The internet is swamped with misogynistic clubs, cults and lifestyles collectively known as the ‘manosphere’. Mobilising against a supposed gynocratic conspiracy, this dark corner is dominated by incels, pick-up artists and “the Taliban of the manosphere”: Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW).
MGTOW (pronounced “mig-tau” by adherents) is an online community of male separatists “living according to their best interests in a world which would rather they didn’t.” Also defined as “common sense for men” by its own website, the members of the community believe that the society is gynocentric than patriarchal to begin with.
The community is populated by heterosexual males who abstain from romantic relationships with women due to an awareness of the “underlying legal structure which treats men unjustly.” The rationale stated behind MGTOW men’s abstinence from marriage, cohabitation, long-term and short-term relationships are the perceived dangers and false accusations of sexual impropriety.
Cancel culture, the #MeToo movement, prevalent divorce rates (72 per cent of those which are initiated by women) and the risk of losing a substantial amount of assets with future income in settlements are major factors backing MGTOW’s philosophies. A firm belief in these philosophies has also led to the creation of ‘MGTOW monks’ who have decided to minimise interactions with women altogether, instead focusing on their “own health, success and happiness.”
Once potential members have embraced the MGTOW ideologies or “taken the red-pill” (a reference to the 1999 film The Matrix symbolising a preference for truth no matter how painful it may be), the MGTOW manifesto includes four stages by which the members of the community can track their growth with.
Level 1 involves the rejection of long-term relationships, later moving onto Level 2 where the members extend this abstinence to short-term relationships. Level 3 is labelled “economic disengagement;” members at this stage refuse to earn more money than necessary to reduce taxation as far as possible. This is done in order to avoid payment towards other support groups like the “elite alphas” or “single mothers.”
The final level, termed “societal disengagement,” is as far as a mainstream MGTOW can go. Here, the MGTOW man drops out of society altogether. While some members chose to keep living in their apartments, others head to the wilderness and drop off-grid—thereby alienating themselves from their friends and family. Those who achieve this level of “ultimate isolation” are considered legends within the community. However, very few members reach this level with the majority floating somewhere between the second and third level.
With columns like ‘MGTOW of the day/week’ dedicated to acknowledging contributions and ‘mantastic’ commitments made by members, the MGTOW website and online community was supposedly launched in the mid-00s by two men under the pseudonyms ‘Solaris’ and ‘Ragnar’. According to its website, the phrase “Men Going Their Own Way” can be found in print and newspaper clippings dating back to 1853 and spanning the 20th century.
“If MGTOW is fire, then perhaps feminism is gasoline” is what greets you if you choose to visit the website despite all of the warning bells tolled by your antivirus software. The platform has a dedicated section labelled ‘Red Pills’ that includes videos, books, posters, testimonials and screensavers. This section is deemed to be “a constant reminder to stay focused in going our own way.” A testimonial featured here equates its purpose to the likes of “telling someone with diabetes that chocolate is disgusting so that he doesn’t eat it.”
With 32,737 members, MGTOW clearly distinguishes its status as a ‘lifestyle choice’ rather than a ‘movement’. “Feminism is a ‘movement’. Gay pride is a ‘movement’. They rely heavily on arranged conferences, loud, organized parades shutting down traffic and gobs of wasteful state funding,” states the website. “MGTOW thrives without any of that.”
MGTOW considers itself a “population of individuals” who are “more than just an email address” on the website. Signing up to the online community is “not a requirement,” but brings you a step closer to “other like-minded men whom you may not otherwise connect within your everyday life.” According to the website’s FAQ section, the highest concentration of MGTOW men is mostly located in (but not limited to) Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. Toronto and its surrounding area is considered to be the epicenter and is termed the “worst city in the world if you are a man” after Sweden by the platform.
MGTOW is “intended for men” and does not permit women to join or engage in forum discussions. The lifestyle is also said to be the polar opposite of a ‘soyboy’: a slang used to describe males who are “feminists, non-athletic, has never been in a fight and will marry the first girl he meets.”
Since 2015, the community has declared Valentine’s Day “the biggest waste in history,” instead considering 14 February as the “International MGTOW Day.” “$14 billion was wasted on women last year—in just one day,” states the website. “Women are so selfish, they would rather allow a child slave to die in Africa (where diamonds come from) than give up just one of their precious Valentine’s Day gifts and extravagant meals.”
The community further stops weddings via its unregistered trademark “Save a Male and Stop a Wedding.” “We have prevented 7 weddings in 4 years. Two of them right in the middle of the ceremony,” boasts the platform’s FAQ’s. “We charge a very small per cent of what the groom would lose in a divorce, which saves him a fortune.”
“Why have a wife when I can have a life?” are common ‘manswers’ to the community’s forum discussions where MGTOW men often seek advice from other members. Such advice is often backed with facts like how 60 per cent of UK brides use dirty tricks to get engaged or how nearly half of all paternity tests prove the male in question is not the father. Many MGTOW men can also be seen pitying themselves for “not reaching Kanye West soon enough.”
MGTOW is said to be a lifestyle that sets back both men’s and women’s liberation movements by 60 per cent. Even with a suspended Twitter account, the community continues to foster a rabbit hole that one can easily trip headfirst into. In her latest book Men Who Hate Women, Laura Bates outlines the insights from her journey into the manosphere posing as ‘Alex’, a confused young man looking for answers on Reddit and other platforms. She vividly describes how body-building networks, online gaming chats, Instagram and YouTube are being used by misogynists and anti-feminists to initiate middle and high school students into such communities.
From declaring feminism as the “biggest cultural failure of the last century” to impacting its own members and the others around them, such hate groups are undoubtedly making waves by red-pilling those who stumble across them. While Men Who Hate Women makes a chilling read, it makes one reconsider the status of these toxic networks as more than just an internet fringe.
The ‘involuntary celibate’ community has been typically viewed as male dominant. Known as incels, they have been around for a couple of years now, meaning that most of us already know what they are. But if you don’t, incelism is an online community of men (called incels) who believe they are inherently unable to engage in sexual relationships, despite wanting to do so. Until fairly recently, women who felt they were going through the same unfair rejections as incels had stayed silent. Only recently, they started creating their own community and qualified themselves of female incels; femcels. So what are femcels exactly, and how do they relate to incels?
The term ‘incel’ was coined in the 1990s by a woman who goes by the name of Alana. She created a website to discuss her sexual inactivity and hoped that Alana’s Involuntary Celibate Project would become a common ground serving guidance and support for others like her, who couldn’t find a relationship but wanted one. Unsurprisingly, the term was, not so long after, overpowered by men. To be an incel now is to be a man who feels entitled to sex (rather than a relationship), and who resents women for not giving it to him.
Femcelism has attracted a lot of angry attention from incels (mostly miserable white men), who claim that in turn a woman can’t be involuntarily celibate because apparently ‘things are so much easier for women’. Femcels theorise that men ignore these women because of their looks, which is a topic of its own.
The men who identify themselves as incels complain about their inability to find sexual relationships with women, and blame feminism for their predicament. They believe that feminists actually destroyed chances of ‘ordinary’ men having sex.
This shared view has actually sparked a hatred between the two beliefs and made it a space where men refuse to acknowledge that incel women, or femcels, even exist, as this goes against what they themselves believe in. The theory that incels rely on is that even supposedly ‘unattractive’ women can find sexual partners, if they make themselves available that is. This is a particularly toxic male view of the dynamics of heterosexual interaction.
Femcels believe that they encounter a constant romantic rejection, and constantly compare themselves to, in their eyes, ‘better-looking people’ who supposedly always ‘get what they want’. Mostly though, femcels share a sense of exclusion from the sexual market, per se. Because of this rejection, they believe that they are ineligible to date, that their physical, mental and cognitive inadequacies are unique and extreme from the rest of the world.
The ‘defects’ that both incels and femcels feel, are entirely self-defined, but they both believe that the situation they find themselves in are completely out of their control. The only thing that these two groups can agree on it seems, is that ‘good looks’ are everything. It’s what finds you partners, marriage or sex, helps you make friends, lands you a job and allows easy functioning within society.
Have you ever called someone a ‘solid ten’? Well, unfortunately I must admit that I have, and I will never do it again after diving into the worlds of incelism and femcelism.
Both femcels and incels believe that everyone exists on a one to ten scale, one being the lowest and most unattractive. By their own definition, these involuntary celibate people occupy the lowest rungs, from four to a lower rank. Then, using their own code names, a ‘normie’ comes next. Normies clock at around a five or six. ‘Beckys’ are standard lookers, not unattractive sixes or sevens, but then ‘Stacys’ are part of the elite—quite untouchable, they rank at eight or above. A ‘Chad’ is a ‘Stacy’ counterpart, or ‘match’. A totem of power and privilege.
The dark side, if there is one seeing as it’s all pretty damn dark, is the fact that these groups, particularly incels, are very angry due to their insecurities. In fact, incels have even killed people over their celibacy.
This is an incredibly complicated and hard to process situation. As the user APieceofFemShit writes in a Reddit post explaining what femcels are, “The complexity of the femcel condition or the personal inability to understand does not disprove or nullify it.” She states that “The term Femcel is not related to Incel. It is not a combination of Incel. It is female and ‘celibacy’ put together, not a knock-off of Incels, and in that Femcel has nothing to do with Incels. The Femcel condition is a bit more complex than the Incel condition which is solely dealing with malecentric struggles.”
‘Femceldom’ is determined by the stages in which a femcel exists. The first being the ascended stage, who are former femcels that are no longer considered as femcels but return to vent or still struggle with the past of being one. Then the first stage of femceldom or a transitional femcel, is in the process of ‘assension’, when they are starting to get attention from the opposite sex. Second stage femcel, or non-transitional femcels, are femcels that still feel that they are unable to ‘ascend’, and remain undatable in their opinion.
This is most definitely a terrible outcome from the birth of the internet, and in truth, nearly all of us have some sort of insecurity—however, the extent of self comparison that the internet has brought must not go unnoticed, as it can only be a dangerous road forward.