IV: Broad Experience Brought Me Out of the Manosphere
Still, I’d be lying, and certainly underselling many good friends of mine, if I said that manospherians were the only ones encouraging me to get out of that scene. It’s definitely pretty convincing that so many manospambots themselves saw the bankruptcy of their own ideology and abandoned it, but plenty of other experiences as well as criticisms of the manosphere from outsiders pushed me that way. There were a bunch of female friends I’ve had from way back, and from a wide variety of places, who disproved the (incoherent, as I’ve stated in Section III) stereotypes about women; they went out of their way to help me and others and were generally productive and useful people, a stark contrast to guys like Mark Minter. Sure, I’ve also known plenty of lame women, but if guys like the aforementioned Minter were equally as lame, why should I waste my time on either misogyny *or* misandry if there were at least a few cool gals I could associate with, just like I was better served hanging around cool guys? There were also the women I knew in grad school that I mentioned before, who went out of their way to keep my studies on track, and also recent friends folks can probably see in previous entries on this blog, ladies who’ve given me a variety of professional and personal aid ranging from translating stuff for me from Japanese to English (at sizable personal inconvenience to them), making patches and other content for videogames I enjoy, and so on. Compare that to the manospherians and MGTOWs, who’ve never done anything for me. I might not be the brightest bulb in the box, but I know it’s better to stick with people who do you good than those who don’t.
A: The kinds of men already “Going Their Own Way” don’t have much use for manosphere ideology
That’s not all, though. Most manospherians are pretty homophobic, but remember earlier where I mentioned that “Male Procreation” guy? He didn’t have any problems with gay folks and kind of envied them, actually. Same thing with a few MGTOWs. I’ve met a handful who wished they were gay, and actually one who gave it the ol’ college try, though, uh, it didn’t seem to be working out for him very well ( https://www.reddit.com/r/PunchingMorpheus/comments/a6x35t/ama_im_a_left_wing_redpiller_who_has_gay/ec0bvos/ ). Some MGTOWs didn’t go that far, but did seem to appreciate asexuality. They thought sex and the typical male desire for beautiful women was the source of our downfall, and if we could only purge our sexual desires and become asexual we could truly and undeniably Go Our Own Way and become like Paul Erdos or Nikola Tesla (super mathematicians/scientists who seemed unconcerned with women).
The thing is, there were already gay and even asexual men out there. By the time I was pondering this question, I was shedding my homophobia and right-wing-ness, and it occurred to me that in most respect gay guys and definitely asexuals lived the MGTOW ideal. They didn’t care about women sexually, so according to the MGTOW worldview, in which the only value women had was sex, these guys should have had generally the same attitudes, misogyny, rejection of women, etc. as MGTOW did. The truth, however, was quite different, and in fact many of these guys had perspectives on manosphere ideologies (although sometimes not directly) that were quite enlightening to me. I’ll present here a selection of critiques from asexual and gay brothers that greatly helped refine my own thinking.
There’s an article I found explaining the existence of asexuality and the problems some men have with recognizing it, pretty thoughtful:
Notably, however, the author spent very, very little time complaining about feminism or even arguing about women, which is not an especially MGTOW thing to do, in my experience. That got me to reading more, and I found some more good posts.
“A couple of years ago, I joined a MGTOW board because a few of them happen to be pretty good in the techie dept, but now I think that was a mistake. Apparently to become fully accepted by the MGTOW community, you have to be part of a hive mind in which you’re sexually frustrated, you’re always the victim, and you must never, ever work on improving your quality of life (so you can always have plenty to bitch about). Life, to MGTOW, is one big gripefest.
Oh, and MGTOW absolutely LOVE to blame all their woes on “liberals” (when in fact, most of the things they complain about happen to them as a result of their own bad decisions, usually the result of being narrow minded and bull headed). They really think Ronald Reagan deserves to have his face carved onto Mount Rushmore.”
At the same forum, another fellow raised an excellent point:
“Funnily enough though, if you look at my life, functionally I’m probably pretty close to the description of a MGHOW. But it’s something that’s a natural consequence of simply being highly independent, borderline asexual, averse to any kind of heteronormative relationship mind games, as well as any kind of paradigm which treats people as means to ends in relationships.
Amazingly enough, when you do that, you actually meet awesome women. But of course, the mutual sense of independence means that the sorts of relationships you have with them aren’t going to run to the usual scripts anyway. And that’s why I don’t identify with MGTOW. The entire referential framework is different: MGTOW are bitter at the system – but they still use it as a reference point to how they wish things were – they haven’t really stepped right away from it, to the point where its existence is basically irrelevant to their relationship ideals (or lack thereof?).”
That last bit hit me like a hammer, and brought home the sort of attitude I should have and that the MGTOWs didn’t. For all their talk about “Going Their Own Way,” they hadn’t, really—if they had they likely would have come to the conclusion this guy did, namely that you meet better people (male and female) if you don’t chain yourself to paradigms or worldviews that don’t work for you, and that “chain” can also be rebellion against that worldview rather than simply leaving it behind you eventually. So that’s what I did—I stopped caring about whether or not society “expected” me to have a girlfriend or live my life in some particular way, and I stopped caring about “feminism” or (in a winder sense I’ve brought up before) “SJWs” that didn’t impact me directly or could be avoided easily, and found a much healthier and happier worldview that suited me and me alone as a result.
I also learned quite a bit from gay guys. Even though I’m not gay m’self, the fact that gays could provide a more objective view on male-female relationships than someone in the midst of them or who desired them or even consciously rejected them meant that many gay guys provided thoughtful analyses of gender relationships that were unclouded by either a desire to appease women *or* seething resentment of women, as many MGTOW fell into. I could find some examples when gay guys were talking about a rare gay manospherian’s book, “Androphilia,” and his articles on The Spearhead about being Real Masculine and all that. A few good quotes:
“the most ardent critique of Portland’s SlutWalk would come in the shape of Portland local Jack Donovan, principal writer for THE SPEARHEAD, which extolls itself as the savior website for poor repressed American men because their voice is “barely a whisper in the traditional media, we are consistently portrayed as worthless buffoons and advertisers ignore us.” When Donovan, the androphilic mouthpiece of this “movement” isn’t crying into his protein shake over being ignored, he likes to take aim at anyone who is not like himself.”
This applied to most “manly” manospherians as well as the self-proclaimed “androphile,” Jack Donovan. Both of them, the gays and the straights, made a big deal about being masculine and strong, but as other gay guys like Perry pointed out, whining about people not paying attention to you isn’t really “masculine” or “strong.”
Also see this more sympathetic but still critical review of Donovan’s Androphilia for another good point:
“Though Androphilia is a profound and important book that will almost certainly be ignored in the closed-minded chambers of gender studies departments across the continent, it does have its problems. While the case for reclaiming masculinity and embracing a positive (and distinctly male) gender identity is undoubtedly a persuasive one, it’s also hard to escape the impression that Donovan’s own conception of the masculine ideal is a little too… well, personal. Jack clearly likes sports, military history, physical labor, and violent movies, and wants other gays to get more into these things, too. “I envision a world,” he writes, “where Androphiles become admired as knowledgeable outdoorsmen, avid hunters, successful sportsmen, skilled builders, do-it-yourselfers, shrewd businessmen, and accomplished leaders in their chosen fields,” adding that homos who collect “war and sports memorabilia” would be pretty cool, too.
Now, when I think of personal role models whom I admire for their masculinity (a task Donovan advocates all gays should do), I often think of Mark Steyn, the rugged British-Canadian political columnist. Through his eloquent writing, he continuously champions the same values of personal responsibility, integrity, honor, and tradition that Donovan holds up as male ideals. Yet Steyn’s after-hours interests include singing, Broadway, and fashion. Is he less of a man for it?
I bring this up not to go down some neo-feminist road of how all “gender ideals” are inherently arbitrary, but rather to caution that men are a diverse lot, and their maleness can manifest in a multitude of ways, not all of which may necessarily seem terribly masculine at first glance. While Donovan is right to belittle stagy homosexual airs, and the equally stagy over-compensation of the beard-and-leather set, there’s still a risk of fetishizing (in Donovan’s case, literally) the tastes and hobbies of a particular set of men whose interests stem as much from class and geography as anything else. Liking trucks or hunting might simply reflect the fact that you grew up around such things, while indifference may be just that. I’m open to the idea that someone can be a city-dwelling, cat-loving poet homosexual vegetarian and still retain a strong core of masculinity in their values and behaviour, though I get the impression Donovan isn’t.”
“What are his criteria of masculinity? What does he think of men who do not meet these criteria? Does he conceive of these characteristics as being “naturally occuring” so that men who don’t possess them are just warped by society? So, is it not for women to also be self-reliant and convicted?
And, of course, it’s interesting how vigorously he asserts a “misguided feminist understanding of masculinity,” as if any problems in gay culture are but consequences of the feminist movement and its permutations. In fact, I question his assertion that the problems in gay culture tody are rooted in a problem with gender identity or a gender oriented value system. As has already been pointed out, plenty of straight men, not mention women, also crave instant gratification, pursue empty pleasures, and act irresponsibly.”
See also this post from the “Going to the North” blog:
“In closing I will say that in an ideal world I actually agree with Donovan on one point, in that I think marriage is unnecessray for gays, but only because I think it should be unnecessary for everyone. Marriage is such an archaic and antiquated institution horribly burdened by its origins as a vehicle for transferring women as property between men that I don’t have any great fondness for it. Rather I would see a universal adoption of Sweden’s sambo system that let’s people have their relationships and mutual ownership of property be recognised automatically after a set period of time without any need for explicit state involvement, and gives the same legal protections as marriage does without all of the trappings. In such a system if people want to have commitment ceremonies then have at it. But, ultimately, I don’t project what I think is right or want for myself onto everyone else, and recognise that personal and legal unions are very important to others for reasons I might not understand or agree with. Again, quoting JS Mill, as it doesn’t hurt or affect me why should I object?”
This was an interesting perspective on marriage you don’t see often in the manosphere, including from MGTOWs. It’s just “marriage is terrible, reeeeee!” but this gay fella, reviewing Donovan’s overly broad attack against marriage, noted that there were alternatives that suited everyone better.
Finally, reading up on some of the general concerns gay folks faced (not just societal ones, but within their own communities) also made me suspicious of a lot of manosphere rhetoric. Even completely in the absence of women in terms of sexual relationships or sexual desire, there were and have been rifts among gays that the debate over Donovan’s work touches upon—what role masculinity and femininity have in the community, how prevalent the preferences for each might be, and so on. See these articles:
There’s also the fact that domestic abuse is a problem in gay relationships as well, it’s just not reported as it should be, for a variety of reasons:
Now, most right-wing manospambots would claim this is just proof gays are dysfunctional or whatever. The thing is, by their own admission straight men have a bunch of related problems—manospherians are always screaming at each other over what’s “truly” manly, complaining about being falsely accused of rape or abuse, and so on. But if gay men also have issues like these, that leads one to think that even if feminism didn’t exist, even if women didn’t exist at all and we lived in the Ethan of Athos style utopia a lot of more extreme manospherians claim to want, men would still have a lot of problems.
B: Cogent criticisms from a variety of sources
This long-ass essay is finally coming close to an end, and to build off the previous sub-section, this one is going to be a grab-bag of a wide variety of quotes from a wide variety of sources—blogs, articles, etc.—that point out a lot of the flawed analyses and incorrect data that form many manosphere assumptions, stuff like this helped me break away from that scene as well, though not as much as internal criticisms of it. I’ll quote the best parts of these but you should really read all of them.
“This is just this frankly astounding problem with the MRA. That women do not like having sex and that sex is not fun for them. That somehow the creation of sex toys has made men redundant. Which is nonsensical. As any woman who has tried mixing toys and a man will tell you that a lot of toys get better when used in a relationship. I know it’s not explicit in this piece but the number of MRA who think that this is the reason why women don’t want anything to do with them is mindbogglingly high.
If you think the reason why women do not like you is the ownership of a hitachi magic wand (a device which I am assured is powerful enough to explode your libido) then you have a problem where you compare unfavourably to an inanimate object. Where you see yourself as nothing but an orgasm machine which means that you have lost to industrialisation.
If you cannot fathom why you think you are losing to the industrialisation of the orgasm then the problem is not the machine but the man.”
“But if you want X thing, then you must be prepared to honestly ask, ‘So why am I not getting it?’ and interrogate yourself boldly to see what you’d need to do to get it – whether that’s money, companionship, love, beauty, fresh pancakes – and then do that.”
Instead, what I see is a script: “Just become the alpha male, and had rock-chiseled abs and a white smile, and you will have the world of your dreams.” No. No. Some of those women don’t want rock-chiseled abs. Some of those women don’t want irritating douches who override all their needs with theirs. Some of those women may want irritating douches who override all their needs with theirs, but something else about you isn’t compatible with them.”
A good post from Blazedoxy: https://archive.is/Qe5X1
“Let me try to explain this to you in case you aren’t getting it: you bitch and moan about the fact that women are biologically motivated to be hypergamous, but you don’t hold yourselves responsible of the fact that you’re biologically predisposed not to give a shit about a woman beyond her looks. But instead of holding yourself, the men, responsible for your mate choices by chasing skirts who have nothing to offer you but sexual attractiveness, you pin ALL the blame on the mating preferences of women. Why do I never hear a MGTOW talk at length about the “problem” of male shallowness as being an issue in relationships with women? How come it’s always a rant about how women are hypergamous by nature, and therefore it’s all our fault? The same evo-psych you use to call women hypergamous is the same that calls you just too fucking shallow to care about a woman’s non-physical qualities.”
Another good post from Spherical Bullshit: https://archive.is/Pik9X
“Anti-war protests and campaigns are ten-a-penny, yet no significant contribution to them has been made by prominent “Men’s Rights” activists or movements – and when they are, they’re framed in this rather dishonest way as the fault of women for not dying enough. As Man Boobz has reported recently, some self-styled MRAs are literally saying that women should die in droves to combat the discrepancy. If that attitude strikes you as a reasonable response to a disparity in the gender of soldiers killed, you have some serious issues you need to address.”
Yet another good post from Ozy: https://archive.is/hTVtZ
“Based on this, we are proposing a rule of thumb that we’re calling Ozy’s Law: It is impossible to form a stereotype about either of the two primary genders without simultaneously forming a concurrent and complementary stereotype about the other.
Or, more simply: Misandry mirrors misogyny.”
I’ve also found a lot of good critiques of “The Misandry Bubble,” which as I mentioned previously was considered a foundational manosphere text for some time See this one from thoughtscream:
“Let’s start with a small and amusing thing: the author thinks that most women, pre-feminism, married as virgins. This inherently treats pubescent hormones, urges and the actions resultant as somehow something new. While it is certainly likely that families of privilege and influence were probably sticklers about these sort of things, let’s not forget that the social channels that could possibly uphold and enforce this facet of patriarchy were always rare – in fact, from an economic standpoint, the insistence on virginity was nothing short of dehumanizing exertion of claim. The reason for its insistence was simply to ensure that there were no prior claims upon the object of exchange – no risk, in other words, of somebody else’s genetic capital parasitizing upon your own.
The case for this for most of pre-industrial humanity, however? Hahahaha, right. Because teenagers wouldn’t find time to sneak off into the woods or into unattended barns or behind the tavern’s kitchen for a bit of boot-knocking. Sure. That’s completely believable. If there is any social dogma I’m willing to embrace, it’s the idea that there is no such thing as an ideal social interaction – our ideas of what should happen occur because the majority of us would do otherwise.”
“The next fact he states is that 90% of divorces are initiated by women. The link he has goes to the same article as the previous link; that article has a link in the footnotes for this 90% stat, which goes to another article on a different blog about how toxic women are, which attributes this 90% stat with a link to a dead page.
Anyway, he uses all of these extremely questionable sources (or misrepresentations of decent sources) for the rest of the section of the article. He next announces that it’s ‘all major religions’ that needed to give the beta males reason to aspire, while limiting the hypergamous instincts of women, and so institute marriage. This overlooks the fact that the institution of marriage actually predates most of today’s major religions, and typically occurred in nearly every society, regardless of religion.
The idea that marriage was about providing every beta-male with a wife is certainly false; men continued long after marriage to be seen as expendable by societies compared to women, and his statement that this system, applied over an entire population, is known as ‘civilization’, is a grand and ridiculous oversimplification.
He also states that societies that deviated from this were quickly replaced. Which is completely false, as societies from Burma to India to the Middle East to Europe all had polygamous elements in them that thrived for centuries.
He also says that the pre-civilization era of alpha males hoarding all the women resulted in violent societies because of all the unsatisfied beta males. Right, because civilized human history was all so peaceful.”
Even “neurodivergent” folks have seen holes in its arguments, see a post from Zur-Darkstar and others:
“I could dispute any number of his so-called facts. Polygamy was permitted and even encouraged in many very productive early civilizations. It is practiced in the Bible, in all the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, India, etc. It was really not until the rise of more egalitarian Greek principles that the dynamic began to change in the West. The “incentive to be productive” in the ancient world was survival. There were no labor laws or welfare and the inability to find productive employment could result in slow starvation or a miserable life of barely surviving on the scraps left over (many still live in this condition). I could easily name six alpha male figures. How about Jack McCoy, Special Agent Gibbs, John Cena, Steve Austin, Tony Stark, King Leonidas, Jack Sparrow. There are plenty of other good examples. How about any movie character played by Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, or Keanu Reeves. How about sports stars like LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Tiger Woods (before the fall). All the author is really saying is that Hollywood isn’t particularly original in the last decade and hasn’t come up with many new characters. I agree. It’s much easier to simply pick up on male archetypes that have existed for several decades, centuries, or milennia. If the author wants to find “new” characters, he should probably look at newer mediums like video games, where new characters are popping up.
The sitcom portrayal of men is quite bad, but then so is that of women, who are tagged as domineering, nagging, controlling characters that make all sorts of demands on the man’s time and energy. This happens because sitcoms rely on the exaggeration of existing dynamics to get a laugh. The man’s stupid, bumbling, farting, drinking, sports watching, lazy tendencies are exaggerated, as are the woman’s nagging, controlling, weight obsessing, irrational, emotional, smothering tendencies.”
“Women are slutty and have multiple sexual partners before getting married. When they do get married they’re all in their late 30s and 40s and ugly. They will never have children and our population will dwindle. Except for an army of rural Sarah Palins that will become the ONLY SIGNIFICANT WHITE POPULATION LEFT IN A SEA OF COLOR!!! And their men won’t want them because they’re old. And fat. And, women are being allowed to divorce willy-nilly, without proper societal disincentive. In places like India, the parents of the bride pay a fee in jewels to the parents of the groom, to insure that the bitch won’t leave her man.
All of the poor men who are divorced by their feminist-empowered women are also now paying a hefty tax of 70% of all their income to ‘child support’ and so are never going to want to be part of a productive society. This is somewhere approaching 30% of all men!!!111 This is why Detroit failed.
All this, of course, only applies to Urban lefto-feminists. Those city women don’t know their place. Rural conservatives however, get married at the right time, have the right number of children, and presumably obey the patriarchy, to the benefit of all.”
(The irony the poster refers to is how the American rural population especially has a host of problems, notably an opioid epidemic, The Futurist just glossed over)
One more for the record. A white nationalist by the name of F. Roger Devlin actually preceded, or was more or less contemporaneous, with Roissy in the manosphere, coming up with the famous term “hypergamy.” Here are some commenters from the Marginal Revolution blog (Dunno about the rest of its content, but these guys raised some good points in this case if nowhere else) pointing out the flaws of Devlin’s most famous essay:
“This paper is riddled with inconsistency and flawed analogy. The biggest such example I’ve encountered thus far is the lottery ticket analogy on page 16.
This analogy compares a young woman who has been date-raped to a man who buys a lottery ticket but does not win. The analogy is flawed, because the young woman did not purchase the lottery ticket of her own free will: she was pressured into buying the lottery ticket by the man, who has misled her as to the odds of winning, and after the “drawing” is concluded walks away with a prize of his own. We do not call this “theft”, it is true, but we do call it “fraud”.
It’s an interesting paper, don’t get me wrong, but there seems to be a great deal of bias in it. The author goes rather far afield to cherry-pick the analogies and observances which support his conclusions, ignoring any evidence that runs counter to it, and improperly emphasising things like “parasitic dating”. Parasitic dating does happen, it’s true, but it’s not exactly common – and it’s generally not prolonged. The reality of modern dating isn’t the picture this paper paints; it paints the picture it needs to draw the conclusion it wants to draw.
I’d like to see a more balanced treatment of the theme. Among other things, Devlin completely ignores the reality that women match themselves to mates, identifying and pursuing the mates they find desirable AND feel confident of acquiring. The scarcity of movie stars is not so great an issue, because women – unlike most men – understand that the vast majority of them don’t get to have one. The average man doesn’t understand why he can’t have Angelina Jolie (after all, she has to have SOMEONE, and he’s someone), but the average woman does understand that she can’t have Brad Pitt – because he has access to a higher-quality pool of potential mates.”
From another commenter:
“The fertility rate has declined in the whole world, not just in the west or in the US, and it seem silly to ascribe this to peculiarities of the sexual revolution in the US in the 1960’s. It has been found by people working in population control that the two things that lead to lower birth rates is improvement in child mortality rates and increase in the independence of women, especially financial independence. It is thought that in hunter gather society’s women found mates to father a child and who would stay around until the child is walking and no longer needs constant care. Then more often than not they both moved on. Because of the long nursing times and strenuous life children were spaced no closer than three or four years. In an industrial economy women have become self supporting and capable of raising children with out help from the father once they reach school age, and birth control allows the spacing of children, so people are simply reverting to what is the natural pattern of sexual behavior.”
C: Watching guys improve themselves outside the manosphere
Over the years, I also encountered a lot of guys from a variety of places who exemplified what the manosphere claims to praise, namely self-improvement and overcoming one’s weaknesses to find professional, social, and even romantic success in life. Yet most of these guys had nothing to do with the manosphere itself, and indeed thought a lot of manosphere ideals would actually hinder their progress; watching them convinced me I didn’t need the manosphere either. A few examples:
“When I compare myself to other men, I see huge differences. I’ve always been skinny and rather awkward. I’ve never been very socially aggressive either. A Red Piller would sooner blame the feminists for taking away my masculinity and tell me that I need to counter-act their voodoo by being, essentially, a dickhead. I never saw it that way. Instead of trying to transform into the same piece of meat that was diverting the gazes away from me, I invested in my strengths, which are intelligence, humor, and individuality. You’ll have to take my word for it, but it’s paid off, and I happen to have some amazing women in my life as a result.”
Another guy, more of a manosphere type, Caleb Jones, thought the “activism” of that scene was pointless:
“All that time, effort, anger, emotion, and possibly money you’re spending trying to fix the world, trying to fight back against left-wingers or right-wingers or feminists or beta males or whoever, could instead be spent…
Learning new skills to better your life.
Getting better and meeting and sleeping with attractive women.
Figuring out how to move out of the country you currently live in that you dislike.
Lifting weights and/or improving your diet to improve your health, appearance, and confidence.
Making more money. Or if you already make decent money, making that same money in less work hours per week.
Trying out new kinds of relationships with women that may make you happier, and/or improving your current relationship skills.
If you have kids, learning how to be a better father. If you don’t have kids, securing your life logistics so that you will be a good father someday.
Every time you get furious at what some blogger or feminist is doing, you take time away from the above items. Getting pissed off about it has a less than 1% chance of actually doing any real difference in society, but any of these above items have at least a 70%-90% of helping you (and those closest to you).
The rational, fair, Alpha Male-centric society is gone and not coming back. Accept it, and stop hand-wringing about it. Improve your own life instead. Get your own shit in order. Live your life and be happy.”
Here’s a self-described nerdy guy pointing out that the manosphere absolutely needed to police or kick out the losers and psychos in its midst or it would fall into disgrace, as it eventually did:
“But in the end, it’s simple. Pick-up artists, you need to think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and to what ends. This isn’t slut-shaming or condemning promiscuity – if you’re responsible and there’s consent going both ways, then go ahead, have fun – but verifying that consent and your underlying rationale can only help you build real relationships and encounters that matter. Men’s Rights Activists, there are legitimate grievances you have, but overshadowing them is a cancer in your community and you need to burn it out in the same way the heavy metal community forcibly excised neo-nazi groups. Enough with the manifestos and entitlement and the targets you think are easy because you can say whatever you want online – because continuing to push in this direction only makes the valid cases come across as so much worse. And all the rest of you guys… it only becomes about you when you keep quiet and allow it to keep happening.
You know, there’s a certain amount of controversy behind the phrase ‘Be A Man’, because it’s viewed as asserting a view of hypermasculine outdated nonsense that’s a relic from a bygone age and a dying generation. But for me the phrase still has weight, and it comes down to the underlying principle: responsibility. Accountability. Owning up to your words and actions. Everything else of which I’ve spoken – decency, chivalry, empathy, they all spring from this concept, and yet somehow there is a subsection of my gender that has become terrified of it. Of accepting the consequences, facing the music, realizing they aren’t the center of the universe anymore and thus must learn to live with others instead of above them. And oh dear god it can be hard, especially when society has built in every available method of escaping that obligation, ignoring your power and the responsibility it holds.
So here’s my message: grow up. Be a man. Or if that’s too much, try just being a decent, respectful human being and conscious of someone’s wants beyond your own. Who knows, it might surprise you.”
Here’s a post from a black fella whose experience growing up might have differed from that of most white guys, but also refuted a lot of manosphere agitprop:
“there just weren’t a lot of fathers doing the quotidian work of parenting in my South Philadelphia neighborhood, as if all the adult black men had agreed to go into hiding. And so the teachers; the parents who yelled at us to come inside when it got dark, and who organized the church trips, camps and block parties, were almost always black women. My grandmother scooped me up from soccer practice. My mom taught me the rules of football and tied my ties. My aunt helped me with my long division. Her daughter taught me how to shoot free throws. When something broke, one of these women fixed it.
None of these were feminist acts in and of themselves, and those women would never have identified as feminists, but they were (and remain) giants to me. And I was living in a world, albeit not the one they probably would have preferred, in which the traditional gender roles were queered. My world was largely populated by black women who were fantastically smarter and more competent than I was. That didn’t forestall my fantastically awkward attempts to slide into some ill-fitting molds of masculinity, and I still bought into all those gendered hierarchies even though they were especially abstract for me. But all of this hobbled my capacity to see the eventual assumption of gender roles as foregone or necessary conclusions, and stoked a lingering skepticism of the supposed truths on which they rested.”
D: What would I have done differently?
This is pretty much it, my friends—I tried to keep this essay short, but it kind of got out of hand thanks to all the quotes I couldn’t resist adding in. As I mentioned in the introduction, though, it would have been MUCH longer if I’d spent more time caterwauling about myself and my own experiences. Thankfully, breaking the essay up into sections kept it manageable. All the reasons I’ve described above are why I abandoned not just manosphere blogs but manosphere talking points and ideologies themselves—aside from their adherents too often being spiteful, backbiting losers for me, both the inconsistencies in their beliefs and the often self-defeating nature of those beliefs ended up driving me away from that scene entirely, and into the content, happy place I am now.
It would have been a lot easier if I’d never gotten involved with that foolishness in the first place at all, though. I mentioned some of the reasons it attracted me in the beginning of this essay, but was there anything that would have kept me away from it? I think there might have been one thing.
During the time I started drifting towards…not the manosphere, actually, but the right-wing, “anti-SJW” scene (which primed me to accept manosphere garbage), I had a lot of friends of both genders close to me in my age, but not many older male friends who had really been around the block (so to speak) and thus had a great deal of experience (and accomplishment) both in terms of relationships *and* professionally, just general practical, real world experience. So I didn’t quite have anyone I could talk to who could use that wealth of experience, or more specifically the perspective and objectivity that comes with age, to look at my reactions and my engagement with some of the stuff I’d seen and tell me I was being irrational and immature. Only later in life, both online (as my relationships with folks in the Castlevania fandom grew deeper) and offline (as I solidified my dissertation committee at graduate school, wherein the professors, who had *really* been around the block, guided me not just academically but personally as well), did I start meeting and hanging around older guys who could give me the sort of advice I would have done well to heed when I was younger—the sort of advice that would’ve kept me away from the “anti-SJW” rathole, and by extension the manosphere’s siren songs of resentment and anger.
So if there’s one piece of advice I would give to younger guys who’ve wandered to my blog, it’s this: Try to find a community, preferably offline but online works as well, devoted to some hobby, interest, or pursuit where some degree of knowledge, experience, or actual expertise is held in esteem. If you like videogames, find a forum or something where programmers who’ve been around for a while, or where people who know a lot about the background of certain videogames (or the history of the industry in general) are praised. Or find forums dedicated to boating, bikeriding, guns or shooting, even, where folks who’ve been around and seen a lot and demonstrated expertise in whatever they’re passionate about for at least a few years. Don’t go to a general “men’s forum” for that kind of thing, though—MGTOW ones are in that vein, and the problem with those is that they have no bar for a quality member besides just being a man and holding the same general opinions (on women or other things) they do, rather than demonstrated expertise or usefulness. Thus, they get filled with losers and fakers, as I described in earlier sections, and you can’t get good advice from such people.
On online or offline communities (preferably the latter, but even the former can work if the members need to really demonstrate some expertise to gain respect) where being useful or knowledgeable actually counts for something, on the other hand, you’ll be able to find a few older guys who’ve demonstrated competency and experience. Try making friends with them, getting close to them, or at least avoid pissing them off so they’d be fine giving you advice not just on particular hobbies, professions, or interest, but also on life in general. Friendships or even acquaintances with those types of guys can be worth their weight in gold for younger guys. In general, you don’t get to be accomplished after a period of many years by being resentful, stewing in bitterness, and avoiding self-improvement. Those kinds of older guys can help you navigate contemporary society (both in terms of gender relations and a variety of other factors) while warning you away from the kinds of grifters and psychos you see in the manosphere.
I’m not gonna say I’m one such old guy—most of the really smart ones were able to avoid getting involved with the manosphere in the first place all on their own. But at the very least, even if I was dumb to make as many mistakes as I did, I was smart enough to learn from ‘em. So here’s hoping this tl;dr essay can help at least one person learn from my mistakes too. If it can, I’ll be happy—and I’ll consider it the best thank-you I can give to guys like Thumpy and Pook, as well as all the other critics of the manosphere and my friends online and offline, for helping me move forward from my mistakes.