The “manosphere” is a bad representative for masculinity. So what does that mean for relationships?
Boys will be boys
Masculinity in the 21st century is an interesting beast. It enters a transitory period as the increase in communicative capabilities created by the digital world stepping out of it’s Huggies and growing into what seems like a sort of turbulent teenage period, marked by the feverish scrambling rise of social media amidst a tumultuous cacophony of voices that shows no sign of abating.
While the general noise of the internet can be overwhelming, volatile and, often enough, senseless; it has achieved something fairly revolutionary. The equality at the core of the internet has given the voiceless and the drowned out an equal footing with those touting the megaphones. Amongst them, overridden in traditional spaces, women have found a space to make their voices heard on the internet, which has in turn created a dramatic impact in western society. This has typically been more apparent in culture and social trends before more substantial practical affects on wider views in society have taken root.
In a consumer society where sex sells, it was only natural that relationships and sex would be enter the discussion. Interestingly it has at points seemed to be one of the most volatile foci of the movement in cultural concepts around gender in the stagger towards equality. Of course, the change met with opposition. Fair enough, change should always be open to conversation and examination that typically marks the path of progress. Only, where the internet is concerned, and despite allowing all people a voice, the least coherent are often enough, as in meatspace, the loudest in the room. With a growing awareness that women’s position in relationships and gender dynamics were shifting, most have adapted to the changes reasonably well, if not with encouragement, there are several groups of men emerging from the smoke who appear decidedly unhappy with the current trajectory.
I suppose that as women gained more agency there were always going to be men who felt threatened by the developments. Relationships seem to be the main thread running through the objections. It seems that as women gain increasing potential for independence, various clusters of men will interpret the move towards equality as an obstruction to their net potential sexual opportunities. In response, a number of groups appeared in what became known, amusingly, as the ‘manosphere,’ characterised by a focus on modern interpretations or reclamations of masculinity. The men inhabiting these spaces apparently feel that they have lost their sense of masculinity in the face of the modern world. Welcome to the picture of 21st century castration anxiety.
Feeling powerless in a world that demands the they attain power, the focus has, whether conscious or not, become concerned with control. Two of the emergent groups approach their masculine identities in an almost crusade-esque style, but are differentiated by the angles from which they approach. What stands out about they share is how individuality is superseded by a group identity.
Convincing the mirror
The Red Pill characterise an outward aggressive pursuit of control. The active style of the philosophy is in line with their traditionalist conservative approach to masculinity, reflected in the division of males into ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’. This desire to cling to traditional archetypes and gender rules also tented to women. For followers of the Red Pill, Women seem t either fit into their conceptions of the world or are hand waves away if not entirely ignored if they do not work within the Red Pill idea of “reality”.
Within Red Pill philosophy, women function as passive receptors for male sexual desire, incapable of sexual agency themselves as that would violate their natural position in the world. Instead female sexual desire becomes merely a yardstick against which the Red Pill men measure their positions on the social ladder. If a man is ‘alpha’ ten women will automatically sleep with him. If she will not sleep with him then it is a clear sign that the views him as a ‘beta’ male.
It’s interesting, then, that while women should always be passive in the sexual urges, they are simultaneously aggressive in their pursuit of them. Why? Because they are always sleeping with someone behind your back. According to Red Pill thinking, a woman I by default guilty of infidelity — assumedly with a more alpha male. An alpha alpha male? It’s a view that is more or less Victorian in how it conceives of sexual desire in women — simultaneously passive and utterly unable to control it.
This is the sad ting about the whole “movement”. Despite all the chest thumping, the Red Pill adopts an inherently defensive stance. The reliance on the expression ‘All Women Are Like That’ (frequently abbreviated to AWALT) reveals the fragility underlying the outward aggression and reliance on tribal identity over their own individual personalities.
The Boxing of roughly three and a half billion humans into one collection of supposedly inherent set of characteristics to which they are automatically predisposed functions as a psychological comfort blanket. It is there to reinforce their set of ideas and deflect anything that might challenge those assumptions. The oversimplifications helps to hammer genders into very neat, but restrictive, roles,
The rejection of individuality in favour of group identity precludes the ability to accept people as autonomous individuals and reinforces the shallow mass gender-dictated idea of personality. This in turn reinforces the control focus. The behaviour of a group of entities becomes easier to predict the more entities that group contains. Conversely, that behaviour becomes less predictable the further you zoom in.
The ideology revolves around the expectation that the man is always active and that his role n a relationship to the keep the woman in check. The minute he fails to exert an overbearing presence, she will order an express pizza delivery with the sole intention of sleeping with he delivery man. She is always but a single step from whoredom. Therefor, a “quality” woman is merely one who has yet to indulge her desire to sleep with your best friend while you’re our buying beer. Naturally, this woman doesn’t exist. Ultimately, this serves to disguise the lie that those affiliated with the Red Pill are comfortable with themselves, let alone women. Unsurprisingly, I’m having trouble finding the diction to adequately encapsulate just how insecure this is.
Not quite managing walden
Men Going Their Own Way, MGTOW for short, represent a passive approach to 21st century re-interpretations of masculinity. They aren’t too different from the Red Pill in that, despite the surface introspection of their philosophy, they still let rely on the external world to define them. Lacking affection from the women in their lives, they feel they have lost their sense of masculinity. Coming to the conclusion that further attempts to gain female affection, and thus establish their masculine identities, are futile, they claim to be seeking an alternative. While the Red Pill attempt to acquire women as qualifiers of their masculinity, MGTOW are attempting to rid themselves of their dependence on women as qualifiers of masculinity.
As with The Red Pill, they were first defined by the women their lives and have since decided to be defined by their group. The problem with this is the simple fact that they haven’t left behind the chip on their collective shoulder. The very group that they are redefining themselves by stems from a conflict originating in their relationships with women. With women kept at the heart of their identity, they will never achieve their goal of establishing their own separate masculinity with any sense of security. This still comes down to control, but in the case the urge is directed internally.
The MGTOW philosophy is a glorified tantrum. ‘I’m taking my balls and going home!’ they scream. The problem is simply that nobody cares. They have seemingly refused to accept a truth of the world: You are not an indispensable resource. This applies to everyone. Nobody is exempt. The simple fact of the matter is that is that there are a lot of other balls. Now, it’s absolutely fine to remove yourself from the supply chain. Solitude is not a sin. Celibacy is not an illness. Just don’t expect it to have any wider impact because the gap you leave will be instantly filled. Nobody is going to notice your absence.
From this tantrum emerges a rejection of relations and marriage. Again, this is all fair enough. The traditionalists will act like the sky is falling, but they aren’t worth paying attention to. I don’t particularly support marriage myself. I’m not against it, but aside from tax benefits I don’t see what purpose or relevance it has in the modern world. Side topic, there’s an entirely separate conversation to be had about this one, and the effects of leaving marriage as an institution in the past. One interesting economic side affect is the hissy-fit that the diamond industry is currently throwing, and the historical social consequences of the manipulative way in which the diamond industry re-framed relationships, marriage, and arguably masculinity, around the start of the 20th century. As a further note, if you are married, or want to get married, then good for you and I wish you the best of luck and long lasting happiness. All the same, I still feel a sense of pride bordering on arousal every time I read an article complaining that millennials are killing the diamond industry. Good.
Returning to the point, MGTOW aren’t rejecting relationships or marriage on the basis on any kind of social or cultural concern. It’s merely an ego-defensive response. If they can’t get into a relationship then they will claim that they never wanted one in the first place. So there! How many of these guys would spontaneously abandon their aspirations to “go their own way” were an attractive woman to express interest in them?
With that in mind, I find it amusing that MGTOW feels the current world is leaning to far towards gynocentrism. Then again, who’s surprised? Women were able to take a step up the social ladder and suddenly there are a bunch of blokes being as loud as possible about it. Because of course there is. And of course it’s the same blokes who don’t care about wage gaps, birth control and menstruation costs or weird work place expectations like mandatory heel lengths for women who spend their entire day in front of spreadsheets. Then there’s the historical side f things. It took until 1918 for property owning women over the age of 30 to get the vote. The same year that all men over the age of 21 received the same right. It took until 1976 for UK law to make it illegal to beat your wife with the Domestic Violence and Matrimonial Proceeding’s Act. It’s only very recently that we’ve been trying to do something about female genital mutilation.
Just stop. This is gynocentrism? There are discussions that can be had about all the current talking points and more, but again we’re all well aware that none of the MGTOW complaints are about society, gender roles, the feminist agenda, or whatever. Nobody will suck their dicks so suddenly the world is a man hating gynocentric oppression wheel. That’s all it boils down to. Thinly veiled whining.
So when you examine this idea that MGTOW focusses on self-ownership, it doesn’t take long to come to the conclusion that no it doesn’t. “Men Going Their Own Way by forging our own identities and paths to self-defined success; cutting through collective idea of what a man is,” By forming a collective. Right. Here’s a thought: Men who own themselves don’t need a support group because they aren’t getting laid.
Then there’s the apparent assertion that feminists, white knights, social justice warriors, the LGBT movement, and safe spaces are obstacles to male self-ownership. Putting aside my own personal disdain for white knighting, SJWs, and safe spaces, I have got to hear how an equality movement, one that includes men, is possibly going to hinder anyone’s ability to own themselves.
It doesn’t. Of course. As far as I can tell, MGTOW followers don’t actually want to own themselves. They just feel entitled to money, success, and women. Anything that denies them these things is somehow an assault on their masculine identities. They want a free pass. In fact, the only thing that the LGBT movement is going to do in relation to any of this, is help more men do precisely what these boys aren’t willing to: Own themselves.
And When I Became A Man I Put Aside Childish Things
These are not movement of strength or independence. At best they’re merely stagnant and indulgent. Behind the grandstanding and puffed chests, the reality is juvenile. The hollow posturing belies a streak of mass deep-seated insecurity. The Red Pill’s insistence that they’ve got a bead on some hidden truth and the preoccupation wit proving their dominance only serves to highlight the impotence behind all the pea-cocking. The Men Going Their Own Way are boys only interested in drawing attention to themselves.
It’s the same reason that the “strong independent woman who don’t need no man” phrase became shorthand mockery. If you follow any philosophy or ethos for yourself you just act in accordance with it without the need for a label. Not to mention that both of these movements make all relationships a dysfunctional nightmare, not just the romantic or sexual. Following the Red Pill results in all male relationships becoming a meaningless power struggle, while relationships with women are a series of mind games and instability because the notion of trust doesn’t exist. The MGTOW approach to other men is childlike and codependent. Where women are concerned it just seems to turn every interaction with the opposite sex into an existential threat. Due to their entire self-conception being founded on their lack of female affection, all interactions become about precisely that, whether they are conscious of it or not.
People secure in their own sense of power don’t constantly need to assert control over everyone around them. People who don’t care about an entire gender don’t need to make a support group to cope with them. If you need to prove you’re a man then chances are that you’re not. This is not the quiet march of a few stoic brothers, more the hysterical parade of a herd of prima donnas.