Ho boy, isn’t this a contentious topic. Needless to say, this Take is purely for opinions and discussion. This is not a forum to slam or shame people. Be polite, act like you were raised with manners, and we can make this a positive discussion. Make it personal and mean, and I’ll personally see to your ejection from the conversation.
So, before we get started here, I just want to set some baseline definitions here. MGTOW, or Men Go Their Own Way, is a movement involving men reacting to feminism by encouraging other men to part ways with standard relationships with women: eschewing marriage and the prospect of children, and altogether severing ties with non-familial women. The more extreme end of MGTOW calls for a celibate man, one who minimizes all contact with women, while the more moderate end pushes for a de-emphasis on relationships and manhood, defining men by things other than the women in their lives.
Feminism, on the other hand, is an ideology born of people, particularly women, who fight to relinquish themselves from the oppression of a “patriarchy”. This patriarchy is not just a group of people, but a set of societal norms and rules that oppress people’s rights to function as they see fit within the society, especially in reference to their gender. On one end of feminism, we see an exclusively female viewpoint that lifts aloft womanhood as the ideal, the exclusive beneficiary of feminism, while others see it in a broader spectrum as part and parcel to the civil rights movement that sees people of all marginalized backgrounds making progress toward equality.
While it would be interesting to compare and contrast the differences within the two extremes of both, I believe that this discussion has happened ad nauseum. Rather, I would look to the two more moderate ends of the philosophical spectrums. Particularly, what they share in common.
While, by its own admission, MGTOW stands opposed to feminism, MGTOW shares some distinctive features with feminism. For one, it calls men of all backgrounds together. It does not believe people should be divided by race or sexuality. It calls for a de-emphasis on the value of relationships: in MGTOW, a man should not be defined by the relationships he has with women. They even go so far as to promote the reproductive rights of the individual as they want, not as society expects. Change “man”, into “woman” and the narrative fits mainstream feminism.
To me, this is a poignant acknowledgement: both want to see the individual raised up in favor of social expectations, and, because of this, both could benefit from each other but for one thing: the us vs. them mentality. I honestly believe that if both came to define their movements for all people, we would see much progress in the world, one in which expectations focused on the content of the person’s character as opposed to the gender they present as.