Men Going Their Own Way

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MGTOW logo as shown in episode "Men at War" of the BBC series Reggie Yates' Extreme UK[1]

Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW /ˈmɪɡt/) is a mostly pseudonymous online community[2][3] of men supported by websites and social media presences[4] cautioning men against serious romantic relationships with women, especially marriage.[5][6]

The community is part of what is more broadly termed the manosphere.[7] MGTOW have "...vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children".[8] MGTOW focuses on men's self-ownership rather than changing the status quo through activism and protest, making MGTOW distinct from the men's rights movement.[9] The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified MGTOW as a fringe supremacist group.[10]


According to Mack Lamoureux, the "...MGTOW community's history is murky, but it was most likely birthed in the mid to early 2000's by two men who go by the online aliases of Solaris and Ragnar." [11] While MGTOW is most associated with Reddit online forums (the UK Express calls MGTOW a "Reddit movement"), there are also MGTOW-themed videos on YouTube.[12]


MGTOW has been associated with political viewpoints. Politically, MGTOW has been variously associated with libertarianism,[13] the alt-right,[13][14] and philosophical anarchism.[9] MGTOW use the word gynocentric to describe conditions that they claim favor women to the detriment of men, and are opposed to such circumstances.[15][6] MGTOW believe that there is a systemic gynocentric bias against men including double standards in gender roles, bias against men in family courts, lack of concern for men falsely accused of rape and lack of consequences for their accusers.[9]


According to Vice, there are five levels to MGTOW:[11]

  • Level 0 – Situational awareness: This is the lowest level of MGTOW. At this level, a man is viewed as having swallowed the "red pill" and thereby, MGTOW advocates claim men at this level "embrace the idea that gender equality is a lie and propaganda."
  • Level 1 – Rejection of long-term relationships: At this stage, a man "...rejects long-term relationships but will still partake in short-term relationships and sexual encounters."
  • Level 2 – Rejection of short-term relationships: In level 2, a man does not meet women for "...hook-ups or any form of short-term or sexual relationships."
  • Level 3 – Economic disengagement: a member at this stage "...refuses to earn more money than is necessary for sustaining life. He views the government as tyrannical and is trying to actively drain money from the bureaucrats."
  • Level 4 – Societal disengagement: "Here the man refuses to interact with society any more than ever", such as by living "off the grid" (e.g. in a cabin)

Views on relations with women[edit]

According to the 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.[16] Jeremy Nicholson, writing for Psychology Today, similarly described MGTOW as "guys who have been frustrated and punished to the point that they see no further incentive to relate [to dating] [...], they focus on making themselves happy".[17]

Kay Hymowitz has stated that some self-identified MGTOW express discontent because they see women as hypergamous and manipulative.[18] The 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."[19] Some MGTOW have many short-term casual relationships or engage in sex with prostitutes.[9] Celibacy, however, is also an option. A MGTOW that chooses celibacy over sex and relationships is said to be "going monk"[20] and some embrace maintaining their virginity.[13][21] Some MGTOW members advocate having sex with prostitutes or using sex dolls. While the movement is against relationships with women, The Sun notes that "For men who claim to be removing women from their lives, they sure love talking about them" on MGTOW online forums.[22]

It has been called an "...offshoot of the men’s rights movement but rather than getting stuck in and tackling issues, these guys have vowed to stay away from women, stop dating and not have children". One MGTOW supporter states that the movement is about " life your way rather than trying to make a woman happy or being a slave to cultural expectations”. Some "purists in the movement who are the most extreme" have decided to "avoid women entirely". [23]

Red pill[edit]

MGTOW use slang such as "red pilled" to describe members of their movement and "blue pilled" to describe men outside, or opposed to their movement.[24][25]

Relationship to other groups[edit]

Men's rights movement[edit]

MGTOW differs from the men's rights movement, in that while the men's rights movement aims at changing the status quo, such as by changing the laws, MGTOW call for focus on self-ownership[9] and withdrawing from interactions with women.

Mack Lamoureux states that while "[a]t first glance, it's easy to lump MGTOW in with typical Men's Rights Activists (MRAs) who also believe that female oppression is a myth and that it's actually males who are oppressed—but that's not the case. The two groups differ significantly ... While MRAs are out to fix the problem through action and activism, members of MGTOW hold self-preservation above all else, and because of this the majority of the community seems to have decided to bow out."[11]

Teens Going Their Own Way[edit]

An Australian newspaper described the growing number of teen males who have decided to adopt MGTOW, which it called TGTOW (Teens Going Their Own Way).[26]

Herbivore men[edit]

According to Roselina Salemi, writing for La Repubblica, the Japanese concept of herbivore men is a subset of MGTOW.[27] Mack Lamoureux, writing in Vice, sees herbivore men as a consequence of Japanese socioeconomic conditions and MGTOW as an ideological choice.[4] In a DELFI article MGTOW are described as a protest against feminist laws in the West whereas herbivore men are a response to traditional gender roles in Japan, such as those of salarymen.[28] Kashmira Gander writing for The Independent, sees herbivore men serving as role models for MGTOW.[13]

Disagreements with other groups[edit]

MGTOW see feminists; "white knights", defined as "men who unquestioningly jump to women's defence in hope of hooking up with them";[29] "manginas", a derogatory manosphere slang term for male feminists;[30] "social justice warriors"; the LGBT rights movement; and support for safe spaces as obstacles to male self-ownership.[13] MGTOW have been described as having a "serious problem with feminism."[11]

MGTOW have a reciprocal disdain for the seduction community ("pick-up artists").[9] The MGTOW movement has been criticized by the pick-up artists (PUA) for being cult-like, antithetical to human nature, and likened to separatist feminism.[9] Matt Forney from Return of Kings, a pick-up artist website, calls MGTOW a "creeping cult of male loserdom" and says it is a "lonely hearts' club for the refuse of the male species". Forney mocks MGTOW as "Virgins Going Their Own Way" and says they are "personally repellent losers".[11]


Some writers have generally held a critical perspective of the MGTOW community. An article in The Economist about MGTOW states that the "rebalancing of the sexes has spawned 21st-century misogyny", with slogans like "Save a male and stop a wedding™" being an unregistered trademark of[31] Leah Morrigan states that the MGTOW founder Sandman's videos "proclai[m] his bitter, indiscriminate hate towards women", who he claims are all "manipulative whores and liars" who Sandman "slut-shames, fat-shames, and age-shames".[32] When women are discussed on MGTOW forums, it is often "angrily";[33] the Southern Poverty Law Center places it "on the borders of the hateful incel community".[10]

Pick-up artists "disparage the community", calling their "'philosophy'...completely wrongheaded."[11] W. Bradford Wilcox, a conservative and visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, was criticized by the MGTOW activist who goes by the pseudonym "Turd Flinging Monkey", who was against Wilcox's video about the "benefits of marriage for men", which notes that "married men work harder (about 400 more hours), smarter (they’re less likely to quit without having found another job), and more successfully (they make about $16,000 more per year) than their single peers".[34]

Researcher Barb MacQuarrie, who described the community as "misinformed", said, "They have no real ability to identify the global forces that are at work in their life, so they hang the blame on feminists", and interact with other "disillusioned, disenfranchised men" using "deplorable" rhetoric. She says that MGTOW advocates show "a complete lack of self-reflection", and their decision to live "separatist lifestyles" away from women is "pathetic". MacQuarrie summed up her views with the comment, "They're only reinforcing each other's really distorted perceptions of what's happening in the world. They are confining themselves knowingly to a life of isolation and a lot of limitations. It's sad."[33]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Men at War". Reggie Yates' Extreme UK. Season 1. Episode 2. January 12, 2016. 22 minutes in. BBC. BBC Three. 
  2. ^ McCarthy, James (November 22, 2015). "David Sherratt, 18, is a men's rights activist who won't have casual sex in case he is falsely accused of rape". Wales Online. Retrieved December 31, 2015. 
  3. ^ Doyle, Paulie (January 5, 2017). "How 'Fight Club' Became the Ultimate Handbook for Men's Rights Activists". Broadly. Vice Media. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved February 10, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Lamoureux, Mack (September 24, 2015). "This Group of Straight Men Is Swearing Off Women". Vice. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ Wilcox, Bradford (May 18, 2016). "Maxim Masculinity: One Legacy of the Divorce Revolution". Family Studies. Institute for Family Studies. Retrieved October 25, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Perrins, Laura (May 24, 2016). "Feminists and male supremacists have much in common – both are wrong". The Conservative Woman. Archived from the original on May 26, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2017. 
  7. ^ Goldwag, Arthur (Spring 2012). "Leader's Suicide Brings Attention to Men's Rights Movement". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center (145). Retrieved April 6, 2015. 
  8. ^ Barraclough, Corrine (3 April 2017). "First men, now boys are 'Going Their Own Way'". Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g C. Brian Smith (September 28, 2016). "The Straight Men Who Want Nothing to Do With Women". MEL Magazine. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Male Supremacy". Retrieved September 20, 2018. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f Lamoureux, Mack (24 September 2015). "Inside the Group of Straight Men Who Are Swearing Off Women: They call themselves Men Going Their Own Way and they dislike feminism so much they are grabbing their balls and going home". Vice. Retrieved 20 April 2018. 
  12. ^ Hodgkin, Emily (5 July 2017). "Are modern men becoming CELIBATE? Online movement is encouraging men to ignore women". Express. Retrieved 21 July 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Gander, Kashmira (September 27, 2016). "Inside the world of men who've sworn never to sleep with women again". The Independent. 
  14. ^ Wilkinson, Abi (November 15, 2016). "We need to talk about the online radicalisation of young, white men". The Guardian. Retrieved February 13, 2017. 
  15. ^ Daubney, Martin (November 24, 2015). "George Lawlor's story shows how universities have become hostile towards men". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  16. ^ Daubney, Martin (November 15, 2015). "Meet the men giving up on women". The Sunday Times. Retrieved December 30, 2015. As a result of these views, such men are making logical, factual and cost-benefit-based decisions about women, dating and sex—and their brutally stark conclusion is that it's simply not worth the risk, expense or effort. 
  17. ^ Nicholson, Jeremy (April 3, 2012). "Why Are Men Frustrated With Dating?". Psychology Today. Retrieved January 8, 2016. 
  18. ^ Hymowitz, Kay (February 27, 2011). "Why Are Men So Angry?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 30, 2015. 
  19. ^ Love, Dylan (September 15, 2013). "Inside Red Pill, The Weird New Cult For Men Who Don't Understand Women". Business Insider. Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  20. ^ (October 9, 2016). "The MGTOW group really, really don't like women". Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017. 
  21. ^ Palash Krishna Mehrotra (September 10, 2016). "Why people don't want to make babies anymore (except Indians)". DailyO. Retrieved February 9, 2017. 
  22. ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  23. ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  24. ^ "Balls to all that". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  25. ^ "'Por que confraternizar com o inimigo?' Os homens que evitam se relacionar com mulheres". BBC (in Portuguese). G1. 29 November 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2018. 
  26. ^ Barraclough, Corrine (3 April 2017). "First men, now boys are 'Going Their Own Way'". Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  27. ^ Salemi, Roselina (January 12, 2016). "Finalmente soli". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved February 8, 2016. Dentro c'è di tutto: 'erbivori' (nel senso di per nulla carnali) stile giapponese, ..." (Translated: "Among [the MGTOW] there are all sorts of things: 'herbivores' (meaning: no carnal relations) of the Japanese type, ... 
  28. ^ "Moterų minčių apie "tikrus vyrus" forumuose prisiskaitęs vaikinas: vyrai, susimąstykite". DELFI (in Lithuanian). October 12, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  29. ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  30. ^ Harrison, George (7 June 2018). "MEN GOING 'MONK' These men hate women so much they've sworn off sex and refuse to speak to them: Meet the 'Men Going Their Own Way'". The Sun. Retrieved 23 June 2018. 
  31. ^ "Balls to all that". The Economist. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  32. ^ Morrigan, Leah (6 September 2015). "The Fear of Being Alone Has Ruined Modern Dating". Huffington Post. Retrieved 21 July 2018. Then there is Men Going Their Own Way, or MGTOW, an online men's community that supports "a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else". I was delighted to find this site until I read further and found that what began as masculine empowerment quickly turned vile. 
  33. ^ a b Forani, Jonathan. "'A way for men to come together': Men Going Their Own Way just want to be left alone". Metro. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2018. 
  34. ^ Wilcox, W. Bradford (19 May 2016). "The Divorce Revolution Has Bred An Army Of Woman Haters – The divorce revolution has created a large minority of men who are ambivalent or hostile towards sacrifice, commitment, women, and marriage". The Federalist. Retrieved 21 April 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Helen (2013). Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters. New York: Encounter Books. ISBN 978-1-59403-675-0.