To this guy for whom we kicked down the door – ‘You’re welcome!’
Every once in a while something comes along and catches my attention. You know that thing where men and women in the MHRM and MGTOW communities can find common ground, yet seem to talk over each other without an inkling of understanding of the nuance each group within the manosphere holds.
Recently, Heartbern, a MGTOW Youtube commentator, uploaded a video titled The Problem With Men (Especially MRA’s) | MGTOW which illustrates this point. And within the spirit of his preamble: “always a good thing for men to check each other. That’s male culture. We don’t have enough of that anymore.” here we go.
Heartbern starts out in his commentary calling all men out, particularly men in his comment section who sees themselves as powerless, victims of circumstance who in his opinion do not see themselves as men and taking personal responsibility. He then goes on to talk about the fall of Alpha males in society and the emergence of Beta males with a RoK…esk flair.
Even though there are many elements of truth in his commentary, he goes on at around 7:40 in the video to call out AVFM (Paul Elam specifically) and the MHRM with a complete abandonment of knowledge or understanding of what exactly we do or why we do it.
His issue is that the “men’s movement is trying to call attention to their pain, they are trying to call attention to the unfairness they, men, boys, fathers, etc. that they experience in culture and in our legal system.” Or method of change and reform as he states it. Claiming “the MRM is essentially limiting themselves to the same level of power women used to get the pendulum to swing in their direction…”.
Without belaboring more of what can be viewed in the video, I think I can provide some illumination to the differences in “Style” when it comes to the MRM and other elements of the manosphere from my personal experience and AVFMs Mission Statement:
The MRM, specifically AVFM and its readers are a diverse group of men and women who come together to hear all aspects of men’s concerns and share experiences. Each member has their own personal vision about the problems and possible solutions men face in today’s society, and AVFM is a place these folks can come together, be they MRAs or otherwise and hash those things out.
There is plenty of ground to talk about different approaches to the common problem and to critique them to see what works best for each as they see fit. The key here is how someone approaches their solutions is up to each, their interests, skills and proclivities.
From my perspective as a former military guy, I certainly am of the ability to simply tell folks what it is and what they can do to improve their lot as Mr. Heartbern does in his video. This approach has its advantages in that it can be a shortcut towards a common goal if everyone is working from the same “Red Pill” maturity level, knowledge, and understanding of the problem; The fact is we do not.
I’m in agreement and as part of my personal mission here to empower men with knowledge and tools to go out into our Social Zeitgeist and feel confident in their “manhood” and personal empowerment. But I’m not naive enough to dismiss the personal, social or economic risks in doing so. It’s not a simple matter of exercising one’s masculinity or dominance or play the “Alpha Male” role. Men need to be smart about it.
Let’s take a little time to discuss this Alpha and Beta Male leadership concept. First, all leadership is situational. There is both intrinsic and extrinsic leadership, and despite what some may think, neither are inherent. They both take training and practice and can be very limited to the environment and skill set required. Granted, some leaders can adapt more quickly from one situation to another, but the reality is most if not all had spent a lot of time in preparation before those attributes appeared in the first place. I’ve seen the “Halo” effect placed on leaders who excelled in certain situations, only to turn around and utterly fail at others. The Alpha Beta dichotomy is false and does damage to men by limiting them and their outlook. Another approach is to teach men they all can be leaders within their sphere of influence, and work to expand that sphere; we as a group can help to develop these leaders; with the understanding that it takes time, education and effort on their part.
AVFM spends a lot of effort directly challenging the lies put out in society by Feminist, and sharing men’s challenges. Some can view this as playing the victim, mirroring Feminism or whatnot. The fact is it does not come without some thought or measure of effectiveness.
Peter Wright made a brilliant observation in a recent discussion on the differences in approach between AVFM, the MRM, and the one alluded to in the video:
I’ve thought a lot about this over the years – the strategies of showing men’s vulnerabilities to improve thier cultural and legal value, vs. showing strength, confidence to get same. Obviously we need a mixture of both, but no matter how I look at it the showing of vulnerability, even through anger, has far greater impact on the social narratives.
Comes back to Alison Tieman’s ‘threat narrative‘ videos about men being perceived as having agency, therefore not vulnerable and in need of help, vs. women having a lack of same and needing – and getting – all the cultural and legal rights they want.
These two approaches have a psychological impact on observers that goes very deep…. I actually think humans are hardwired to respond to protect vulnerable children (and by extension adults who show similar vulnerability) and this instinct aces the respect for strength and stoicism.
Not how I want it to be at all, but we can see everything I’ve described in action.
Peter’s point highlights the fact that we can all be Alpha/Masculine men, beat our chests and demand our rightful place in the hierarchy, but it is all for naught because we’d have to exercise force at every turn and watch our back at every step when we get there. Something, not a few dictatorial leaders discovered to their demise. The alternative he presents provides us with a more symbiotic and eclectic approach to winning hearts and minds and taking a leadership role in doing so. Showing our vulnerability shows our humanity, it makes us human. And I’d venture men would live longer and healthier lives.
Some don’t like our “style?” Are we not “Alpha” enough? Having been in frontline combat units for nearly 30 years and in various leadership roles, I’ve worked with and played the “Alpha Male.” All I can say is it takes a lot of energy to sustain and most men rotate in and out of those roles to survive. Often, when I see those words invoked on people I know who are working hard and taking on leadership, it is usually coming from someone who only talks about being an “Alpha Male” but is actually, only a “Beta male” who has never experience the “Responsibility” of leadership. Let me restate this for emphasis: Leadership = Responsibility.
Does this responsibility require specific roles? Real Men and Losers as implied by the Alpha Beta pigeonholing? Or Men whose lives progress as opposed to men whose lives stagnate or regress? What is meant by unapologetic expression of masculinity, does it mean putting on a façade of domineering hyper-masculinity, or does it mean being an emotionally mature adult male? If it’s the later, I see plenty of it here.
On a parting note, here is Paul Elam’s latest video. There are some similarities in the topic matter if you pay attention, but a big difference in message, delivery, and style. Notice he is educating men as a group of their shortcomings and responsibilities without thumping his fat finger on their chests and telling them to man up. I call that combat Effective. Even a tad bit “Alpha Male.” But fuck if I’ll give him a swollen head about it.
Paul Elam’s The ten immutable laws of men and women