Saturday, June 27, 2009

MGTOWs, MRAs, and PUAs

Over the past few years, I did extensive web searches for what women find attractive in men, and vice versa. Being male, the former naturally was my focus. During those years, I discovered groups of single men highly disenchanted with relationships, often extending to women in general. Hence, they outright refuse to enter into any kind of serious relationship worthy of the name. Other men remain disenchanted with women, yet they seek to make the most of them (if you know what I mean) and simply learn how to attract them - usually without any intention of committing to them. The three such groups most frequently seen in frequently seen in cyberspace are:

*MRAs (Men’s Rights Associations). As the name implies, they’re concerned that the struggle for gender equality is now tilted too much in women's favor, especially in divorce cases – particularly regarding asset division, alimony, and child custody and support issues.

* MGTOWs (Men Going Their Own Way) These are the ones truly disenchanted with marriage, and even with relationships in general. For whatever reason, they have completely abandoned the dating scene, mainly because they consider the great majority of Western women tend to be high-maintenance, gold-digging, power-tripping, henpecking, and a whole plethora of other unflattering traits – if not as whoring bad-boy chasers (if under 30) or used up chasers (if over 30).

* PUAs (Pick Up Artists – a.k.a., the “Seduction Community”) This is a loose community of men who learn “game” and teach “AFCs” (“Average Frustrated Chumps”) that “game”, i.e., techniques and general social skills needed to attract women, mainly for sex purposes.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about all the above groups. On one hand, they all provide much valuable, substantive insight about female behavior, gender dynamics, and the potential dangers in the relationship mine field. Confused young men and adolescents especially can clear up a lot of issue about women and relationships when reading their blogs, although they do have to be careful about not just what to believe, but how to interpret the information they do believe in its proper context. On the other hand, I can't self-identify with any of these groups because I find many (not all, but many) such men either (a) manipulative, (b) bitter and resentful, (c) hypocritical, or (d) have misogynist tendencies, if not actual misogynists themselves; or some combination of the four. I'll spell out these points in more detail later. For now, I want to focus on shortcomings of the Pick-Up Artist "philosophy".

Pick-Up Artists (PUAs)

These guys in particular tend to abrase on my scruples, namely by advocating ideas and tactics that I find highly dishonest or exploitative (although the extent or degree to which this viewpoint is true depends on the particular woman they try to catch). Even if you agree (as I do) that many PUA ideas and techniques have considerable evidence backing them up, the approach definitely has its limits. Novaseeker perfectly explains those limits in this excellent post, which can be summarized as follows:

PUA advice does contain a lot of valuable information about how to succeeding with the women, but there’s a BIG catch in it!!. That catch: Their advice and world view – in it’s purest form – applies ONLY to women in certain contexts and situations: usually to party girls (or girls who frequently attend any other activity closely associated with alcohol and exciting imagery).  PUA advice and techniques, in their purest form, will NOT work with women truly worth risking your heart for.

To this I add that even if using PUA techniques does improve your dating success, odds are at least  fairly good that this is a case of quantity over quality. You may getting more women in bed more often using PUA techniques but the types you are bedding are not very likely to be of high quality.  By high quality, I mean women that are none of the following: promiscuous, drama queens, nags, snobs, gossipers, nitpicky finger-pointy types, and women who are frankly image bigots who put down and demean anything or anyone that is even moderately imperfect in some way (usually a trivial way, although they are good at making it look like an important matter on the surface). Even worse, they are often just plain mean-spirited.

That doesn't mean you have no choice but to go for women who are absolutely unattractive but it does mean you should start considering women who are "just arousing enough" to turn you on.  Besides, women with blowtorch like hotness (no pun intended) are likely to loose their personal appeal faster anyway. After all, primary emphasis on sex appeal or personality perkiness or charm isn't a basis for any kind of sustainable relationship - so you're probably better off with a "slow burn" type of attraction to begin with.

As if the above isn't bad enough, "Game" is liable to shape your mind in ways that SERIOUSLY hurt your chances of finding and keeping a high-quality girl-friend and especially a high quality wife. Don't even dream of finding a woman who will be a high quality mother - one who will shape your children's personality, values, attitudes, and behaviors in positive ways; ways that will make you proud to call those children your own (not in a show-off-to-the-community sense, but in the sense of your children's personal integrity, honesty, civility, etc). Game blogger RooshV even admits that "game" often leads guys to devalue women, sex, and relationships in his post The Dark Side of Game.  Therefore, before you place getting laid high on your to-do list, you should think very hard, very throughly, and from every angle before you decide to get involved in the PUA community.

To sum it up, PUA techniques in its purest/most complete form are probably all well and good if you’re satisfied with mere “booty calls” and she makes it obvious she’s only likewise interested in such a "relationship". If you’re looking for more, then I highly recommend Jennifer Jones’ blog How To Tell if a Guy is a Jerk , for her advice also applies to men looking for decent women despite the fact that her focus is informing women about what to look for in a man. Trust me when I say you’ll definitely gain more worthwhile advice about truly meaningful relationships from her.

STILL, I agree that some PUA techniques can be useful to a degree when showing interest in a worthwhile woman, especially the techniques not actually connected with sex and game playing. Even within this condition, you still have to have to:

(a) know which parts of PUA are wrong,
(b) WHY those sleazy and unethical parts of PUA are wrong,
(c) have a strong sense of kindness and ethics are in the first place.

Even to accomplish all this, you have to be both a good ethical person AND know how to argue your moral and ethical points in a very detailed and thorough manner.  Trust me, you WILL need sharp analytical and critical thinking skills IF you do find some degree of truth in the PUA philosophy; due to it’s "amoral, Darwin-as-ethic" basis (to use Novaseeker's words).

The PUA's Achilles Heel - You Don't Truly NEED a Woman

Despite all the pop culture propaganda saying you aren't a "real man" if you can't attract women a lot of other guys want to have, nothing is further from the truth.  That includes PUA propaganda as well (much of it fueled by the desire to make money by selling books, seminar openings, and other PUA paraphenalia).  Even if what they say does work, their whole philosophy has a blatant flaw at the fundamental level:  assuming that sex and/or romance is the end-all, be-all of life. The problem with that claim is that it’s simply not true!! Many more men than society thinks have found ways to be happy without being in a romantic relationship (whether straight or gay). Even the PUAs implicitly admit this in one of their core ideas: that the more you show you need or want a woman, the more you’ll turn her off. I take this PUA assumption one step further: ”If you don't need a woman to be happy, then why should you want a woman at all? Relationships are a lot of hard work, after all. Don't even ask about the drama and baggage you're fairly likely to deal with!

Therefore, your best approach is to learn how to be happy without any women in your life, at least not romantically, or even sexually. I found that a good substitute for women is to find hobbies and interests, then pursuing those interests passionately. Not only are you doing something you truly love – possibly even more than women (believe it or not), it also is a great mind-clearer. This works wonders for your confidence, cleans out all the stress and garbage society throws at you, and therefore improves your quality of though. Plus, you’ll have some sense of accomplishment that’ll be a great conversation topic – providing you’re around people who are truly interested in your pursuits. If nobody in your social circle is interested AND you are geographically remote from social clubs that focus on your interest, an internet message board is a great way to discuss what you truly enjoy, a great way to take your mind off women.

But if you can't bring yourself to be happy without a woman, then THE best thing you can be is to be yourself and learn to NOT care about pursuing a woman, or even impressing her at all. Contradiction, right? Not when you consider that neediness is a big turnoff for either gender. Despite what the poets, songwriters, and romantic TV shows and movies say - NEEDING someone is a HUGE turn-off. Even worse, neediness is considered creepy, or at least lacking in self-respect. This is why you should NEVER make a woman a priority in your life unless it's absoultely, undeniably clear that she really appreciates you for who you are (Hint: if you feel you have to work to gain her attention, then chances are she is NOT the one for you. She may have a fine body, a fine face, a great personality, and lots of strong superficial appeal, perhaps even intelligence…but that’s it. Once you get past the surface appeal, strong as it is, you find out they’re at best not your type, and at worst not worth the salt of your tears).

Therefore, even if you do have a emptiness you need to fill, it's best to fill it up with your own interests, hobbies, and activities. It may not be completely fulfilling (or even it can be, you'd be surprised!!), but at least you get to keep your self-respect, which is FAR more valuable than any loving relationship, believe me.

Shortcomings of Many PUAs, MRAs, and MGTOWs

As stated earlier, the tone of many of these groups also turn me off. Again, not all self-identifying members of such groups are that way, but A LOT of them are at least one of the following:

a) Manipulative (in the case of many PUAs). Nowhere is this more true than trying lay women at the expense of their feelings. I consider many (if not most) PUAs no better than women who use a men for his wallet or mere “trophy man” material to show off to their friends.

b) Bitter and Resentful (many MGTOWs and MRAs). I hasten to say again, NOT ALL MGTOWs and MRAs are like this, but I can certainly understand how many men became bitter about women and/or marriage. After all, a depressingly high percentage of women do treat men shabbily – whether in a relationship, in marriage, or in court.

c) Hypocritical (Especially many MGTOWs). If such men still desire a women, FAR too many insist on having ones who are an 8 or higher, yet they still complain about women wanting men who are either rich or an “exciting bad boy” type. To me, if a man complains about women wanting men only in the “top 10%” of their biggest turn-on (and I agree with this), them the man should start developing a taste for women who rank considerably less than a 5 on the 10-pt attractiveness scale. Justice dictates the same standards should apply consistently in all relevant situations!!

As for the MRAs? There’s nothing wrong itself on desiring a traditional family of the pre-1960s type, providing the woman finds great emotional fulfillment in being an eternal homemaker – namely for reasons of sincere passion for caring for children and maintaining a house and cooking for her husband and kids. However, many MRAs – whether they’re aware of it or not – fail to explicitly address one critical thing:  many husbands themselves are part of the problem, depending on the dynamics of the marriage relationship (except where it concerns the issue of women looking for a "nice stable guy" after her many years with the “jerk who fathered her kids").

Now I admit that the purpose of the MRA is to address injustices that men suffer, particularly divorce issues; not to address any misogyny in its adherents. On the other hand, just as it was irresponsible for feminism and feminists to fail to speak out against women behaving shabbily toward their husbands and lovers (with their near-silence contributing to current injustices many divorced men suffer), I also find it irresponsible that MRAs and MGTOWs so often give a free pass to men behaving shabbily (whose near-silence contributed to millennia of injustices toward women).

d) Display misogynistic tendencies, if not outright misogyny (many MGTOWs and MRAs). Far too many such men give the impression of thinking that a woman’s place is in the home, shouldn’t pursue a career, etc. – whether or not they truly believe that. Witness the perennial comments about certain types of men looking overseas to find a “traditional woman”.


Even with all these faults, there are just enough gems of good advice and wisdom on these kinds of sites to make visiting them worthwhile – providing you mentally cross out the misogynistic and victimologistic comments (note well that doing this requires strong skills at separating rational claims from emotion-based appeals. It also requires you recognize that there are good and bad people in every gender, even if one gender tends to act in ways different from the other).

Because of this, I’ll likely end up posting on some of their blogs whenever I have a constructive word to put in AND I can address an issue sympathetic to both gender’s point of view. In the end, call me a “Free Agent”, not devoted to either group, although by definition I’m probably more of an MGTOW than anything else (of the less bitter and resentful sort, especially since I purged a lot of my past bitterness and found positive reasons to remain single and childfree – totally and completely aside from my lack of luck with women in my pre-30s years).

In the meantime, I recommend any man and woman to visit the best relationship advice sites I know of.

How to Tell if a Guy is a Jerk (as noted above). This site is not misandric yet stil recognizes the shortcomings of women. Furthermore, guys can definitely benefit from this site too; for many tidbits also apply to men searching for a worthwhile woman.  Susan Walsh's blog advising young women how to find a good "beta male", plus highlighting the pitfalls of chasing "alpha cads", "douchebags", "players", and just the plain wrong guys.  Lots of male posters on here too.  Ms. Walsh does a good job of keeping the blog civilized, so if you can make a civilized comment, feel free to chime in.

From the men’s perspective, hawaiianlibertarian also has two gems:

1) PUAs vs. MGTOWs  . This one addresses the possible motivations behind many MGTOWs belief system - namely to motivate MGTOWs to take a long, hard look at why their "heart of hearts" subscribes to the MGTOW mindset: Are their reason's truly positive ones (finding they can better live thier life to the fullest without either a wife or kids) OR are they really negative ones (resementment and hurt at women, lack of success at wooing women, etc.).

2) Humans Were Designed to Mate and Reproduce. This post contains HL's counter-responses to various MGTOWs responses, but see my post made on June 29, 2009 regarding the committed childfree (Back then, I called myself "childfree", but since discovered that I was ultimately an antinatalist, and had been ever since I decisively made up my mind in my late 20s not to have children - though I'm still "childfree" for personal reasons...with or without antinatalism).

Personally, I think HL won the debate with MGTOW posters - assuming that humans are obligated to reproduce. However, as a committed childfree antinatalist man happy with his life, I can tell you that even if humans were designed to reproduce, it’s more important to be a happy person than to be either a father, or husband, or lover. HL certainly overlooks this important aspect. In fact, the reason some people don’t marry or have children is precisely because they know they’d be lousy and/or unhappy husbands or fathers (or even lovers); no matter how special the spouse or kids truly are.

I admit both HL's postings are uncomfortable reads for many MGTOWs, but I definitely grew as a person because of it; namely by forcing me to see that - despite my positive reasons to remain wife-free - I still had subtle bitterness contaminating my thought process regarding my motivations to be a permanent bachelor. Thanks to his two posts, I now have other reasons to be a committed bachelor (though not exactly an MGTOW as such), even if I did run across a woman worth my time. I will list my specific reasons for remaining a committed wife-free man in a later post. For now, it’s enough to say that my idea of a happy life and my own life’s goals fundamentally conflicts with having a wife and especially being a guardian (father or not).

1 comment:

Roni said...

Dear Filrabat,

Thanks so much for getting to the heart of some of these philosophies!

I wonder if you have came across Canadian Association for Equality and what may be some of your thoughts on it?