, sex, the sexual shaming of men, and all the rest, the answer is yes: sex and attachment are not the same. People can live their lives avoiding sexual games but they will not end their lives happily unless they meet their attachment requirements. And while this journey will be different for each man, we must not flinch from seeing the problem for what it is: not “overcoming our urge to procreate,” but rather, how to be healthy human beings able to recognize and fulfill our natural need for human intimacy.
– Frederico Pereira, David E. Scharff, M. D. Fairbairn and Relational Theory (2002)
– Fairbairn, W.R.D., ‘Psychoanalytic Studies of the Personality’. (2013)
– Shaver, P.R., Handbook of attachment – Second Edition (2008)
– Shaver, P.R., Attachment in Adulthood: Structure, Dynamics and Change (2010)
Feature image by Thomas S.
The movie When Harry Met Sally is 30 years old, and its anniversary has prompted a number of serious reassessments of the popular romantic comedy. Not surprisingly, a harsh feminist lens has been applied to it: while one article celebrates the movie for its revelation of the pleasure gap between the sexes, another criticizes the film for its “quiet cruelty.” Spoiler alert: in both cases, it’s the man who is in the wrong.
The Washington Post author focused on the famous diner scene in which a young Sally demonstrates to a stunned Harry how convincing a woman’s faked orgasm can be. It was a brilliantly funny scene that told a simple truth without judgement: some portion of women are convincing fakers, and even a sexually experienced man can’t be sure. Women laughed in recognition and some men may have scratched their heads, wondering why anyone would need to fake sexual enjoyment.
In the romantic-comedic world of the movie, we are to understand that Sally probably never does fake it with Harry; and that their marriage will be happy enough that it won’t matter either way. But the WaPo writer, Lisa Bonos, has to make something sinister out of the scene. In her argument, Harry is the typical macho man, someone who doesn’t care about women’s pleasure (though the whole point of his story to Sally was his ability to give women pleasure). Furthermore, according to Bonos, the fact that some women fake orgasm supposedly reveals that women’s sexual pleasure is “not prioritized” in heterosexual relationships. Wait a minute! How did it become the man’s fault that his partner lies to him about her sexual experience? How does his desire for her to orgasm prove his “macho arrogance,” as Bonos claims of Harry? Bonos, of course, doesn’t say.
While the Wapo author applauded the move for telling an uncomfortable truth about how men presumably fail to please their women, the Atlantic author, Megan Garber, took the opposite tack: not only was the movie untrue, but it was untrue in a way that was belittling towards women because it validated male-on-female criticism. This author focused on Harry’s announcement to Sally one night when they were talking on the phone about the film Casablanca that Sally is a “high maintenance” woman, someone who has to have her salad dressing on the side and her pie a la mode a certain way—someone who, in other words, is never easy. Sally protests, but Harry insists, and in creating a reductive category for his friend, he does what men, according to the author, too often do by putting women into categories from which they cannot escape.
It’s true that Harry liked to categorize things and people. But isn’t that a comic part of his character, something the film finds amusing and unserious? And yes, Sally is “high maintenance,” a characteristically if not exclusively female trait, but her various quirks don’t prevent Harry—and various other men in the movie—from caring for her and treating her with tenderness and respect. What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal because for this author, as for most feminist authors, any movie that suggests a man can have an opinion about a female flaw, even if the flaw is a minor one, is a film that impinges on women’s necessary freedom to believe themselves perfect. Knowing that Harry found Sally “high maintenance” apparently inspired this author—and others like her, she assumes—occasionally to question her own behavior, wondering if she was being “high maintenance, “ something she apparently believes women should never have to do. When it comes to having preferences or making criticisms about the opposite sex, only women, apparently, should be allowed to do it.
What neither of the writers will admit is how out of sync with the character and tone of the movie their feminist analyses are. When Harry Met Sally was NOT a feminist movie: it was a standard romantic comedy based on a traditional understanding of men and women’s different attitudes towards love and sex. It did not politicize these differences, or care whether they were produced through social conditioning or biological imperative. It imagined that both men and women were happier when they came to see the world through the other’s eyes—something neither feminist author can even imagine.
Fedora tip to Peter Wright of gynocentrism.com.
Recently, Brad Wilcox of PragerU did a video trying to sell the idea that a man is better off yoked to a woman he has to take care of versus life as a bachelor pursuing his own interests and leisure activities.
The reaction from the group of men who identify as Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, was swift, critical and on point.
Now, you might think that the divide between MGTOW and pro-marriage advocates is a relatively new one, born in the internet by a collection of men who made a choice to rebel against the institution of marriage and opened a real-time, public dialogue about it.
In modern times we can trace the kerfuffle back to the early 2000’s, when a group of Men’s Rights Activists created the first internet forum dedicated to men going their own way. An archived conversation with one of the founders was recorded by Rocking Mr. E.
Part of the problem those men encountered was also, in their minds, the solution. Men of this type were fiercely independent. Or, more bluntly put, MGTOW tend not to play well with others. Rather than cooperate with each other, they often went their own way.
That is not a criticism. Quite the contrary, it was MGTOW steadfastness and out-of-the-box thinking that led them to re-popularize the idea of men checking out and taking care of themselves.
Their ideas were subject to quick evolution. For instance, early in the first known internet version of a MGTOW manifesto, they claim to hold the objective of, and I quote, “instilling masculinity in men,” a clear “man up” mandate that would most likely be scoffed at by contemporary men going their own way.
Thus, as far as we know, is when the modern use of the term emerged. Many have assumed that this is a first for western culture, and have even struggled to claim ownership over what “going your own way” means.
There has been a fair amount of infighting over that, from which I have not been exempt. Yet, if we look at history we find that the bickering is like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog. The idea of men going their own way is bigger and older than anyone talking about it today.
There is a record of men avoiding marriage — the dictates of gynocentrism, and the attempts by those who would shame men from that path that stretches back nearly into antiquity.
One good source to gather more information on this is The Age of the Bachelor: Creating an American Subculture by Howard P. Chudacoff, a 1999 book that chronicles a good bit of the history of misogamy and debunks completely the idea that it is a new phenomenon.
Looking back as recently as 1950 we have evidence of the shaming backlash against men who reject marriage and gynocentrism in the form of a book, “Why Are You Single?” a collection of essays compiled by Hilda Holland.
The thrust of the text throws a shadow on the mental and emotional fitness of confirmed bachelors, raising doubt about the quality of their parents, suggesting unresolved Oedipal issues, a lack of maturity and insufficient moral bearing. Such characteristics echo what later came to be referred to as Peter Pan Syndrome.
One of the contributors, Dr. Bernard Glueck, wrote that bachelorhood represented “primitive and infantile thinking.”
He also characterized bachelors as “impulse ridden,” “excessively narcissistic” and even “sadistic.”
It’s the mid-twentieth century version of Brad Wilcox, only with less finesse and undoubtedly less backlash from a population of men more tolerant of being shamed.
Reaching back a bit further in time, to 1896, Ernest Belfort Bax neatly summarized the obvious driving force behind the resistance. In his essay titled “The Matrimonial Privileges of Women,” Bax outlines 12 key areas that put men at unjust, egregious disadvantage, vulnerable to fraud, deception, violence and incarceration at the hands of wives.
Also, in the same year, according to Peter Wright of gynocentrism.com, “Mrs. Charlotte Smith, feminist activist and President of the Women’s Rescue League, spearheaded an anti-bachelor campaign based on her concerns about the increasing numbers of women who could not find husbands — a surprising development considering men outnumbered women in the United States then by 1.5 million. Her solution to the “problem” was to denigrate, malign, and ultimately punish bachelors in order to pressure them into marrying any women unlucky enough to remain unwed.
Part of her remedy was to have bachelors excluded from employment in prominent public sector positions. Her second punishment proposed a universal bachelor tax of $10 per year be applied, amounting to between 1-4 weeks of the average wage, with the proceeds to provide living standards for ‘unmarried maidens’ orphans and the poor.”
It seems Mr. Wilcox is standing on a lot of shoulders, and it does not stop there.
In 1707 a conversation about a bachelor tax between two young women was published. Eliza kicks off her conversation with Mariana with the following:
Amongst all the female grievances we have hitherto debated there still remains one we have not yet touch’d upon. There are an abundance of bachelors who, thro’ a cowardly apprehension of the cares and troubles of the marry’d state, are so fearful of entering into it, that they would rather run the hazard of damning their souls with the repeated sin of fornication, than they will honestly engage in Wedlock to procreate within those reasonable bounds which the united laws of both God and man have both religiously appointed: Therefore methinks it would well become the care of a Parliament to redress this grievance, so very hurtful to the Kingdom in general, as well as to our sex in particular, by some compulsory law that should enforce Marriage upon all single sinners who otherwise will never keep a cow of their own whilst a quart of milk is to be brought for a penny.”
The full conversation goes on to ensure that even celibate men are granted no reprieve. The two women imagine all sorts of evils befalling society from the minority of men who eschew married life as well as sexual relations.
In this we get a glimpse of the true source of hostility toward gay men. The hatred is not a fear of them, but a resentment of their freedom and their lack of utility to women.
To Eliza and Mariana, as it is to the Bradford Wilcox’s of today, men must marry, and they must do so within the confines of the law and the church. If they refuse, they are inferior, defective threats to society. They are to be punished and burdened for their refusal to indulge gynocentric culture.
Yet still, men resisted.
In 1898, two years after Charlotte Smith started advocacy to shame and punish men who refused to marry, a group was formed by the name, “Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band.” Their mandate was clear.
As was reported in the New York World, then one of New York City’s two top newspapers, ‘The motto of the club is Solomon’s proverb: “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” The objects of the club are to oppose matrimony, to fight for the liberty of man, to encourage the manufacture of all such devices as bachelor buttons and to check the movement inaugurated by Mrs. Charlotte Smith “and other disgruntled females” to require bachelors to wed.’
In one declaration, it is a statement supportive of both men’s rights and men going their own way.
Eventually, of course, these voices of dissent on behalf of men would be pushed out of the mainstream media and shunned, as the media became more and more feminized. We can see the eventual result of that now plastered across the pages of most mainstream publications and places like PragerU, mocking and demonizing MGTOW and the MHRM, generally speaking.
The point of this is to make clear that misogamy, which covers the lion’s share of MGTOW, isn’t new. And MGTOW itself, has risen and fallen throughout the ages under many different names.
Even literal reference to the subject predates all of us with a feminist writing about and somewhat encouraging men to go their own way in 1897.
The difference now, and actually the only difference, is the internet. With the new technology, silencing men who reject the slavish dictates of legally sanctioned marriage is no longer possible. As an instrument of support and education, the World Wide Web now affords the opportunity to reject marriage, and to reject the inevitable shaming by feminists and gynocentrists like Brad Wilcox.
Marching to your own drum still comes with a price, but the internet has made it affordable. That isn’t good for marriage as it stands. Since white feathers and the empty allegation of being less than manly no longer work, the only solution left will be what has heretofore been unspeakable.
If society wants to encourage young men to marry, it will require an overhaul of the law and an overhaul of the female psyche. Biased laws have to go. The outrageous privilege and entitlement of women have to go.
It is hard to tell which will be harder. The legal change or the social change. Both are daunting. Most MGTOW won’t care to worry about it, though. They will be too busy living their lives. They have already gotten the message, even if most don’t know how old that message is.
We’ve taken it back 900 years to the work of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne, who commissioned many a troubadour to spread propaganda glorifying male sacrifice for the sake of women.
But even then there was a chink in the armor. In their seminal commissioned work, The Art of Courtly Love, by Andreas Capellanus, he makes a surprise conclusion after penning chapters on the noble dictates of romantic chivalry.
He says, and I quote: “Therefore if you will examine carefully all the things that go to make up love, you will see clearly that there are conclusive reasons why a man is bound to avoid it with all his might and to trample under foot all its rules.”
One has to wonder if the courtly Marie ever read the whole work, and Capellanus may count himself lucky if she did not read the above addenda to the work – she might have had him beheaded.
Incidentally, the tendency to claim absolute ownership of the meaning of bachelorhood is also nothing new. Over a hundred years ago, in The Bachelor Book, a magazine dedicated to confirmed bachelors, we read the following:
Bachelorhood is surely one of the fine arts. No man becomes a bachelor other than by selection. A mere failure to connect on the matrimonial timetable does not constitute a bachelor! By no means. As well you might call a man a Frenchman who missed his steamer, thereby finding himself in France.”
Today, many MGTOW will tell you that they had it backwards, that all it takes to be MGTOW, or a “real” bachelor if you will, is to miss that steamer. Perhaps there would even be a war of words between Bachelor Book subscribers and some modern MGTOW.
If there were, though, it would hardly matter. With time, and with embracing an understanding of our shared history, a larger revolution is unavoidable.
What constitutes a real bachelor or a real MGTOW? I am not going to pretend to know. I am just thankful that the age of shame is over for any man who chooses, and that the advocates of male subservience to hypergamy and gynocentrism no longer have the pulpit to themselves.
They can kiss those days goodbye, forever. We know this as we see them on the receiving end of some of the shame they are dishing out.
Ellen Hendriksen bills herself as the Savvy Psychologist. She even uses the moniker in her byline; a gauche attempt at branding better suited on a cereal box than on a shingle promoting mental health expertise.
But of course, gauche works in the social justice milieu, and thus has resulted in her being published of all places in the Scientific American. Her work now stains a once gripping and credible publication with the ideological hatred of feminist orthodoxy.
Her offering there, “How to Fight Toxic Masculinity,” is a title that in and of itself insults scientific rigor by promoting a concept with no evidentiary backing whatsoever. Toxic masculinity.
Like most feminist ideologues who spread misleading propaganda from behind a façade of good intent, she takes a kernel of truth and veers off into a realm of ignorance comprised of conjecture and non sequiturs. For instance, she offers a somewhat even-handed critique of men and traditional masculinity.
“To fit in the man box of toxic masculinity,” she says, “a man must live by a particular set of beliefs and behaviors:”
She provides a list of those things as follows:
- Suffer pain in silence
- Have no needs
- Never lose
- Show no emotions other than bravado or rage
- Don’t depend on anyone
- Don’t do anything that could be construed as weakness
- Never snitch
So far this is a sample of the typical feminist diatribe about men. And she does nothing to surprise us in the rest of the article, as she wanders into bemoaning an alleged wage gap (what she thought that had to do with toxic masculinity I don’t know) and pointing out that men are less likely than women to seek medical help because of the beliefs she identifies in the list. The list, she loosely asserts, stems from the male hierarchy. That seems to be her demon of choice.
Not very savvy of her.
Again, what Hendriksen offers is the typical feminist spiel, including the fact that she never explains, or even attempts to explain, where that list and the male hierarchy come from. She seems to run on the standard feminist claptrap that males form hierarchies in the pursuit of power and dominance.
But here’s the rub. Hendriksen, like all her sisters, fails totally to understand the impetus that drives male hierarchy and that confounded list of self-diminishing beliefs and behaviors. The answer to that is simple and obvious. You’d think it would be child’s play for a savvy psychologist.
Let’s take item number 1. Suffer pain in silence. Now, what would cause a man to do that? Is that what men do in the pursuit of power? Or is the inability to openly articulate pain something men don’t do because women will reject them?
Of course, it’s the latter. And this is the gist of the problem here. You can run down the entirety of that list and what you will find is a code that men must live by to have any sort of chance of not being rejected by women. It’s not a factor so much a male hierarchy, but in the male-female hierarchy which always puts men at the bottom.
Weak men, or if you prefer, men who treat themselves with value, are condemned to sexual rejection and isolation. Men adopt those characteristics (that Hendriksen listed without understanding) because not doing so results in reproductive death. Women, as a rule, do not want men to acknowledge their own pain, to have needs/demands of their own, to be dependent or emotional. Indeed, they loathe these things when they see them in men.
Only a blind ideologue could overlook that in favor of a narrative that attributes men’s greatest vulnerability to a macho quest for power and control. And a blind ideologue is precisely what we find in the likes of Ellen Hendriksen.
Imagine the level of chosen ignorance and indifference it takes from anyone, let alone a mental health professional, to present themselves as an expert while not seeing so much that is directly under their upturned nose.
There is much more in the article to criticize, but there’s little point in it. It’s a shopworn screed of garden variety feminist hate. Indeed, most remarkable about her piece is the fact that it found its way into the Scientific American, to that publication’s great shame.
Still, it is more than sufficient to award Hendriksen, who peddles herself like she’s one plaid jacket and a cigar away from being a used car salesman, Regarding Men’s Sick-o-Therapist of the Month Award.
It was six years ago that a small group of activists in Edmonton, Alberta demonstrated to the rest of the country how tired they were of anti-male propaganda. Their witty poster campaign, entitled “Don’t Be That Girl,” and the predictable backlash it provoked, illustrated the thick skin and long-game steadfastness required in men’s rights work.
In July of 2013, a coalition of feminist groups had teamed up with Canada’s national police force to create a series of posters lecturing men about their supposed sexual attitudes.
The campaign, dubbed “edgy” and “brash” by an approving Global News article, challenged men to “own their role” in ending rape. In particular, according to the website of one of the project partners, the campaign pinpointed men’s “sense of entitlement in regards to sex and access to women’s bodies.” It didn’t matter that most men have never felt any such entitlement. “Just because you helped her home … doesn’t mean you can help yourself,” ran one of the poster’s messages, with an image of a drunken girl being assisted to a vehicle by her date. Another poster showed a young woman passed out on a sofa while a man stands over her, just about to remove his jeans. Nowhere on the posters or in the accompanying explanatory literature was it mentioned that sexual assault is committed by a very small minority of men.
The posters suggested that many men are so brutish and morally enfeebled as not to realize or care that sex with a woman who has passed out is not sex but sexual assault.
In response, Men’s Rights Edmonton launched its own “public education” campaign: against false allegations of sexual assault. Entitled “Don’t Be That Girl,” it copied the feminist posters exactly, using some of the same images and lettering, but with a different message: “Just because you regret a one night stand … doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual.” The men’s rights posters had a simple, tit-for-tat message: men can be victims too, and they’re tired of the barrage of misandrist messages. In a gender equal world, women’s criminality deserves to be called out just as much as men’s.
The all-too-predictable response was a marshaling of outrage and over-statement. Anu Dugal, Director of Violence Prevention at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, said that the men’s rights posters reinforced the damaging belief “that women are responsible for sexual assault because of their actions or appearance.” Notice the specious logic in Dugal’s cookie-cutter rebuttal: to claim that some women lie about abuse is the same, according to her, as claiming that women are responsible for their abuse. But “Don’t Be That Girl” never said that women are to blame for rape: the subject of the men’s rights campaign was false allegations.
Another feminist organization, Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault, charged that “Don’t Be That Girl” was “absolutely false, inaccurate and 100% incorrect.” What is one to say about such a claim, given that proven cases of false charges are widely known; one well-publicized case at the time of the posters involved an Edmonton cab driver whose accusers’ casually malicious plan to get out of paying their cab fare by claiming he had assaulted them was caught on videotape. If not for the camera in the taxi, Soner Yasa would likely have gone to prison; he would almost certainly have been out of a job, his reputation in tatters. The feminist response to such realities was a massive, socially-sanctioned shrug.
Most disturbing of all was the response of an Edmonton police officer, Acting Inspector Sean Armstrong of the Serious Crime Branch, who dismissed ant-feminist concerns by claiming that in “four and a half years” of assault investigations, he had encountered “only one false report.” How would he know? When even police officers—those whom we expect to treat all claims with a certain degree of sober skepticism—blindly toe the feminist line, we know our society is in serious trouble.
“Don’t Be That Girl” demonstrated the perfect circle of feminist orthodoxy: men who refuse their characterization as rapists are accused of promoting rape; men who object to false charges are accused of lying. “Don’t Be That Girl” indicated the wit, tenacity, and refusal of shame necessary in MRA resistance.