This article presents the challenge of attempting to cover two related but topically different subjects. Being either lazy or pressed for time (take your pick), I am going to give it a shot.
To begin with I want to review some recent events in what is loosely defined as the “man-o-sphere,” most notably the realm of Men Going Their Own Way. Trust me, I can imagine the number of groans and eye-rolling going on out there in the conflict weary. The only thing I can say is that I sympathize enough that I have procrastinated this writing for days. I’m pretty sick of it, too.
Then again, there is a problem. AVFM, according to our mission statement, has some inflexible guidelines which we serve without apology or hesitation. To wit, the following:
AVfM regards gender ideologues and all other agents of misandry as a social malignancy. We do not consider them well-intentioned or honest agents for their purported goals and extend to them no more courtesy or consideration than we would Klansmen, skinheads, neo Nazis, or other purveyors of hate. We will educate them where they are willing to learn, but hold them accountable for their ignorance as much as their actions;
Keeping in mind that the promulgation of misogyny is ultimately misandric, in that it is a catalyst for moral and intellectual atrophy in men, it presents us with the current state of affairs between AVFM and some in the “MGTOW community” who lately have more resembled Social Justice Warriors than what I have always imagined Men Going Their Own Way to be.
The first important distinction here is to point out clearly that there is no rift between AVFM and the MGTOW philosophy. AVFM supports MGTOW, the marriage strike, ghosting and permanent bachelorhood, along with every other phenomenon now visible in a culture of men who have seen through the façade of the Matrix and opted for the road less traveled.
What we (and by we I mean all those who subscribe to the AVFM mission) do not support is class hatred, gender supremacy and gender ideology. Those would be the very things that have come to characterize a strident minority of men who have taken up the MGTOW banner as a flag of war against women and all men who disagree with them. It is ultimately, like all forms of “justified” hate, a war on themselves and a war on young men sucked into the pit of their perpetual acrimony.
For those who may read this and feel concern that it fosters too much division, I argue that there is no division. AVFM was never aligned with the agents of hate. AVFM was never aligned with the victim mandate of identity politics.
I would also argue that this is a needed culling of the intellectual and emotional gene pool, the likes of which is no stranger in our history. I remember the Chicken Little woe-saying of a number of “men’s advocates” when we invited women to stand beside us and speak up for the rights of men and boys. I remember much of the same “sky is falling in” chants when we welcomed gay men to join our ranks, not as gay men, but as men who happened to be gay. The same reaction happened, even more hostilely, when we pushed hard to demonstrate that when we said apolitical that we meant it.
We were attacked as left wing feminist plants, as right wing nut cases, as Libertarian fascists. And many people up and quit associating with us, or better yet, dedicated much of their work to attacking us instead of attacking those who were actually causing the problems we are all trying to address.
I am not complaining. In fact, it is something I celebrate. With each “division” that AVFM fomented in its own ranks, there emerged a more cohesive and effective team of activists, cognizant of our mission, able to grasp the intellectual subtleties it contains, and willing to weather the backlash from the divisive, ideological and sometimes bigoted individuals that we sent packing from our ranks.
That philosophy; that adherence to our principles, has made AVFM better and stronger. It is not going to change just because this particular culling was comprised of humans with penises who also happen to loathe feminists.
As I said before, this does not come to us unexpected. In fact, potential problems with what some men might do with the MGTOW philosophy was something I pointed to five years ago in my first article on Zeta masculinity. And mind you, the term Zeta male was getting traction on the internet before the term MGTOW was. Allow me to share some segments from what I wrote in 2010 about what I saw happening with young men, including what could happen to men who treated the MGTOW exit as though it was a destination rather than just a turn:
In that light, the path they are on is not really the road to manhood, but simply a retreat from the effacing malice woven into the very fabric of their developmental lives. And it takes them not to safe ground, but directly into a dismal culture of shallowness and self-indulgence; a realm of options without obligations; of self-gratification without self-awareness or self-discipline. It is the death march of the western male, destined for a withering end ensured by intellectual, psychological and moral atrophy.
Also, as I proposed, an alternative for Zeta Males:
He doesn’t seek power, but justice. And he has one overarching feature largely absent in the world around him.
He cares about those lost young men who were ambushed coming out of the womb. And he will strive to make himself an example, living proof that there are other roads to take than the ones that lead to self-hatred and self-destruction.
It is, of course, any man’s choice, including those who tie their masculine identity to YouTube channels, to simply not give a fuck about whether they are an example to young men of a functional life. Just as they are free to convince themselves that functionality can be achieved by avoiding women alone.
Simply put, there is no moral mandate that I know of which insists that men give a shit at all about anyone but themselves; an idea which some who identify as MGTOW validate with every waking breath.
And it should be acknowledged that my position on this has the danger of moving toward coercion, or even worse, coerced masculinity. There is no denying that the danger is there and the only way I know to prevent that danger from being realized is to constantly remind people that this writing reflects the philosophy embodied in a website. It is not a prescription for manhood or a mandate for compliance.
It is, however, a guiding principle in the content we will publish. We are an advocacy group for men and boys. We can’t claim being that kind of thing without giving a damn about what options we are presenting to them.
As I said in the Plague of Modern Masculinity:
Our most functional response thus far is to check out and go our own way, but I contend that an exit is not a destination, just a needed removal from the line of fire; a chance to collectively regroup and rethink. Remember that the young men festering at those crossroads have, in their own way, checked out, too. It isn’t looking too good on them.
I don’t think I have been proven wrong. We have a generation of men who are catching on to the idea of shunning marriage. Good on ‘em.
We also have a growing group of men who believe the only way to keep themselves safe is to don armor and swing a sword at anything that moves, mired in their own animus for the world, and for themselves.
I will occasionally speak to that around here because our young men deserve something better than slow strangulation and the gangrene of rotting resentment. Those who see that as an “unnecessary division” are welcome to that view, but I would urge them to consider what else they are willing to surrender in order to maintain unity with toxic allies.
I am not saying that MGTOW has been made a lost cause by those in its own ranks. However, I am saying it is possible. One look at feminism will tell you that.
Right now, though, the spirit of the MGTOW philosophy appears as though it is being reduced to a huge, lumbering ship, taking on water and more passengers at the same time.
The passengers on that ship do not need enabling. They need life lifeboats, and few among their ranks have them to give. Even fewer would share space in them if they did.
AVFM has always been a lifeboat. We always will. If that is causing divisions, then I say let it be.