There have been recent rumblings between Paul Elam, AVFM, John The Other, and many in the online MGTOW community. Again. The whole thing seems to have started about a year ago when I apparently opened a can of worms by speaking my mind about some MGTOWs and MRAs, and basically said that the angry, woman-hating ones should be left on the sidelines because they had nothing of value to add to the MRM. Shortly after that, Paul Elam attempted to cash in on the MGTOW "community" by dictating what his version of MGTOW was, and attempted to brand AVFM as some sort of MGTOW friendly place to boost his readership and profit.
He has now released a new video saying any man can be MGTOW regardless of one's relationship status. The online MGTOW community of course reacted in a less than positive manner (surprise surprise) in response to Paul's proclaimed expertise and authority on the matter, as was to be expected.
John the Other has also added his two cents into the mix with his own limiting definition of MGTOW, with the main emphasis being that if you are not "XYZ" (according to JtO), then you are not a MGTOW. He repeatedly used the words "self-actualization" alongside his definition of MGTOW which made his statements more than a little contradictory since you cannot define an individual's self-actualization by placing constraints on their development.
As I said, over a year ago I myself had expressed issues with some MGTOWs and MRAs, and basically said that the angry, woman-hating ones should be left on the sidelines because they had nothing of value to add to the MRM. Ironically (and amusingly), Paul Elam is now saying the same thing in response to criticism of his all encompassing new position. It is laughable that he has now chosen to adopt the same stance I took over a year ago, which he characterized as me "shaming" men. It seems he was either lying through his teeth a year ago, or that he now sees it as acceptable to "shame" men
After taking a long break from the constant online dramas, I have had time to reflect on many things, and I have come to the conclusion that it ultimately doesn't matter what MGTOW is, and that my previous statements of over a year ago regarding "angry" MGTOWS (or MRAs) were somewhat premature, given the nature of the internet and trolling - I should have waited for it to be "fashionable", I suppose.
Every man should be given a voice to express himself, regardless of what it is he is expressing - with the obvious exceptions regarding violence, etc., and irrespective of it either being a temporary or permanent part of who they are. Who am I, or Paul Elam, to say they shouldn't? I now get the anger, and I get the frustration many men feel, and I do not want to deny anyone the right to vent. To sideline men because of their need to vent is treading on the edge of a very slippery slope indeed.
Also, If people choose to adopt the MGTOW label and are happy and fulfilled, whether through being celibate or single, or by being in some form of male/female relationship, or something else, then that, in my opinion, is great too. You can call yourself a MGTOW while wearing a clown suit and riding a tiny tricycle for all I care. If it makes you happy, and gives your life meaning, and as long as it's legal, do it. Life is too short for anyone to tell you what should or shouldn't make you happy, or how to enjoy your life.
Now, I know that statement may not sit well with many MGTOWs who define MGTOW to mean that one cannot be in any relationship with a woman - the most contentious of those "relationships" being that of marriage, but I've been told by some MGTOWs that there is no one definition, no one central philosophy. It is an individual choice that a man makes for his own well-being and ultimate happiness in life. If that is true, then no one can dictate or define what MGTOW is, except for the individual who defines himself as such, and solely based on his own terms. If so, one cannot then claim that MGTOW has certain restrictions or caveats to it.
If you try to define and package something that is so personal and individual, such as MGTOW is supposed to be, you begin to venture into murky waters where others get to define you and remove your individual freedom to do, say, and be what you feel or know is right for you. It turns into a "you are either with us or against us" type of argument, where no one is truly afforded any personal freedom because the definition of it has become pre-packaged and defined with it's own special set of rules and boundaries - it becomes a type of religion.
Now, I am no expert on MGTOW, nor do I wish to define it for anyone. This article only expresses my thoughts and observations regarding MGTOW. What I do know is that the acronym MGTOW and the words these letters represent mean something (even if that meaning is subjective). Trying to define the words by stuffing them into a universal package with ridged definitions or rules is just as dogmatic and fundamentalist as any true believer of a religion or cult.
Now if what you want is to define it so it can then have limitations and a set definition with principles or values, like "MGTOWs cannot be married", then you need to re-brand it to represent the core of what MGTOW is then supposed to be. Moreover, you cannot use words like self-actualization, self-awareness, or any other personally defined or constraining language to explain or define it. You would need to accept that what you want is indeed a form of religion where principles, values, rules, and definitions are adhered to universally, and that the individuals within it are indeed constrained by those things. There is no room here for having your cake and eating it too.
I understand the MGTOWs who say that anyone who is married, or who approves of marriage, cannot be a MGTOW. They want the MGTOW label to mean something universal - something that defines a group as a whole, not individually. To say you're "going your own way" is just not consistently possible for those MGTOWs because of the group dynamic they desire and the inherent structured limitations within it that such a group per force brings with it.
Those who currently use the label of MGTOW, and who want it to mean more than an individual choice - a free choice for men to make all on their own, with definitions and rules put in place to define who is or isn't a MGTOW, should probably re-brand themselves. As it currently stands, MGTOW, by virtue of it's own label, is not something that can be dictated, defined, or limited by anyone but by each individual. As Elam sort of says, it is a broad and all encompassing label that basically can be applied to any man, anywhere, who has found happiness and contentment with the choices he has made. If you want any more than that, you should find another way to label yourself and the group you want to belong to.
And believe me, to admit that Elam and I are sort of on the same page about this one issue makes me cringe quite a bit, but I have to admit that even people who I vehemently disagree with 99% of the time still have the capacity to say something that makes actual sense once in a while.
But in the end does it really matter? If you insist MGTOW is a personal choice and an individually determined way of life, then who cares what it means or how anyone else interprets it, right? It should not matter one bit what anyone else says, be it Paul Elam, JtO, myself, or anyone else. It should be a non-issue with no discussion or debate ever required or needed. In fact, the entirety of MGTOW would fade quietly into the background as each man goes his own way, and respects the right of every other man to do the same - which includes not dictating how they should live their lives. It would just become the new normal.
If you are one who feels so strongly that MGTOW needs to be qualified in some way, then you also have to admit that, in it's current state, MGTOW is no longer about a man going his own way - it is about men who have elected to join a group with limitations and boundaries placed upon it by the members of that group, where complete freedom of choice for the individual is no longer possible, even if one wishes it were not so.