In this video Paul Elam looks at the tradition of arranged marriage, while contrasting it to the false sense of superiority Westerners ascribe to relationships based on ‘romantic love.’
In this video Paul Elam looks at the tradition of arranged marriage, while contrasting it to the false sense of superiority Westerners ascribe to relationships based on ‘romantic love.’
Once again I find myself walking into the murky waters of marriage, this time not in real life but in print, praise angels. As mentioned in a recent article by August Løvenskiolds, we had a conversation about marriage which unearthed some alternative ways of looking at it. On several points our understanding aligned, and on others they diverged. So rather than rely on August’s article alone, I’d like to lay down my own thoughts.
The conversation was partly stimulated by a comment I made elsewhere, which we decided to unpack – and I hope to unpack it further in this article:
Aside from those differences over origins, both sides agree that gynocentric marriage – its culture, customs, laws, taboos – must be utterly abandoned, not reformed. Notice here I refer to gynocentric marriage and not to a marriage of the minds, hearts, dreams, goals, projects, and bodies that might come with non-gynocentric relationships.
The contention of this paragraph is, hypothetically speaking, that a marriage can be based on different priorities than those of gynocentrism. But before getting into it further lets start with the widest definition of marriage from the Oxford Dictionary, which is:
“any intimate association or union”
This definition covers pretty much all unions in which two or more things are brought together – whether in physics, biology, linguistics, or culture. In this case we are referring to human unions, and while some of the accompanying customs and behavior go well beyond this basic definition, they each conform to this minimum requirement in order to satisfy for the label marriage.
There are two main orders of human union to consider: one involving culturally prescribed marriage customs, vs. the unadorned biological demand for intimate association.
During our discussion, and in his recent article, August proposed several combinations of words (portmanteaus) to describe different kinds of marriage. For the sake of simplicity I’m only going to tackle the two primary terms which are Gynomarriage, and Biomarriage.
Gynomarriage, (portmanteau of gynocentrism + marriage) describes the typical union between a men and women today. It is based on the culturally prescribed roles of female superiority and male-chivalry, a combination more generally referred to as romantic love. This is our modern understanding of marriage.
During the time this marriage has existed, laws have evolved to buttress and enforce it, laws tilted almost exclusively to favor wives both during the marriage, and especially in the case of its downfall.
As a social construct gynomarriage has not been around forever, with other periods in history generating different forms of marriage as was outlined by August (eg. Andromarriage – male centered). During the last 800 years however, and ongoing today, gynomarriage has ruled; so that’s what we’ll concern ourselves with in this article. To better understand it, let’s contrast it with another, far more important ‘marriage’ holding relevance today.
Biomarriage (biology + marriage) is a very different idea involving not cultural constructs, but biological necessities built into our DNA. The ‘marriage’ urged by biology is based on three factors: sexual pleasure; intimate bonding/attachment; and reproduction with the concomitant parenting instinct (hence why we are triggered by neoteny).
Each of these imperatives has operated since our remote hominid past and will continue to compel our behavior for long after gynocentric culture ceases to exist. Like gynomarriage, biomarriage takes place between two adults, but in this case has done so for literally millions of years, not hundreds.
I’d like to spend the remainder of this piece talking about biomarriage because gynomarriage belongs, as any MGTOW or MHRA worth the name will tell you, in the scrap bin of history. People can easily get by without it, but the same cannot be said about biomarriage because the compulsion for human bonding, affection, and sex are far too powerful to ignore.
Some MGTOW will refuse to consider a biomarriage with a woman, a serious but otherwise rational choice to make in an environment that exposes men to being savaged by the in-creep of gynocentric exploitation.
If a man refuses the possibility of a non-gynocentric relationship with a woman, what is required are, at bare minimum, artificial avenues for expressing his biological compulsions. He can satisfy sexual needs with porn, imagination, prostitutes, fleshlights or fuck-buddies. He can satisfy his attachment needs at least partially with close friends, family, or perhaps with a pet. Likewise he can satisfy parental instincts via fathering the young among us — teaching school children, working in a daycare center, caring for the disabled, mentoring a fatherless child, coaching little league, looking after orphaned animals, or buying a puppy.
Are these replacement measures enough? Yes, they meet the minimum standard for maintaining physical and emotional stability. But it requires a strong understanding of one’s biological needs, and awareness, and a willingness to work hard on meeting those needs. Rather than satisfying our biological needs via “an intimate association or union” we can use a bricolage of band-aids to ensure our biological and psychological health.
So while you may legitimately think you can reject, nay should reject gynomarriage, do not rush to reject the elements we have detailed under the heading biomarriage unless you want to risk your health, and life.
We need to realize that while history has been full of amazing men who never married and eschewed relationships with women, and no man should be shamed for taking this course, it also pays to remind men that choosing isolation from the opposite sex has a cost, and should not be viewed as something trivial to do to yourself. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, suicide, and more must be protected against. Most people can probably do it, but they’ll need more than video games and YouTube in the long run to pull it off. It’s going to involve things like meditation, consciously working to both acknowledge your urges, and to cater to them in creative ways.
We can employ alternatives to satisfy our biological urges, but we might also revisit the question of whether there’s a way to conduct a biomarriage with a real flesh-n-blood human being minus the gynocentrism – think of it as a biofriendship based on the more essential facts of human being. I’d like to think that’s possible, if not now then sometime in the future.
I make omelets my own way. By that, I mean exactly like you’d see in any cookbook. I whisk some eggs, melt some butter in a frying pan, pour the eggs in along with some cheese and maybe some other things for filling. What, you might ask, makes it my own way? The fact that it’s me doing it.
I also go my own way to work in the morning. The highway and during rush hour with thousands of other people. Each of them also going their own way. Why do I say I’m going my own way to work? Simply because it’s me doing it. Now you’d think that’s hardly my own way. If I were to go my own way to work, you’d think it would mean in some way fundamentally different – and you’d be right.
Like men going their own way.
If you were to imagine going out on your own, on your own way, you might expect that would mean something like MGTOW, that you are free from outside control, not dependent on another’s authority.
You might envision someone shrugging off society’s yolk, refusing to self-sacrifice and being one’s own boss. That’s what MGTOW is, even though a man certainly has the right to place himself in danger, to sacrifice himself for another, and to support others, he chooses not to. He goes his own way, in his life, in his choices, he remains sovereign.
Marriage is dangerous for men, it’s sacrificial and compels the man into support for his wife or ex-wife. In marriage, a man necessarily compromises, gives up sole control over his life and his property. As with the earliest known MGTOW groups “The Anti-Bardell Bachelor Band” it was acknowledged that MGTOW and marriage could not co-exist.
Now what about this concept of MGTOW simply meaning male self-determination? This is such a gross over-simplification as to completely change the concept. MGTOW can be better thought of as a second or third order male self-determination. That is, a man who is determined to maintain and preserve his self-determination and determined to refuse anything that might infringe on his future self-determinism.
For example, a man has the right, and could have his own self-determination to join the military, but joining the military greatly reduces a man’s self-determination. A soldier cannot go his own way. After he is no longer under military obligation, he could be MGTOW, yet while active, he no longer has his autonomy, independence and sovereignty. In the same way, a married man cannot be MGTOW.
Hopefully, I’ve already addressed possible rebuttals. Yes, men ought to have the maximum amount of choices, autonomy, freedom and options. Yet, the movement is not simply a group of men making choices from options they have. That understanding would not be recognizable to hardly anyone professing to be MGTOW. I won’t be appealing to the dictionary to say that MGTOW are by definition unmarried, but rather re-iterate that the philosophy and reason for existing preclude marriage, since MGTOW can be better understood as a second or third order self-determinism.
MGTOW is not simply about men making their own choices. It’s about making the choices that ensure further choices and maximum freedoms.
No man is under obligation to be MGTOW, but if you choose to sell yourself into government slavery (whether martial or marital), you are not MGTOW. If a man is married, he can be a great guy, he could live a great life, he could wake up sympathetic and with a desire to be MGTOW but he is not MGTOW. That’s how the movement understands itself, that’s what its philosophy prescribes and that’s simply what MGTOW is.
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 DOSBO.
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 a MGHOW 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
Post-gynocentrism relationships between men and women are possible and desirable for many people. The following articles explore how relationships can be revisioned as intimate friendships. – PW
The following articles describe the increasing post-gynocentrism phenomenon of marriage shunning by males, and the rationale behind it. – PW
Modern marriage evolved from a historical ritual designed to indenture slaves to masters, though most people have forgotten its history. However, many of the behaviors and rituals central to this history can still be discerned in modern marriage.
It’s thought that the practice of exchanging wedding rings extends far back into ancient history, with evidence of the ritual being found in Ancient Egypt, Rome, and within several religious cultures. However our modern-day practice of giving wedding rings has a very different origin and meaning, one which may make you, well, cringe a little. As suggested on the Society of Phineas blog, the ring functions as a feudalistic contract between the man and his wife:
“The ring functions as a proof of ability in the supplicant vassal’s pledge to the wife. This is true given the traditional expectation of the amount of resources to be expended in purchasing the ring along with providing for the wedding day. In this gynocentric environment, it’s total sacrilege to not present a woman with her One Ring or to present one that is substandard to her or her friends. She uses her One Ring as a social proof of her status around Team Woman (it’s a competition much like Valentine’s Day gifts), as she will not hesitate to show it off as much as possible when she first gets it if it meets with her approval.” 1
This contention finds support from medievalist scholars who show the origin of our ring-exchanging ritual in early literary sources and artistic depictions of the Middle Ages. H.J. Chaytor, for instance wrote “The lover was formally installed as such by the lady, took an oath of fidelity to her and received a kiss to seal it, a ring or some other personal possession.” Professor Joan Kelly gives us a summary of the practice:
“A kiss (like the kiss of homage) sealed the pledge, rings were exchanged, and the knight entered the love service of his lady. Representing love along the lines of vassalage had several liberating implications for aristocratic women. Most fundamental, ideas of homage and mutuality entered the notion of heterosexual relations along with the idea of freedom. As symbolized on shields and other illustrations that place the knight in the ritual attitude of commendation, kneeling before his lady with his hands folded between hers, homage signified male service, not domination or subordination of the lady, and it signified fidelity, constancy in that service.” 2
Like the description given by Kelly, men continue to go down on one knee and are quick to demonstrate humility by claiming the wedding is “her day”, betraying the origin and conception of marriage as more feudalistic in its structure than Christian. With gestures like these it’s obvious that modern marriage is based on the earlier feudalistic ritual known as a ‘commendation ceremony‘ whereby a bond between a lord and his fighting man (ie. his vassal) was created. The commendation ceremony is composed of two elements, one to perform the act of homage and the other an oath of fealty. For the Oath of fealty ceremony the vassal would place his hands on a Bible (as is still practiced) and swear he would never injure his overlord in any way and would remain faithful. Once the vassal had sworn the oath of fealty, the lord and vassal had a feudal relationship.
Because this archaic contract remains current in contemporary marriages, we might also question our typical concepts of obeyance between a husband and wife. In older Christian ceremonies the women sometimes vowed to love, cherish and “obey” her husband. However, because framed within a feudalistic-style relationship the woman’s obeyance was strongly offset and perhaps overturned in practice because she tended to be the dominant power-holder in relation to the man. In the latter case the wife as more powerful figure is merely obeying -if she is obeying anything at all- her responsibilities as a kindly overlord to her husband. Notice here that we have switched from the notion of a benevolent patriarchy to a kindly gynocentrism which feminists like to promote as loving, nurturing, peace-loving and egalitarian.
The Medieval model of service to a feudal lord was transferred wholesale into relationships as “love service” of men toward ladies. Such service is the hallmark of romantic love and is characterized by men’s deference to a woman who is viewed as a moral superior. During this period women were often referred to by men as domnia (dominant rank), midons (my lord), and later dame (honored authority) which terms each draw their root from the Latin dominus meaning “master,” or “owner,” particularly of slaves. Medieval language expert Peter Makin confirms that the men who used these terms must have been aware of what they were saying:
“William IX calls his lady midons, which I have translated as ‘my Lord’… These men knew their Latin and must have been aware of its origins and peculiarity; in fact it was clearly their collective emotions and expectations that drew what amounts to a metaphor from the area of lordship, just as it is the collective metaphor-making process that establishes ‘baby’ as a term for a girlfriend and that creates and transforms language constantly. In the same way, knowing that Dominus was the standard term for God, and that don, ‘lord’, was also used for God, they must also have felt some connection with religious adoration. 3
Let’s recapitulate the practices associated with the ring-giving ritual of marriage:
1. Genuflection: man goes down on one knee to propose
2. Commendation token: rings exchanged
3. Vassal’s kiss: reenacted during the ceremony
4. Homage and fealty: implicit in marriage vows
5. Subservience: “It’s her special day”
6. Service: man prepares to work for wife for his whole life
7. Disposability: “I would die for you”.
Is it any wonder that women are so eager to get married and that men are rejecting marriage in droves? The feudalistic model reveals exactly what men are buying into via that little golden band – a life commitment to a woman culturally primed to act as our overlord. As more men become aware of this travesty they will choose to reject it, and for those still considering marriage I encourage you to read this article a second time; your ability to keep or lose your freedom depends upon it.
 Website: Society of Phineas
 Joan Kelly, Women, History, and Theory, University of Chicago Press, 1986
 Peter Makin, Provence and Pound, University of California Press, 1978