In this piece I’ll be looking at the opposite of MGTOW, at what MGTOW isn’t, in order to throw MGTOW into relief against impostors. Naturally, this is my own take, one of numerous that abound on the Internet and one that comes with no special authority and no assumption that I speak for others.
By now many are familiar with the concept of male self-determination as a basic working definition for MGTOW. Self-determination is the practice whereby a man makes choices and decisions based on his own preferences and interests, monitors and regulates his own actions, and is generally self-directing.
That leads to a consideration of the opposite of male self-determination, i.e., determination of self by other (DOSBO). Determination of self by other limits the definition of MGTOW and in one stroke negates the claim that MGTOW can mean anything a person wants it to mean. By applying the DOSBO rule, no person can qualify as a MGHOW if he hands over a significant amount of his sovereignty to another entity. Here are some examples illustrating DOSBO in action.
Example 1: Pro-feminist men
On the face of it, we might assume pro-feminist men are self-determined for having made a choice to be led by the spirit and letter of feminism. It hardly needs saying that this amounts to a false assumption.
The only self-determined decision such men make is an initial one to give up self-determination altogether in favor of determination of self by other—which is, of course, the antithesis of self-determination and thereby disqualifies MGTOW status according to the DOSBO yardstick.
Example 2: Married men
This example is a bit trickier because it raises the question of whether the DOSBO factor is actual or merely potential for a particular married man. Marriage as an institution carries many cultural and legal values, from the symbolizing of a couple’s love in ritualized form through to the cultural and legal implementation of a gynocentric contract.
So the question to ask about any man entering into marriage is this: Is he entering the marriage to willfully participate in a gynocentric charade? Sadly, the vast majority of men are doing precisely that, which indicates that the DOSBO factor is actual—such a man cannot qualify as MGTOW under this definition.
Alternatively, if a couple undertakes to symbolize their love through the ritual of marriage while at the same time imagining they are rejecting the gynocentric aspect imposed by the state, can that man call himself a MGHOW while the DOSBO factor looms in potential due to his wife’s latent legal power? Is this man, rare as he may be, a MGHOW?
This is where I stop short of saying he absolutely cannot be—although I would certainly call him foolhardy if he entered a marriage while knowing the enormous risks involved. He is actually a MGHOW in behavior because he presently “does his own thing,” but he is potentially a man whose life can be determined by his wife and the government if she so chooses. While I look at what is actual instead of what is potential, I’m forced to conclude that he retains some semblance of a MGHOW.
Example 3: Traditionalists
Like marriage, traditionalism needs defining because not all traditionalism is the same—it is not all gynocentric. Traditionalism is a big basket of historical practices that may or may not be limiting of male self-determination. To simply say “All tradition is bad for men” is a blunt instrument that begs debunking. A better approach might be to ask, Which aspects of traditionalism are limiting to male freedoms?
“Traditional gender roles” is a more precise name for the problem, although it too suffers from lack of discrimination. Is it some traditional gender roles, most traditional gender roles, or all traditional gender roles that are bad? Was it bad for married men and non to have the freedom to enjoy male-only fraternal organizations such as the Elks, Masons, Golden Fleece, and others,1 or was it oppressive for bachelor and married men alike to have male-only drinking saloons, pool halls, or sporting clubs? These too were the result of traditional gender divisions.
To use a more controversial example, was it limiting of male self-determination for a woman to stay home during the first two years after giving birth (not beyond!) to breast-feed while the husband worked, or is it limiting for the neotraditionalist couple of today to employ the same traditional role division whereby the father stays at home and bottle-feeds a baby while the woman works full-time?
Are not some aspects of traditionalism benign?
While I leave the answer to these questions open, I’m going to suggest that a much more precise term than either “traditionalism” or “traditional gender roles” would be traditional gynocentrism. Gynocentrism is the main perpetrator in limiting male freedom, and for that reason it is more precise to finger the gynocentric thread of traditionalism.
Moving beyond subjectivism
As a limiting principle, DOSBO delivers MGTOW from the meaninglessness of subjectivism, delivers it from the claim that MGTOW has no inherent meaning, or that it can mean whatever the hell a person wants it to mean. It gives a precise meaning with real meta ideological commitments. Whether or not DOSBO proves of wider value is not important, but it will hopefully stimulate discussion about what precisely are the things that all MGTOW hold in common.
 Edward Ward, The Secret History of Clubs, published 1709. [This is one of hundreds of titles detailing traditional male clubs, guilds, and fraternities. The examples given show that the clubs were riotous places of laughter, male bonding, drinking, inventing and collaborating on various projects, and above all were places to enjoy a little self-chosen freedom. Married and bachelor men alike participated, and in the majority of clubs no women were allowed to set foot].
Feature image by James Cridland
3 thoughts on “A MGTOW Yardstick: Determination Of Self By Other (DOSBO)”
While a DOSBO married man might wake up to MGTOW goals & aspire to them, he would have to modulate his MGTOW through the purview of his wife & family — meaning, of course, his self is STILL being determined by Other. He might be MGTOW-seeking but he is not a MGHOW in any significant sense until he severs his ties to others.
A nominal MGTOW might think enter into a sham marriage/relationship to achieve some financial or social goal but at that point he is controlled by money/society, and so: he is now DOSBO, not MGTOW.
An actual MGHOW eschews marriage & minimizes other relationship obligations. He (optionally) discourages marriage in others, & redirects his career & goals toward his own desires, not those encouraged by society.
All of life requires that you accept some determination of self by other. Period. For instance, if you are walking along a path and a big boulder is in your way, it determines that you MUST walk around it to proceed. That’s why I stipulated in the article that:
The key word there is Significant.
That opens up a massive area of discussion in which we would have to discover what “significant amount of sovereignty” meant. It would be somewhere between giving up your sovereignty to the boulder you just walked around, to giving it up utterly to another such as feminist totalitarian or system.
I’m not willing to agree that a man has automatically given up too much his sovereignty to his wife and family just by existing in one. Yes it is true in the vast overwhelming of cases being in a family and marriage exposes the man to a significant amount of DOSBO, enough to disqualify MGTOW status. But does it happen in all cases? What if he only gives up the bare minimum, which would mean he has not given up a “significant” amount? Or what if it is they, his family, who have given up their sovereignty to him?
I’ll take that as your viewpoint. I agree the eschewing part is generally true.
The question of whether men can have sexual relations, or be married, while at the same time calling themselves MGTOW is an interesting one. There are two distinct camps. Camp 1. says relationships/marriage with a woman is foolhardy and should be avoided, but they concede that in rare instances a man may still be MGTOW while married or in a sexual relationship. Camp 2. insists on celibacy to qualify as MGTOW, although that is only a fairly recent mandate for people going their own way. The celibacy promoters have only become prominent in the last 2 years.
So what we have is two camps; standard MGTOW that has been a phrase and principle for a century, and the celibacy advocates of the last two years (24 months) – which latter a few people have labelled MGTOW+ (mgtow + celibacy). In effect we get an intractable fight between two groups:
1. MGTOW (100 yrs old) = anti-gynocentrism, and pro self-determination
2. MGTOW+ (more recent) = anti-gynocentrism, and pro self-determination, PLUS celibacy.
Sometimes I think these two groups should stop trying to convert each other and, well, go their own way. lol
Re the MGTOW+, the main thing to remember about celibacy is it refers to two basically separable kinds of celibacy: marriage and/or sexual.
Stardusk advocates MGTOW+ 1.
Others advocate MGTOW+ 2.
Both are celibate.
Barbarossaaa doesn’t appear to insist on 1. or 2. (ie. MGTOW+). Nevertheless, he appears to leave very little room for the possibility that MGTOW can be married, but if I understand correctly he doesn’t totally refute the possibility that I know of. ManWomanMyth, a married man, would be case in point.
Not that I’m advocating the ‘+’ label (although it appears coherent), it’s just a shorthand way of describing things.