At the beginning of August, Reddit finally banned forums associated with the “Men Going Their Own Way” movement, or “MGTOW,” for violating guidelines on hate speech. That violent rhetoric was largely aimed at women — and it survives at theredarchive.com, a site that preserves content from various “Red Pill”-affiliated forums that have been (or likely will be) deleted from Reddit. This is where you can still read an r/MGTOW post from last August by ThePenitentMan38, titled “A MGTOW Fable.”
“Once upon a time, in a far away land, existed a kingdom where men and women lived in harmony,” the story begins. “But as in most fairy tales, the kingdom was plagued by a mysterious scourge known as The Wall.” We then learn that this solid wall appears and moves at random, which means it’s incredibly easy to run into. However, such a collision affects men and women differently: “Any woman who ran into The Wall would turn into a jug of milk and a man into a bottle of wine. The wine would age slowly into a fruity ambrosia with fine bouquet, but the milk would quickly turn sour into a sorry mess. Observant men noticed that The Wall hit mostly women 30 and above and rarely hit men, if at all.”
The tale continues with the efforts of a king, at the behest of his furious female subjects, to destroy the wall — a task that proves categorically impossible. The moral, if you want to call it that, is a core tenet of MGTOW and related hubs for misogyny: Every woman is “spoiled” after a certain age, while the majority of men become more attractive with age. A woman past her prime is said to have “hit the wall,” and the supposed certainty of this outcome is reflected in a slogan: “The wall is undefeated.”
The Manosphere isn’t an especially happy place. Guys are drawn to this toxic community in order to vent rage and bemoan the state of gender. Talk of the wall is no less spiteful than the rest, yet the metaphor is a rare source of satisfaction among these groups. It’s sweet revenge; the women who scorned them are now made to feel the shoe is on the other foot. Though life as a red-pilled dude can be lonely and crushing, many feel it’s a light sentence compared to the agony of a woman finding she no longer has her pick of subservient men. And that idea is something they celebrate.
The wall hypothesis doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny, of course. Plenty of men look far worse at 40 than they did at 20, and countless women over 30 — the upper age limit of feminine appeal often cited — are desired and seen as beautiful. If there is a kernel of truth to this narrative of female ruin, it’s that the aggressive sexism built into our society, and distilled to a bitter poison by these men, contributes to many women’s negative perception of their own bodies at all ages. In that way, the MGTOWs et al create the reality of the wall for themselves: With each piece of anecdotal evidence, they are only declaring a specific woman unfuckable, then attributing this to some fact of nature instead of their warped, cruel standards of romantic eligibility.
What accounts like this predictably erase is the perspective of the people they’re judging. The red-pill bro has a strong incentive to imagine women around him as either full of disappointment or on her way there, and full of regret for how they treated men (such as himself) in the flower of youth. But he doesn’t actually know what she thinks or feels in her present experience. When he goes to a high school reunion and decides that all his formerly hot classmates are repulsive, he is casting a wide net over women who might well be in loving marriages and nice careers. Women with warm homes and children they love. At any rate, they are oblivious to his contempt; he’s standing outside the circle, projecting a harsh comeuppance, while everybody else catches up with old friends on the dance floor. He attributes to his savage critique a scope of influence it simply doesn’t have.
Another “wall” tradition: men comparing photos of middle-aged female celebrities to shots from when they were young sex symbols. Why does he revel in this? Does he believe that these retired millionaires are suffering? Or that the sneering of some anonymous incel on a janky website means anything to them after decades of the media hyper-analyzing their appearance? Because that’s a curious attribution of power, and it just so happens to burnish his ego. But that’s necessary if he wants to keep his head up while discussing a philosophy that mainly traffics in despair. He takes a shred of comfort by wishing something worse than his misery on the women he blames for it — even famous ones he’ll never meet.
The illusion is paper-thin, and underneath it lies the plain, universal fear of death that unites our species. Men, another MGTOW disciple once wrote, “are biologically hard-wired to be better tomorrow than today. It’s in our biology and genetics to be fitter, more muscular and smarter as we age.” Diet, exercise and abstaining from drugs and alcohol will ensure a man continues to improve ad infinitum. This doesn’t hold for a woman, he argues: “No matter how hard women try to avoid the wall, they’re biologically doomed to crash into it.”
That’s beyond unscientific; it’s clinically naïve. Men ain’t immortal. Humans decay according to a shared cellular programming. We all decline until we meet the genuine and immovable wall — death — regardless of chromosomes, relative sex appeal or what we did in our fleeting time. Realizing that, a man would maybe spend fewer hours consumed with fantasies of women destroyed.