File:MGTOW symbol.jpg

Men Going Their Own Way (abbreviated MGTOW, pronounced /ˈmɪg.taʊ/), sometimes also called the marriage strike, the marriage boycott, or the sexodus, is a worldwide social phenomenon and community of heterosexual men who uphold a personal philosophy which rejects gynocentrism in favor of a value system of male self-determination and self-preservation, and who consequently choose a lifestyle which avoids legal and romantic entanglements with women, including, at the very least, marriage, cohabitation, and procreation. A participant in MGTOW is called a Man Going His Own Way (abbreviated MGHOW, pronounced /ˈmɪg.haʊ/). In Japan, MGTOW monks are known as herbivore men or grass-eater men.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

As Sunday Times journalist Martin Daubney has pointed out[10][11], according to Google Trends, interest in "MGTOW" has grown exponentially since 2009; doubling approximately every 12 months[12], it has rapidly overtaken both "women's rights" and "men's rights", as well as "radical feminism" in search popularity. It has been estimated that the MGTOW arm of the so-called "manosphere" is not only its largest segment, but also its fastest growing.[13] Renowned family care activist Erin Pizzey has described MGTOW as "very powerful" and "almost epidemic".[14]


Because it is a decentralised phenomenon and a community, and not so much a movement (coordinated group action), MGTOW does not have any leaders, spokesmen, by-laws, official publications, official manifesto, or organizational structure, which can make the concept contentious, ambiguous, and difficult to define. The concept of MGTOW is thus primarily defined and refined by the MGTOW community itself, by means of articles, conversations, and debates in self-published books, websites, blogs, web forums, and online videos. Authors that have researched the phenomenon, such as Kay Hymowitz, have recommended examining MGTOW websites, including, NoMarriage (now defunct), and EternalBachelor, for readers interested in this matter.[15][16][17]


According to, MGTOW are men who share a specific view, philosophy, or school of thought with regard to modern society, romantic relationships, and women in general. According to this website, while the specific wording differs among individuals, generally accepted definitions within the MGTOW community include:[18]

  • A man who maintains and protects his self-ownership and personal sovereignty.
  • A man who avoids cultural definitions and preconceptions of what a "man" is.
  • A man who looks to no one for social approval.
  • A man who does not allow anyone to treat him as a disposable utility.
  • A man who lives according to his own best interests, rather than society's expectations.

Basic concepts Edit

One essential tenet of MGTOW is the avoidance of legal entanglements with women, including, at the very least, marriage, cohabitation, and procreation. The percentage of unmarried males in America (and many other countries worldwide) has steadily increased since the early 1970s, such that, as of 2015, 70% of American males between 20 and 34 years old are not married; according to Janice Shaw Crouse, author of the book "Marriage Matters", this may have ominous consequences for the future.[19]

In addition, many MGTOW to varying degrees choose to abandon romantic relationships, casual sexual relationships, female friendships, and/or social contact with women altogether.[20] These phenomena are known as going ghost[21][22] (or, less commonly, as going monk[23]). In Japan's herbivore men phenomenon, an extreme form of men going ghost is known as hikikomori.[24]

Being free from the necessity of supporting a wife and familiy, many MGTOW to varying degrees choose to reject the traditionally male gender role of breadwinner, refrain from dangerous or stressful careers, minimize the duration of their workweek, reduce their tax burden, lead a frugal and minimalistic lifestyle, opt for entrepreneurship or freelancing instead of permanent employment, while some even sever their dependence on the grid, expatriate to countries where the cost of living is lower, and/or drop out of education and the workforce altogether.[20][25] These phenomena are referred to as going Galt[26][27], after John Galt, the iconic protagonist of Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged[28]. In Japan's herbivore men phenomenon, men going Galt are called freeters or NEETs.[29] One study estimated that 37% of the decline in male employment in America since 1979 could be explained by men's retreat from marriage and fatherhood.[30]

The term MGTOW is often used interchangeably with the so-called marriage strike or marriage boycott, which are not entirely coterminous with MGTOW (which is a broader concept), although there is considerable overlap. The marriage strike is a form of protest against the allegedly unfair legal conditions of marriage. Some marriage strikers hope to return to marriage once these laws have been reformed, while many other MGTOW do not wish to return to marriage or women, or change society, but merely wish to be left alone. Such MGTOW have no demands to present, no terms to bargain about, and no compromise to reach, thus engaging in a marriage boycott.[31]

Journalist Milo Yiannopoulos has also coined and popularized the term sexodus (a portmanteau of sex and exodus) as a synonym for MGTOW.[32][33][34]

MGTOW can refer to both the social phenomenon, in which case a man can be a participant in MGTOW without even knowing about the term "MGTOW", and to the a community of men who discuss, advocate, and promote the MGTOW philosophy, and support each other in their MGTOW lifestyle.

What MGTOW are not Edit

The modern incarnation of MGTOW as a community originated in what is known as the "manosphere" (or "androsphere"), a loose and informal collection of weblogs, web forums, and websites, and online video channels, of men discussing men's issues, many of which are male-only spaces. Many MGTOW prefer to disassociate themselves from the "manosphere", as the latter term is sometimes used as an attempt to conflate several very different ideas:

  • MGTOW are separate and different from the men's rights movement (MRM). Men's rights activists (MRAs) seek to influence or reform society though protests, demonstrations, conferences, public speaking, publications, lobbying, picketing, petitions, and other organized political and legal activism, whereas MGTOW are not a political movement, and hence MGTOW as such are either unconcerned with influencing larger society, or engage in (private and personal) passive resistance and nonparticipation as a form of protest.
  • MGTOW also differ from "pick-up artists (PUAs)" and the "seduction community" which encourage men to dedicate time, money, and effort to pursuing sex and relationships, with an emphasis on increasing one's number of sexual partners, and garnering female approval. While many MGTOW still engage in sexual relationships with women, such MGTOW strive to minimize the time, money, effort, and risks involved in such activities, and exercise great selectivity in their choice of romantic partners.
  • MGTOW also should also not be confused with self-described "involuntary celibates" ("incels"). An "incel" is a man who considers himself too unattractive to attract a woman, and subsequently resents women for purportedly causing his sexual frustration.[35] MGTOW consider 'involuntary celibacy' to be an oxymoron: many MGTOW practice voluntary celibacy, other MGTOW have relationships or partake in casual or transactional sex. An "incel" defines his life by his difficulties in attracting women, essentially analogous to a PUA who defines his life by his abilities to attract women. A MGHOW considers both of these worldviews to be worthless, and by definition does not allow female validation to define him or his worth. Whether or not a MGHOW has sex or not is irrelevant; it is a matter of perspective and perspective alone.
  • Finally, the MGTOW concept is not simply identical with "bachelorhood" in general, one reason being that MGTOW are bachelors who uphold a personal philosophy based on male self-determination, self-preservation, and a opposition to gynocentrism, whereas a bachelor in general may be a bachelor for variety of other reasons (such as a lack of physical attraction to women, as in the case of asexuality or homosexuality).

History of MGTOW Edit

Monks, celibates, and ascetics, have been common throughout history—Siddhartha Gautama had a wife and a son that he abandoned at the age of 30 to investigate the world, and even Paul the Apostle recommended against wives and families because he considered them to be an encumbrance—however, MGTOW are not per se a part of any religious tradition, and do not necessarily abstain from sex. The phenomenon of male self-determination goes back centuries under names such as of free-man, celibate, bachelor, stag, freewheeler. In the Victorian era, the term eligible bachelor was used in the context of upper class matchmaking, denoting a young man who was not only unmarried and eligible for marriage, but also considered "eligible" in financial and social terms for the prospective bride under discussion. In the Victorian era, the term "confirmed bachelor" denoted a man who was resolute to remain unmarried. Sometimes these self-determined or ‘MGTOW’ men formed groups, the earliest known being that of the Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band of 1898[36]. The phrase “men going their own way,” or variants such as “going his own way,” or “to go his own sweet way,” in reference to men’s freedoms is hundreds of years old.[37][38] The "herbivore men" phenomenon was first observed by Maki Fukasawa in an article published on Oct. 13, 2006, and was subsequently discussed in a book by Masahiro Morioka[39].

The modern incarnation of MGTOW as a community has its origins in what is known as the "manosphere" (or "androsphere"), a loose and informal collection of weblogs, web forums, and websites of men discussing men's issues. The MGTOW phrase made its appearance in the early 2000s in several online men's rights groups. Three of those who conceived the MGTOW community went by the names Zed the Zenpriest, Ragnar Jensen, and Meikyo. Zed noted that many types of men's rights movements, to his dismay, would splinter and fracture, because the men in those movements displayed an incredible amount of stubbornness, in-fighting, and stifling political correctness. Zed coined the term "MGTOW", because he noticed one reason why the men's rights movement was not effective was because “men kept going their own way”[40].

Ragnar describes the historical establishment of "men going their own way" as taking place in Hickory, North Carolina, in October 2004, in a meeting between Ragnar and Meikyo; Zed was also invited, but was unable to attend due to illness.[41] They concluded that an individual, grassroots strategy, which Zed had previously dubbed "men going their own way", was superior to the men's rights movement and working for men's rights organisations. In an interview, Ragnar describes the moment as follows:

"You see, all the ideas were floating around on the internet. We were frustrated that we couldn't get men to build an organization, couldn't get men to come to this damned meeting—everybody was going their own damned way, and the fact that men went their own way, we started to use that phrase and we started to talk about what's important for men… who's going to define their masculinity? Well, they actually have to do that themselves, they have to find out what it is for themselves. So, as you have the responsibility for your own actions, well then it's also your responsibility to define who you are as a man.""

In a seminal announcement dated December 1, 2004[42], Ragnar declared that MGTOW was based on an essay titled Ignoring Women, written by Zed the Zenpriest, as its foundational document. As Zed stated in this document:

"Men now must completely destroy marriage. It is too corrupt and too fouled to fix. It is a derelict building which MUST be torn down so that something useful can be built in its place.

We cannot stop the marriage strike. The real "[[men's movement]]" is millions of [[wildcat strike|wildcat strikes]] of one man who has woken up to what bullshit "marriage" as it exists today really is.

No matter how big a dam one builds, a river will always overcome it. We cannot either push, or hold back, the river. It will proceed at its own pace.

We can, however, clear out the [[snag (ecology)|snags]] which naturally hold it back and let natural forces speed up the current.

Women have turned their backs on us when we needed them, now we must turn our backs on them when they need us.[43][44]"

As Ragnar elaborated in his announcement:

"Today I believe we need even more activism and together with a few other guys it has resulted in an idea about "MEN GOING THEIR OWN WAY" based on Zenpriest's essay "Ignoring Women". Those other guys will speak for themselves in due time.

The idea is to instill masculinity in men. To make men understand that they don't have to cater to women unless there is a "quid pro quo" situation. Men don't need someone to compete with. They need someone to help them. Men naturally enjoy being with other men in bands or brotherhoods, so they should go ahead and start some men's clubs and enjoy that. Men should also understand that you don't have to live with women, that they can live a fullfilling life without living with women. This doesn't mean without sex, not at all—it might, on the contrary, be with too much sex—depending on your personal preferences.[42]"

Ragnar concluded with what he called a "small essay" of his own, which introduced the MGTOW logo, and which advocated "two strategies that come together in one", namely,

  1. Instilling masculinity in men
  2. Ignoring and shunning women. [42]"

Much of these ideas were subsequently fleshed out and discussed, occasionally with heated arguments; and men adapted and expounded upon MGTOW as a philosophy and a way of being. The present incarnation and definition of the term "MGTOW" has evolved away and severed its ties from its murky origins in the men's rights movement, such that today the definition of MGTOW is a strictly nonpolitical philosophy centered around independence or separatism from women, and a rejection of traditional gender roles of masculinity and femininity.[45][46]

As described by prominent sourcesEdit

Template:Expand section MGTOW have been described by various prominent sources.

The MGTOW phenomenon has been described in detail in books by prominent authors such as Helen Smith[26], Kay Hymowitz[47], Philip Zimbardo[48], and in many mainstream or notable newspapers, websites and other sources, including the Sunday Times[10], Breitbart News Network[32][33][34], Vice Magazine[23][49], the Daily Mail[50][51], Reason magazine[52], the Daily Telegraph[53], the Daily Mirror[54], the Sun[55], the Independent[56], the Irish Independent[57], Independent Journal Review[58], the Huffington Post[59][60], Wales Online[16], Pan-American Post[17], InfoWars[61][62], Metro[63], Psychology Today[64], the Daily Beast[15], PJ Media, the BBC[65], Tommy Sotomayor, the Tom Leykis Show, xoJane[66], Business Insider[67], the Conservative Woman[68][69][70][71], Women24[72],[73], WorldNetDaily[74], the Southern Poverty Law Center[75], and others.

In an interview, Erin Pizzey, the family care activist internationally famous for having started the first domestic violence shelter in the modern world, described MGTOW and expressed her concern about the effects on women:

"MGTOW, Men Going Their Own Way, is very powerful in America; it's almost epidemic in Japan. So in a funny way, as the women of the [[feminist movement]] turned on men, men ran away. And what's happening now: I move between London and Los Angeles, where my son lives with his family, and what I see is desperate between late thirties and forties women, who are never going to be married, and are never going to have children, because the men aren't there;  and what the men will offer, and the only thing they'll offer, is what they call Hookup—particularly in America, where a man can see four or five women at the same time and have sex with them all.

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, M.S.W., Ph.D., for his column "The Attraction Doctor" in Psychology Today, viewed MGTOW sympathetically, calling societal and female expectations on men in relationships a "double bind", which has left many men "wounded" or "frustrated" to the point that have chosen to "opt out" entirely and instead concentrate on making themselves happy in other ways.[64]

In February, 2011, in an article about her published thesis that what she terms "the rise of women" has had a negative influence on men, American author Kay Hymowitz suggested the reader search for terms including "MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way)" for examples of young men frustrated by women who complain of inequality while demanding preferential treatment.[15]

A detailed account of the MGTOW phenomenon was published by Helen Smith, Ph.D., in her 2013 book "Men On Strike; Why Men are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood and the American Dream, and Why It Matters"[26]

The Sunday Times, the largest-selling British national "quality" Sunday newspaper, featured an in-depth 8-page article detailing the MGTOW phenomenon[10]

Reasons why men go their own way Edit

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Summary Edit

MGTOW believe that legal and romantic entanglements with women fail a cost–benefit analysis and risk–benefit analysis. MGTOW believe it is advisable for men to shun marriage, cohabitation, and procreation, because they believe that the modern legal climate and justice system is hostile and dangerous towards men, and that the prevailing society or culture is gynocentric and misandrist. Many MGTOW also are of the opinion that even if all such alleged legal dangers, moral hazards, and other problems disappeared, modern women and modern society do not provide any positive incentives for men to engage in interactions with women. Many believe that mechanization and automation have substituted for the need for female labor in many (traditionally female) household tasks. Many self-identified MGTOW also feel that that female companionship does not provide sufficient positive incentives to associate with women, and advise men stay away from all romantic relationships, because they see such relationships as inherently dangerous and exploitative, or even in some cases from women in general, whom they see as hypergamous and manipulative by nature.

Divorce statistics Edit

Consequences of divorce Edit

Richard Doyle wrote about the court handling of divorces and child custody processes:

"Divorce courts are frequently like slaughter-houses, with about as much compassion and talent. They function as collection agencies for lawyer fees, however outrageous, stealing children and extorting money from men in ways blatantly unconstitutional... Men are regarded as mere guests in their own homes, evictable any time at the whims of wives and judges. Men are driven from home and children against their wills; then when unable to stretch paychecks far enough to support two households are termed "runaway fathers." Contrary to all principles of justice, men are thrown into prison for inability to pay alimony and support, however unreasonable or unfair the "obligation."" (Messner (1997) [ 41–48]

MGTOW have claimed that family and divorce law discriminate against men and favored their wives.Template:Sfn MGTOW assert that men are consciously or unconsciously opting out of marriage and engaging in a "marriage strike" as a result of the lack of benefits in marriage and the emotional and financial consequences of divorce, including alimony and child custody and support.[76][26][77] MGTOW have argued that divorce and custody laws violate men's individual rights to equal protection.

Template:See also

Other reasons why men go their own way include:

  • Divorce statistics: high prevalence of divorce, high prevalence of female-initiated divorce.
  • Unenforced prenuptual agreements
  • Emotional sequelae of divorce: male suicide.
  • Asset division after divorce
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • (Lack of) child custody
  • Parental alienation syndrome
  • Paternity fraud
  • Lack of birth control methods
  • Lack of reproductive rights: spermjacking, etc.
  • Violence against men: Domestic violence. Female on male rape(?). Stalking, etc.
  • False rape accusations
  • False domestic violence accusations
  • Lack of benefits in marriage (A wife has no legal obligations in marriage. No obligation to have sex. No obligation not to cheat. No obligation not to cuckold. No obligation to stay married (no-fault divorce). There is nothing a husband is legally entitled to in marriage.)
  • Sexless marriage
  • Downsides of cohabitation: encroachment on male living space ("the prospect of having your personal space rearranged, and even being driven out of your personal space (which you're paying for) and into the garage [or "man cave"] isn't very savoury"), cohabitation as common law marriage
  • palimony
  • Substitute goods and services: self-improvement, hobbies, sports, video games, porn, sex toys, sexbots, prostitutes, escorts, massage parlors, artificial wombs, etc.
  • Decreasing wages: man cession, making it more difficult to support a household, etc.
  • Personal productivity:

Research shows increased scientific and artistic productivity in men who do not marry. As Christopher Orlet observes in his New English Review article Bachelorhood and Its Discontents,

Some years ago a noted Japanese researcher analyzed the biographical data of some 280 famous mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and biologists and discovered that all peaked professionally in their twenties, at which point their careers spiraled downward. Married scientists suffered the worst decline in productivity. However, those who never married remained highly productive well into their fifties. "Scientists tend to 'desist' from scientific research upon marriage,” the researcher told an interviewer, “just like criminals desist from crime upon marriage." One theory suggests married men lack an evolutionary reason to continue working hard (i.e., to attract females). Though it likely they similarly lack the prerequisite time and solitude.[1]

Some believe that the contributions of the many celibate medieval monks (such as Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Desiderius Erasmus, Michael Servetus) were essential in preserving and building European culture through the medieval age and laying the foundation for the Renaissance and the Enlightenment.[2]

  • Alienation due to vilification of men in feminism and popular culture.

Criticism of MGTOW Edit

MGTOW are sometimes dismissed as "toxic misogynists" or shamed as "a cult for lonely virgins"[53]. MGTOW have also been accused of having Peter Pan Syndrome or commitmentphobia.[78] Critics of MGTOW often state that men need to "man-up" and take on the burdens and responsibilities of having a wife and children.

In an investigative report critical of the men's rights movement, The Southern Poverty Law Center, a group dedicated to battling "hate crimes", painted a negative picture of MGTOW, presenting quotes from MGTOW that included violent metaphors.[75] It quoted MGTOW advocates as opposing marriage on the grounds that it allows the woman and the state to virtually kidnap a man's children, evict him from his home, steal his money, and enslave him for life on pain of prison. Gwendolyn Leachman writes that this sort of framing "downplays the systemic biases that women face that justify protective divorce and custody laws."[79]

See also Edit


External links Edit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. Template:Cite web
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  4. Special Report: Herbivore Men
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  14. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named pizzey
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  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Template:Cite book
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  28. The book was originally titled "The Strike" by Rand, but the title was changed on the suggestion of her husband.
  29. Template:Cite web
  30. W.B.Wilcox, R.I.Lerman, For richer, for poorer: how family structures economic success in America.
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  32. 32.0 32.1 Template:Cite website
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  36. Wright, Peter. MGTOW movement of 1898. Gynocentrism and its Cultural Origins. [2]
  37. Wright, Peter. Early References to Men Going Their Own Way. Gynocentrism and its Cultural Origins. [3]
  38. Template:Cite web
  39. 『最後の恋は草食系男子が持ってくる』 (Translated: Herbivore Men Bring the Final Love) Masahiro Morioka. July 23, 2009
  40. Some of the early MGTOW discussions remain preserved at [4]. A summary of these discussions can be found at [5]
  41. Fedders, Rob. The History of MGTOW. NO-MA'AM. [6] (archived at [7])
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 [8] (archived at [9]), with minor errata corrected
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  44. Zed the Zenpriest, Ignoring Women. NO-MA'AM. [10] (archived at [11])
  45. Debate between Barbarossa and Luigi Logan. [12]
  46. [13]
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Category:Masculinity Category:Masculism Category:Men's movement Category:Words coined in the 2000s Category:Interpersonal relationships Category:Intimate relationships Category:Popular psychology Category:Psychological attitude Category:Sexual attraction Category:Terms for males Category:Marriage Category:Free love Category:Criticism of marriage Category:Social psychology Category:Celibacy