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The Meaning of MGTOW

Updated on May 31, 2018
Ken Burgess profile image

Grew up on Cape Cod, Mass. Army Vet., Fmr. Director of Energy Conservation programs, RE Agent. Current residence: the Space Coast, FL.

If you are like me, one day you were reading an article, or post, or blog, and saw the acronym MGTOW thrown in. And due to its nature, even when you found out what MGTOW meant ‘Men Going Their Own Way’, you at best felt a general idea of what was meant, but had some lingering doubts.

As I often do, I decided to do some research. What I learned is that MGTOW isn’t a movement like feminism or other politically organized causes. Rather, MGTOW appears to be the consensus of a growing percentage of men that participating in traditional relationships with women isn’t worth the hassle, or in other words ‘the juice isn’t worth the squeeze’ and hence they have chosen to 'go their own way'.

In the ‘accepted’ or ‘progressive’ current social environment we find ourselves in today, there is not merely the lack of identifying that there is a difference between the sexes, there is an open and sometimes hostile campaign being waged in schools and campuses, in the media and in politics to stamp out any reference to sex differentiation and those who would mention it.

We can see differences between men and women, they are physical, emotional, undeniable, yet contemporary discourse in our society frowns upon these differences being discussed in what they mean for roles in our society, political choices, moral reasoning, etc.

What we see in the face of this social and media driven barrage is men choosing to check out rather than confront it or incorporate their beliefs into the discussion… and hence we have MGTOW.

J.D. Unwin dedicated several pages in his introduction to Sex & Culture lamenting the reluctance that people feel when discussing sex differences and their consequences.

"The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs"

What lead Unwin to his conclusion was the systematic retracing of 80 primitive tribes and 6 known civilizations through 5,000 years of history. And according to his findings the disenfranchisement of the patriarchal system has always heralded the downfall of that culture/civilization, throughout history.

In an excerpt from the Fate of Empires, by John Glubb (1977) he describes the manifestations of such a dynamic in the case of the Arab decline:

“In the first half of the ninth century, Baghdad enjoyed its High Noon as the greatest and the richest city in the world. [Soon after it declined, and according to] the works of the contemporary historians of Baghdad in the early tenth century [the empire fell apart, provinces declared independence and ignored central authority] the degeneracy of the times in which they lived, the increasing materialism and the laxity of sexual morals. They lamented also the corruption of the officials of the government and the fact that politicians always seemed to amass large fortunes while they were in office.

As women's rights and sexual identity rights have gained prominence and public support, it has come at the expense of men's rights, roles, and societal norms. Laws and social norms that were recognizably biased towards men in the 40s have become decidedly biased against men less than one hundred years later.

Another more extreme meaning of MGTOW is in reference to those men who have chosen to disengage from society, or in other words ‘unplug’ or ‘get back to basics’. They go the way of the hermit, the recluse, the survivalist, they take to nature, or they seclude themselves in their apartment and detach from the ‘civilized’ world where and when they can.

As growing economic crisis, terror attacks, and civil unrest become more and more pronounced and our society seems to be unraveling under the weight of our decadence, pathological altruism, and from what in any other era would have been called an invasion (today known as ‘illegal immigration’ or ‘refugee crisis’). These MGTOW choose to ignore the matters rather that address them.

But this has all happened before. Nothing that is occurring in our culture today is new. Waves of immigration have occurred in the past, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of years ago, for as long as we can go back in history. The Romans, the Greeks, the Chinese, lifted humanity to heights not seen before, only to collapse back into ‘dark ages’. The cycles are all similar, there is no mystery.

Throughout history men suffer and work hard within very patriarchal societies, but they are rewarded for that hard work with authority and pair bonding (women are given few choices). But once enough resources, stability and security are available in society that authority is removed, presenting men with no incentive that justifies their suffering. Along, with this removal of male authority comes the collapse of society, as men are the work horses that keep the show of civilization going.

I know, such concepts are not tolerated within the mainstream discourse, but a few thousand years of history lends support to this conclusion.

Men Going Their Own Way is a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else. It is the manifestation of one word: “No”. - urbandictionary

Perhaps this would have been different, perhaps we would have discovered a utopian ideal of human state, a balanced existence between man and woman, nature and civilization… if not for the waves of ‘migrants’, ‘refugees’, ‘barbarians’ or whatever label put on those outside the civilization in question that overwhelm or conquer the civilization once it has moved past the militant/patriarchal prime.

Unfortunately this was never the case in the past, and certainly is not the case now, so we will never know. It seems self defeating towards that goal however, when a quarter century ago we as a society/civilization agonized over a over-populated world and so from Europe to China it was highly encouraged that families should minimize the amount of children they had. Only to state today there are not enough native children being born, so we must accept tens of millions of immigrants to replace a declining birth rate that had been encouraged for decades.

Still, these are different times, technology is having an impact on our lives and culture in ways that have never been seen throughout all of known history. So indeed, so long as technology moves forward at its current rate, the collapse of civilization as we know it may be averted, or converted into something else altogether new.

Either way, it appears that MGTOW’s do not care about the sensibilities of a gynocentric societal organization or protecting societal norms. Ultimately their point of view is that the blood of men should not grease the wheels of ‘progressive’ civilization (male disposability), as such they are ‘checking out' and going their own way.


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    • Claudine Fleury profile image

      Claudine Chaboyer 

      9 months ago from Alberta, Canada

      I appreciate the information. Feel free to read some of my articles, as a Veteran, and I am acquainted with a few vets in Canada like PPCLI, you may appreciate especially the articles on the suffering of men and the prevalence of global female genocide. Thanks!!

    • Deniz Tekiner profile image

      Deniz Tekiner 

      12 months ago

      In Japan, MGTOW is in the more extreme hikikomori -- men who spend years only in their apartments or bedrooms. They've gotten the nickname herbivore men because they're often vegetarian. Here in the US we hear of ever more men staying in their family homes well into their adult years, some confining themselves there and spending time on video games etc. They are similar to hikikomori. Many such men who do withdraw from society that way may not identify as MGTOW but are withdrawing nevertheless. This has happened ever more as labor participation rates have been declining for several decades. Our overall society has become ever less supportive of marriage as church institutions have declined and as divorce has become normal rather than exceptional. All adds up to no surprise that ever more men are withdrawing, and also that all these are symptoms of civilization in decline.

    • savvydating profile image


      20 months ago

      I see. There is a reason why China hopes Trump does not have a 2nd term. But one thing I do know is that the president is currently shooting for a win-win situation with China. So far, China is not paying heavy tariffs (just more tariffs than before). Also, Trump uses somewhat friendly rhetoric toward China in order to create a balancing act---one that is currently working, I believe. But once Trump leaves office, then your scenario may very well play out, in one way or another. A liberal president will not have the savvy needed to handle China.On another note, I believe we need to support the growth of industry, and particularly technology (which is a little different) in America. I'm not getting where that is a negative.

      Looks like we got way off subject from MGTOW, but it's all good.

    • Ken Burgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken Burgess 

      20 months ago from Florida

      China taking over the U.S. no... China supplanting the U.S. as the global economic and industrial leader, seems highly probable in the not to distant future.

      We can avoid such an outcome, one of two ways, one would be a World War like scenario, which is totally insane to contemplate in the Nuclear Age, but I suspect there are people in the highest levels of the Halls of D.C. that plan for and are trying to guide the nation to just that.

      The second would be a continued and increased National 'protectionism' where we force China to pay hefty tariffs here in America, where we support the growth of industry here in America and punish corporations that move outside the U.S. ... in other words we work to reverse the spread of globalism where our industrial and technological production is concerned.

      Consider this, 30 years ago, Hong Kong was wealthier and more productive than all of China, the entire nation had less GDP than one city on its shores that it had no control over.

      Today they have more industrial and technological capability than any nation in the world, and their GDP is greater than the U.S. (depending on your sources).

      On top of that, they have positive relations with nearly every country, making friends with our friends, as well as the enemies we create (IE - Russia, Venezuela).

      The Industrial corporations and bankers I believe miscalculated, their greed enticed them to manufacture the downfall of the very society and system that made them incomprehensibly wealthy, while at the same time being overconfident/arrogant enough to believe they could coerce and manipulate the rest of the world into joining their global agenda for one world, one government.

      Countries like China and Russia do not want to play along with that long term, they do so now because its in their best interests. China and Russia combined are just too powerful, with too many resources, too much geography under their control, and borders in common.

      Its not a matter of IF Trump is successful in his efforts to 'Make America Great Again'... its a matter of WHEN he is replaced by someone willing to sell this country out and sets it back on course for economic decline and globalist agendas.

    • savvydating profile image


      20 months ago

      I hope you are wrong. I still believe that MGTOW are a minority. As for China taking over the US, I'm not convinced, at least, not at this juncture. We are still a super-power and China still needs us. As for Venezuela, they are not in a position to advance anyone's cause.

      You had mentioned once that you have taught your sons how to protect their assets. I hope you also teach them that marriage, family and children are worthwhile. Sorry to sound so preachy.

    • Ken Burgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken Burgess 

      20 months ago from Florida


      I am sure a lot of men are angry, and that number will continue to swell, and they will join the ranks of MGTOW, or even more extreme options like radical Islam or Antifa.

      And unfortunately they will be hostile and vent against anyone willing to challenge their perspectives, much like you have dealt with in your threads... and that is a more telling sign of just how significant and severe a problem it is becoming, because if an article you write is somehow reaching them, here in HubPages, its means they are more than a small minority IMO, more likely they are becoming all too common.

      The effort to undue biology and nature will never meet with success, testosterone is a real and significant difference between one sex and the other, hundreds of thousands of years of hardwiring is very real... however the current efforts within 'the West' to undue the 'Patriarchy' and supplant it with something else comes at an extremely bad time.

      Attempting this when America was the overwhelming economic and military powerhouse of the world, might have met with some form of success... but today too large a portion of the rest of the world is ready to extricate itself from 'western' influence and leadership, in fact you could say much of Asia, South America, and Africa would like to 'Go Their Own Way' from America and the EU.

      They are quite ready to support one another (BRICS) China being the industrial powerhouse, and nations like Russia, Venezuela, Iran providing the resources to China in exchange. They would like nothing better to be free from 'the west'... much the way many men wish to be free from 'western women' ideals/society.

      I have a wife, family, and have known some success in most of my endeavors... and I still would prefer not to be part of today's "western civilization" or have my children be part of its likely future.

      I look to France, I see its people spending months rioting and revolting against its detached elitist leadership, and I wonder how long it will be before that becomes the norm here.

      The MGTOW is but one symptom of a much larger problem, a sign of terminal illness being present within our society. If our nation was moving in a healthy prosperous direction for all its citizens, they wouldn't be noticeable, and they wouldn't be so active on your pages.

    • savvydating profile image


      20 months ago

      It is interesting that you mention the cyclical phenomenon of (quasi) MGTOW throughout the ages. My understanding is that men had similar feelings of anger toward women during the suffragist movement when they began to feel that feminism might usurp their prominent role in society.

      Now, due to the power of the Internet, the current version of MGTOW may become stronger. Men who feel slighted by women now have a supportive group to join---furthermore, they can remain anonymous online.

      While I support women in their quest to "feel" equal to men, I do not identify with women who will not endeavor for fairness in relationships. And personally, I despise very Liberal women (and men) who joyfully extol the right to late term abortion, which, in my opinion, is an abomination. But that's another subject, I suppose.

      Anyway, I've had my run-in's with MGTOW, as you know. These men are really angry and (I'm sorry to say) rather pathetic.

      That being said, I do believe a small minority of them are just fed up with marriage and divorce. I even spoke with one who had a horrible mother. In some cases, I can understand why some men "go their own way," But for those who just decide to check out of dating because they are afraid, I can only feel sorry that their "other" options, such as escorts or porn, will only lead them into a life of loneliness and degradation.

      Interesting article, Ken.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      Fort Ord is way different than it is in S CA.

      But it even has acceptable weather.

      Located between Paso Robles and Salinas puts it between wine country and farm country. Ford Ord probably would look the same as when you were here.

      Many people that I knew in NY, including family moved to Florida. I am not a fan of humidity, bugs, and snakes, so if I didn't come out to CA, I would have stayed on Long Island.

      Most of my family is here in CA, so I guess I am stuck here.

      No income tax in Florida sounds really good.

      As for the X, I would do it just to be against it.

    • Ken Burgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken Burgess 

      2 years ago from Florida


      Never been to Texas and considered it cold. Flat yes, humid usually, cold... not compared to most places.

      Myself, I chose FL, the opposite of CA in many ways that mattered to me (low taxes, no income tax, rising employment opportunities).

      I was stationed at Ft. Ord, CA for a year or so many years ago, so I know its attractions, CA is a great state as far as weather, geography, etc. goes. But the Politics and Taxes make it untenable for my tastes.

      Will there be any tax breaks for those who claim to be X on their taxes in CA?

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      I was born in Manhattan, and grew up on Long Island. I got married an moved to S California.

      I won't go back to NY because the climate is better here in S Ca.

      Where would I move to? For politics, I would go to Texas. However, Texas is cold and flat and away from the Ocean.

      To be frank with you, I don't really understand the MGTOW.

      I have always gone my way as much as is possible. Just look at my writings. :)

    • Ken Burgess profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken Burgess 

      2 years ago from Florida


      When it comes to taxation and progressive politics CA leads the way. My way of handling NY taxation and progressive politics was to move my family out of that state as soon as it was possible.

      I always advocate to those who are interested in my opinion, that CA and NY (basically the North East in general) be abandoned by those Conservatives that have the means to leave, and that they take up residence in states where their voice and opinions can still make an impact and hopefully repel the forces which have brought NY and CA to the verge of economic ruin and taxation hell from taking hold in places like NC, FL, TX, etc.

      This article on MGTOW I will have to revise one day, I want it to be an explanation of the meaning, and have it give the perspective of those who would define themselves as MGTOW... I'm afraid my inclusion of quotes from books which I've referenced from my MGTOW research may lead one to believe they are my own.

    • bradmasterOCcal profile image


      2 years ago


      We have a new law in CA this year that allows driver licenses to have the gender field be M, F, or X. And the person filling out the form gets to choose. I am thinking of using the X when I renew my driver license.

      Will it only be a matter of time before it appears on our 1040?


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