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It was a Friday afternoon when I was browsing the web, and accidentally stumbled upon a dark corner of the internet that I'd only heard stories about. Whilst it was clear from the start that women weren't welcome amongst this online community that I'd discovered, I couldn't help but dive deeper into the frighteningly, intriguing, chauvinistic forums of the 'Manosphere.'
Manosphere: A network of blogs, forums, and websites where the subject of focus is men and masculinity. Is often referred to as a male counterpart/opposition to feminism or men's rights activism, however, some members believe whilst feminism is a movement, the manosphere is a 'way of life'. Language and discussions within the Manosphere are frequently vulgar and ugly; women are degraded and depicted to be subservient to men, yet simultaneously 'favoured by society', whilst men are 'forced to suffer in their shadows'. Men amongst this community believe that feminism holds a strong role in stripping away men's rights, and as long as the Feminist movement continues to grow and prevail, the Men Going Their Own Way community will always be present.
Which platforms do men within the Manosphere communicate on?
A man entering the 'manosphere' may initially come across The Red Pill forums first, which I'm only assuming since this was the easiest misogyny platform that I could find; this is most likely due to the fact that it is a 'subreddit' (a forum dedicated to a specific topic on the website, Reddit). However, when exploring deeply into the Red Pill forums, many other sites and platforms that are valued amongst the community are shared between the men. Unlike the well put together Men Going Their Own Way website, The Red Pill is visually as messy as it's content, and is open to any ignorant man, anywhere in the world who wants to input his unsolicited opinion on women.
Men Going Their Own Way (MGTOW) is a popular website within the Manosphere in which forums, videos and articles are shared, allowing members to discuss and upload their opinions. The website describes 'MGTOW' to be a statement of ownership 'where modern men preserve and protect their own sovereignty above all else'. In the earliest forms of MGTOW (dating back to 1853), the manifesto created by 'men's rights activists' claimed to hold the objective of 'instilling masculinity in men'. Whilst this slogan may be rejected by modern men in this community, it already reveals the ignorance amongst the men who reject feminism (which openly advocates for the equality of men also), and instead instills the idea that men have to be and behave a certain way.
One feature provided by the website that momentarily peaked my interest was their 'Save a male and stop a wedding' service, in which they gate-crash weddings mid-ceremony and provide the groom with 'evidence' of his wife to be's infidelity and lies (supposedly, 7 wedding crashes have occurred in the past 4 years). This is all provided for the price of a percentage of what the groom would lose if his wife were to divorce him and take off with his earnings, because of course this is the main outcome of marriage (I don't get it either). The people who are behind this service, present themselves to be empathetic saviours to their fellow men, who are in desperate need of rescue from the dangerous claws of women who they are wrongly submitting themselves to.
What kind of men are members of the manosphere?
It’s easy for us to dismiss the Manosphere as a small collection of men who hide behind aliases on the internet, to express views that they know are harmful in private. However, the reality is that these men are out there; they’re people we walk past on the street, they’re people we’ve probably seen or even met before. These men are teachers, fathers, relatives- and frankly the thought that the people around us may posses such harmful views on the world is scary.
I wasn’t aware of how common these views were umongst men until I was seventeen, and being told by a boy in English class (a boy who was quite popular at the time), that rape culture doesn’t exist. He hadn’t just told me so, but he really, truly and passionately believed his words. He brought up the commonly used comparison, of the smaller percentage of men who are sexually assaulted in prisons- yet refused to accept and understand that women faced constant fears of this everyday.
According to the men on the forums themselves, a Red Pill man typically begins his journey as a 'beta-male' trapped inside a relationship in which he is not happy, wasting away his life trying to please women. He may stumble across the Red Pill forums when looking through Reddit, and upon reading the forums, realises that he too doesn't need a girlfriend because instead, he could have numerous women to sleep with on a regular basis. These men aspire to one day be 'alpha-males' who 'barely have to lift a finger to impress women', and are thus drawn into the Manosphere and the lifestyle that Red Pill men apparently lead.
These men believe that by simply being male- having a 'masculine' physicality, a 'stronger frame' and the ability to offer women their protection, means they are valuable to women, as they possess the attributes that women lack and desire in a partner. Their use of homophobic slurs, insisting that marriage is 'only for gays', and their failure to acknowledge that not every man and woman seeks a companion of the opposite sex, suggests underlining homophobia or ignorance towards sexual orientation within the community.
Men amongst the Manosphere hold significantly obvious hatred and anger towards the female population entirely, which I can only interpret as a facade to mask their pain of having been rejected by women in the past. Whilst some have been open about being hurt in the past, particularly in the ‘What is the worst lie a woman has ever told you’ forums, in which the most popular answer was “I love you”—many insist that their underappreciation for women simply stems from the fact that society has disrupted the natural order of the world, in which men are entitled to treat women however they please.
The overwhelming amount of toxic masculinity present in the community, makes it that much easier to understand why so many men across the world feel the need to dominate and belittle women, as some form of revenge for the pain and insecurities a woman once caused them.
What kind of things are discussed amongst the Manosphere?
There's a growing consensus of views shared amongst the Manosphere forums, a main one being that women are objects that are easy to manipulate and exist purely to satisfy, be used by and disposed of by men. The whole community and collection of forums and websites act as a general guide for men on how to be a ladies man, and how to escape the controlling nature of women and instead control them, as being a man gives them the right to do so. Men turn to these forums as an escape from their day to day lives, looking for ways in which they can improve upon themselves and become 'alpha-males'- the type of man who is worshipped by women (without having to offer them anything in return,) simply because he deserves it.
Whilst many men seek to share their personal experiences within this community of like-minded individuals- meaning speaking bad about their experiences with women and sharing their divorce stories, others feel that they're in a position where they should educate and advise other men on how to turn around their lives, and live women-free (except for when they're ready to get laid of course, because then they can turn to the 'how to be good in bed' guides.)
All the discussion derives from a dark, ugly longing to have unlimited access to sex that these narcissistic, men believe they're entitled to—but, of course, they want the 'best bits' without having to dedicate time and effort into forming relationships. For men who are so vocal about their low opinions of the entire female population, it's amazing that they rely so much on female attention which determines their worth (the 'alpha-males' supposedly get attention from the best looking women and are in turn, looked up to and regarded with high respect.)
Despite the obvious anti-women message, a large majority of discussion that takes place amongst the community is advice for men on how to attract the best looking women. The best women, according to the 'Dating Market Value Test' for women found on 'Heartiste'- another popular site in which misogynists turn to, to determine a woman's worth, would be a woman who falls at a minimum of eight out of ten on a 1-10 scale. The following is a list of qualities a woman must have in order to be considered a minimum of eight out of ten, and therefore worth male attention;
- She must be subservient.
- She must be preferably between the ages of seventeen to twenty years old. Twenty to twenty-five is second best, anywhere near thirty is too old.
- She's certainly not fat, she has a flat stomach, long legs and has a natural D cup breast size.
- She has 0 body hair, besides what's on her head of course.
- She frequently wears sexy lingerie (particularly in her free time when she doesn't plan on seeing a male companion)
- She's a 'contortionist' in the bedroom.
- She's nurturing, caring and delivers aid to hurt people when needed.
- She isn't too smart and her IQ isn't too high, but she isn't stupid.
- When a guy approaches her in public, regardless of her attraction towards him, she smiles and conducts a conversation. Of course, there was a 'Dating Market Value Test' for men which presumably describes the characteristics that makes men an 'Alpha-male'...
- He's preferably between the ages of twenty-six to thirty-four years old.
- His height falls between six foot, to six foot four.
- He has over twenty friends.
- He bench presses at least 81% to 170% of his body weight.
- He makes a minimum of £70,000 out of college and under 40 years old, or over £200,000 (age irrelevant).
- He attends house parties at least once a month.
- He's been arrested at least once in his life (but not for child related crimes or public exposure).
- He exits conversations and group scenarios without excusing himself, because excusing yourself is uncool.
- He flirts with women who have previously communicated that they aren't interested, because they are, they're just 'testing you'.
Here's an extract of my personal favourites from a glossary, highlighting typical misogynistic lingo provided by the MGTOW site.
- Patriarchy. A myth created by women who think they're oppressed when they have the freedom to vote, which proves they have nothing to really complain about.
- White Knight (bad.) A man who gives a woman full access to his 'resources' without first securing proof that she's going to provide ongoing sex that he is entitled to.
- Slut. Any woman who gives a man complete sexual access without his prior commitment to her. Which shouldn't be mistaken for...
- Whore. A woman who withholds her affections with men until other conditions are met first.
What does the Manosphere think of feminism?
Besides the tired 'feminists are ugly, lesbians' narrative that these men love to promote, they don't hold back on sharing their views on other feminist topics. For example, the gender pay gap, or in their words 'the accomplishment gap,' which they believe is simply due to the fact that men are more likely to take idiotic risks- therefore correlating to their higher rewards; in other words, sheer ignorance whilst completely missing the point. They also highlight that whilst men are the ones taking these idiotic risks in order to make revolutionary discoveries, such as test flying some of the worlds first planes, it's women who have the 'luxury' of boarding planes whilst 'never having to take interest in the basic operating principles of a jet engine' (So...we'll just pretend that Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby and Amy Johnson never contributed to aviation history...right, okay.)
In terms of the effects that feminism has on men, it came as no surprise that a post titled 'Vagina Envy' on The Red Pill forums critiqued modern women who are aspiring to become educated and build successful careers, or in simpler words: 'aspiring to be men.' Simultaneously, modern men who 'exude vagina envy' look forward to the day where they can settle down and have a life with a woman; essentially, they believe women use feminism as a way to behave like men, and men use it to wrongly behave like women. Whilst it is alarming, and of course offensive, that this community of men advocate for stripping away women's rights, it's far more distressing to hear that as men themselves, they're all for the stripping of their own rights.
How does the Manosphere handle women who aren't interested in them?
Considering that the standards for women are set extremely high (with women needing to be near perfection for them to be considered worthy enough to be used by men, whilst men's looks are hardly as important as the thickness of their wallets and amount of friends in their circle), it amazes me how there's a shared belief that women have zero reason to reject these men.
A post amongst the forums titled ''Rejection' is not rejection' reveals the harmful nature of their words, where they describe women to 'intentionally act like bitches' by ignoring men and telling them to go away- when in actual fact she really wants to sleep with him. Misogynists encourage the idea that all men have to do is push and convince a woman to be with them, because 'women would pretty much [sleep with] any guy who's around at the end of the night.'
Men are urged to keep conversations going, regardless of if women are acting aloof and giving one word responses (which usually signifies that she is uninterested), because they believe this is all part of a game that women play in order to 'test' a man's masculinity- and once they see that a man isn't going away, they'll start to build an attraction for him. Men also highlight that when a woman turns away, excuses herself to leave or has to 'got to the bathroom,' it's only because she's nervous by the man's confidence and in turn, they should 'never leave because a girl tells them to.'
Whilst I never quite understood why it was that some men persisted even though a woman had clearly told them she wasn't interested in their advances, this opened my eyes to the fragile nature of masculinity, and how it would simply damage a misogynists pride to accept that some women just aren't interested in them. This in particular was the most alarming thing I read amongst the forums as it not only encourages harassment, but of course is how many assault and sexual violence stories start. In the eyes of these men, women are nervous when in the presence of a confident male, however, we're aware of the harsh realities that they're more likely to be uncomfortable, and scared for their safety.
What have I learned from joining misogyny forums?
Men across the world who believe in misogynistic principles, and reinforce patriarchal ideas are not only aware that their opinions are wrong, but that they're harmful and can only be discussed in the safety of internet forums with likeminded individuals where they won't face backlash. The Red Pill forums, MGTOW, Heartiste and many other Manosphere platforms provide a 'safe space' for these men in which they can encourage each other and not feel alone in their beliefs. These men seek to reinforce patriarchy in ways that has taken Feminists over a hundred years to dismantle, and in no way, shape or form are looking out for women's best interests. This is highly frightening as these men aren't hiding in the shadows of their one-bedroom apartments, but are actually going out into the world to implement and practise these ideas. They're disguised within our communities. They have mothers, sisters, female friends and perhaps even (although I pray they don't have) daughters.
I interpret these men to be outcasts who have spent their lives watching sexually promiscuous men roam free, whilst they instead have experienced failed relationships and marriages and have longed for something different. They've come to terms with the fact that they aren't as sexually desirable to women as they would like to be. This has made them insecure and has led to them projecting an overly confident, narcissistic version of themselves to mask the doubtful, hurt and fragile individual hiding inside. They need the title of being an 'alpha-male' to validate their worth in a world where they've constantly felt as if they aren't as good as the next man. They're angry, entitled and believe that as men, they deserve to have women serving to their needs.
These men compare themselves to the likes of; Nikola Tesla, Da Vinci, Leonardo Di Caprio, Sir Isaac Newton, Ludwig van Beethoven, Vincent van Gough, Galileo and even Jesus Christ, who they believe are fellow 'Men Going Their Own Way' members, and serve as idols and examples of men who have achieved great success without the constraints of a heterosexual relationship.
Men within this community aren't happy with society and the way that only women benefit from relationships and intimacy, whilst men are destroyed, forced to only be intimate when their partner wants to and constantly has to sacrifice time, effort and money for 'ungrateful women'. These men don't want girlfriends or wives, they want causal sex partners who wait at their beck and call, but somehow think belittling, disrespecting and humiliating women is the way to gain this. They believe feminism takes away a man's purpose, making them feel unwanted and disposable...and now they want revenge.
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Men Going Their Own Way. (n.d.). The History of MGTOW. Last accessed 30th Oct 2018.
No Author. (2016). For all you newbies, this is for you. Last accessed 19th Oct 2018.
No Author. (2018). Vagina Envy. Last accessed 19th Oct 2018