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Definition of MGTOW

Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) refers to men committed to self-determination, and to voluntarism within relationships. Defining oneself as a Man Going His Own Way (MGHOW) reveals a commitment to the view that a man has the sole right to decide what his own goals in life will be rather than accepting goals conferred by others, or by social consensus of peers, or higher social status individuals or collectives. Generally, consensus-conferred male identities or goals are recognized and rejected by MGTOW men as prescriptive, utilitarian, and benefiting others at a cost of socially unrecognized masculine self-destruction or marginalization.1,2,3,4,5

History

The phenomenon of male self-determination goes back millennia under names such as free-man, celibate, bachelor or stag. Sometimes these self-determined or ‘MGTOW’ men formed groups, the earliest known being that of the Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band of 1898.6 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.7

The MGTOW phrase was further promoted in 2004 by members of a men’s rights group.8 Two of those promoters went by the online names ‘Ragnar’ and ‘Meikyo,’ and in an online 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.9

The MGTOW acronym has since enjoyed increasing popularity as a title for male self-determination.

Rejection of gynocentrism

A core tenet of MGTOW is rejection of gynocentrism, the preferential concern for women in both traditional and progressive forms. The gynocentric customs of marriage, romantic love, chivalry and male servitude are wholly rejected by MGTOW as running counter to the goal of men going their own way.

Adaption of visual aid by Bar Bar10

Philosophy and politics

MGTOW is viewed as an evolving consciousness of self-determination and way of looking at the world. It involves making choices in the present that serve ongoing, future self-determination. Conversely, choices made that seriously endanger future self-determination are viewed as antithetical to MGTOW. 11

Unlike the lockstep and dogma of so many contemporary movements, MGTOW is entirely individualistic, even though many men may arrive at the same conclusions from having observed the same phenomena. The MGTOW-symbol suggested by the 2004 promoters shows a path deviating from the main road (ie. individualism), and an arrow (evolutionary potential). The same promoters further suggested that MGTOW is not affiliated politically, and efforts are made to “avoid pulling it to the left or to the right politically.”12 The proposition for political apartisanship, however, carries no moral authority for individual MGTOW who are free by definition to choose any political alignment they wish.

References

Further Reading: Gynocentrism 1:0, 2:0, and 3:0

Wikipedia definition

Wikipedia commons image

Gynocentrism (2014)

Gynocentrism is the ideological practice, conscious or otherwise, of asserting a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view on social issues, possibly to the detriment of non-females.1, 2, 3 The perceptions, needs, and desires of women have primacy in this approach, where the female view is the lens through which issues are addressed and analyzed.4

Description

Scholars Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson state that ideologically, the overriding focus of gynocentrism is to prioritize females hierarchically, and as a result may be interpreted as misandry (the hatred and prejudice towards men). Feminist calls for equality or even equity are often, according to their research, a subterfuge for gynocentrism.5

Young and Nathanson define gynocentrism as a worldview based on the implicit or explicit belief that the world revolves around women, a cultural theme so well entrenched that it has become ‘de rigueur’ behind the scenes in law courts and government bureaucracies, which has resulted in systemic discrimination against men.6 They further state that gynocentrism is a form of essentialism – as distinct from scholarship or political activity on behalf of women- to the extent that it focuses on the innate virtues of women and the innate vices of men.7

Some authors make more subtle discriminations between types of gynocentrism, such as individual gynocentric acts and events (eg. Mother’s Day), and the broader concept of a gynocentric culture which refers to a larger collection of culture traits that have major significance in the way people’s lives were lived.8

History

Elements of gynocentric culture existing today are derived from practices originating in medieval society such as feudalism, chivalry and courtly love that continue to inform contemporary society in subtle ways.9 Peter Wright refers to such gynocentric patters as constituting a “sexual feudalism,” as attested by female writers such as Lucrezia Marinella who in 1600 AD recounted that women of even lower socioeconomic classes were treated as superiors by men who acted as servants or beasts born to serve them, or by Modesta Pozzo who in 1590 wrote, “don’t we see that men’s rightful task is to go out to work and wear themselves out trying to accumulate wealth, as though they were our factors or stewards, so that we can remain at home like the lady of the house directing their work and enjoying the profit of their labors? That, if you like, is the reason why men are naturally stronger and more robust than us — they need to be, so they can put up with the hard labor they must endure in our service.”10

Criticism

Some post-modern feminists such as Nancy Fraser question the assumption of a stable concept of ‘woman’ which underlies all gynocentrism.11 Scholars Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young make a comparable claim that gynocentrism is a form of essentialism as distinct from scholarship or political activity on behalf of women, to the extent that it focuses on the innate virtues of women. Nathanson and Young add that “This worldview is explicitly misandric too, because it not only ignores the needs and problems of men, but also attacks men.12

Christina Hoff Sommers has argued that gynocentrism is anti-intellectual and holds an antagonistic view of traditional scientific and creative disciplines, dismissing many important discoveries and artistic works as masculine. Sommers also writes that the presumption of objectivity ascribed to many gynocentrist theories has stifled feminist discourse and interpretation.13

Feminist writer Lynda Burns emphasises that gynocentrism calls for a celebration of women’s positive differences – of women’s history, myths, arts and music – as opposed to an assimilationist model privileging similarity to men.14 However observed in practice, the preeminence of women associated with gynocentric narratives is often seen as absolute: interpersonally, culturally, historically, politically, or in broader contexts socially (i.e. popular entertainment). As such, it can shade into what Rosalind Coward called “womanism…a sort of popularized version of feminism which acclaims everything women do and disparages men”.15

Sources:

[1] Oxford English Dictionary 2010
[2] Wiktionary Gynocentrism
[3] Gynocentrism and its cultural origins
[4] Nicholson, Linda J. ”The second wave: a reader in feminist theory” Routledge, 1997
[5] Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.116
[6] Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Legalizing Misandry, 2006 p.309
[7] Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Sanctifying Misandry, 2010 p.58
[8] Wright, Peter, ”Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses”, 2014 p.8
[9] Wright, Peter, ”Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses”, 2014 p.28
[10] Wright, Peter, ”Gynocentrism: From Feudalism to Modern Disney Princesses”, 2014 p.28
[11] Burns, p. 160-1
[12] Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson, Sanctifying Misandry, 2010 p.58
[13] Christina Hoff Sommers, ”Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women” (1994) p. 64-73
[14] Lynda Burns, ”Feminist Alliances” (2006) p. 153
[15] Rosalind Coward, ”Sacred Cows” (1999) p. 11

Gynocentrism: definition and early mentions

GYNOCENTRISM (derived from the Greek gyno, meaning “woman,” and kentron, meaning “center”)

short

1. [General definition] (Greek: γυνή, “female” – Latin: centrum, “centred”)

(a). n. Dominant or exclusive focus on women in theory or practice; or to the advocacy of this. Sometimes practiced to the detriment of non-females.
(b) Gynocentric (adj). Anything can be considered gynocentric when it is concerned exclusively with a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view.

2. [Sociology]

(a). A pervasive cultural complex geared to prioritizing women and their interests.
(b). A reference to individual gynocentric acts or events (eg. Mother’s Day).

3. [Biology]

(a). The biological tendency in humans to prioritize female reproductive capacity.

4. [Psychology]

(a). An exclusive focus on the psychological experiences, emotions or behavior of women.

____________________________

DICTIONARY DEFINITIONS:

ALLWORDS.COM
Gynocentrism: An ideological focus on females, and issues affecting them, possibly to the detriment of non-females. Contrast with androcentrism.

MIRRIAM-WEBSTER
Gynocentrism: Dominated by or emphasizing female interests or a female point of view.

DICTIONARY.COM
Gynocentrism: Focused on women; concerned with only women.

OXFORD DICTIONARY
Gynocentrism: centred on or concerned exclusively with women; taking a female (or specifically a feminist) point of view.

FARLEX DICTIONARY
Gynocentrism: Female-oriented, -centered, -exclusiveness. Sexism , discrimination on the basis of sex.

ENCYCLOPEDIA.COM
A radical feminist discourse that champions woman-centered beliefs, identities, and social organization.

WordOrigin

EARLIEST MENTIONS OF GYNOCENTRISM

Etymology dictionaries do not record the history and earliest usage of the term gynocentrism. My own search reveals that gynocentrism has been in use since at least as early as the 1800s. Here are a few early references to gynocentrism and gynocentric:

_______________________________________________________
The Open Court, Volume 11 (Open Court Publishing Company, 1897)
1897

The Independent, Volume 67, Issues 3175-3187 (Independent Publications, incorporated, 1909)
1909

From Dublin to Chicago: Some Notes on a Tour in America (George H. Doran Company, 1914)
1914
FULL-TEXT:
Women in USA 1914
________________________________________________________

Gynocentrism continued to be used throughout the nineteenth century and into the present with a stable meaning of female centered, especially to a culture so disposed wherein, “It is arranged with a view to the convenience and delight of women. Men come in where and how they can.” [1914 -see above]

The word is employed infrequently, perhaps due to the availability of simpler phrasings such as ‘woman centered’ or ‘female dominated.’ When employed it appears to be viewed by writers as a self-explanatory term not requiring further definition.
***


RELATED WORDS:

The following are a few early uses of the words Gynarchy, Gynocracy, Gynæcocracy, Gynocrat, and Gyneolatry which are employed variously to refer to female power or hegemony in political, social, family, or gender contexts. Note the mention from 1660 below in which gynarchy is used to refer to the gender context where the wife is not subject to, but rather superior to the husband. Similarly, gynocracy which is sometimes defined as “petticoat government” applies to both female dominance of the social order and to female dominance in gender relations; eg. individual men are referred to as “petticoat governed” (see petticoat government at bottom).

 

Gynarchy:

Gynarchy

 

Gynæcocracy:

Gyno in Oxford

The following mention of gynæcocracy is from the volume;
An Universal Etymological English Dictionary printed in 1737
Note that gynæcocracy is defined as “Petticoat Government”

Gynocracy peticoat gpvernment 1737

From the Dictionary of the English Language 1755

Gynococ

 

Gynocracy:

Gynocracy in ‘Letters to and from Jonathan Swift’ printed in 1741.
Note again the reference to Petticoat Government

Gynocracy

This mention from the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences from 1763.

Dictionary from 1763

This one from ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ of 1838.

1838

Newspaper article ‘A Dethroned Tyrant’ of 1902.

Gynocracy

 

Gyneolatry:

Book Chat, Volumes 3-4 (Brentano Bros., 1888)
1888 Book Chat

The Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller (H. Holt, 1901)
1901 Friedrich Schiller

The Athenæum, vol 2 (British Periodicals Limited, 1909)
1909 gyno

Zones of the spirit: a book of thoughts (G.P. Putnam, 1913)
1913 Zones of the spirit

The Collected Works, Volume 1 (Oxford University Press, H. Milford, 1924)
1924 Survey of Contemporary Music

Oxford Dictionary entry for Gyniolatry
Gyniolatry OUP

 

Petticoat Government:

Oxford Dictionary entry for Petticoat Government
Petticoat government oxford