Why women are embracing the 4B movement.

Women are quitting men, and they’re not f**king around.

This isn’t like a 60-day sugar detox, or a pledge to stop doom-scrolling TikTok. It’s a hard reset. Disc wiped, file unavailable; wrong number, who dis?

Feminism has historically championed the decentralisation of men in women’s lives, but proponents of what’s been coined the '4B movement' are going one step further: total eradication.

Watch: What life is like with and without kids. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

If the term sounds familiar, that’s probably because it’s been on your For You page recently. Four B is trending in the TikTok zeitgeist, but its roots stretch back to 2019 in South Korea, where it began as a fringe movement in response to the country’s oppressive pro-natalist policies and patriarchal culture. (South Korean women earn roughly 30 percent less than their male counterparts and are held to impossible beauty standards that have led to rampant cosmetic surgery rates.)

The four Bs stand for Korean words that all begin with "bi" (which means "no"): bihon (no marriage), bichulsan (no childbirth), biyeonae (no dating), and bisekseu (no sex).


It might seem like an extreme stance at first glance, but the sentiment behind the movement – one of profound disenchantment – is very much universal to women.

There’s a meme often shared among online feminists I think expresses it best. It reads: 'Men asking, "What are you bringing to the table?"' and pictures a forlorn, broken table lying in pieces on the ground – an apt metaphor for how little many men offer the women they expect to perform the services of live-in cook, cleaner, nanny, therapist and sex worker.

And while these demands once went unchallenged, increased socioeconomic mobility has given women the power to stop and ask themselves why they’d want to bring anything at all to a table that can’t support itself (or go to therapy, for that matter), much less meet their needs.

Research has shown for some time now that, while heterosexual men’s lives vastly improve when they’re coupled up, women’s typically decline.

A 2021 HILDA report showed mothers of dependent children do up to 75 per cent more domestic labour than their husbands/partners, and a Pew Research Centre study found there’s still a marked imbalance when they’re the primary breadwinners.

There’s also the persistent issue of burnout from emotional labour. It’s the unpaid and usually unrecognised mental workload of providing emotional support and general task management, like organising holidays, kids' birthday parties, and gifts for the in-laws at Christmas; something women overwhelmingly take on the brunt of in their relationships with men.


It makes sense then, with less social and financial imperative to tie themselves to men, more women are opting out of marriage and motherhood than ever before.

Though marriage experienced a short uptick in Australia in the wake of lockdowns, it’s been trending down globally over the past few decades. In fact, it’s estimated almost 90 per cent of the world’s population live in countries where participation in the institution is dropping – the marriage rate in the US has decreased by 60 per cent since the seventies.

It’s no coincidence the so-called 'Alpha male' and Incel movements appeared in alignment with these falling rates. Though they sit at different ends of the scale of extremism, both ideologies insist men are owed sex and threaten women with lifelong singledom unless they acquiesce to a return to 'traditional values' (a euphemism for women’s servitude).

But for many of us, being alone is a luxury, not a punishment.

Single, child-free women are statistically wealthier and – according to behavioural science professor Paul Dolan – happier, than their coupled-up peers.

"The healthiest and happiest population subgroup are women who never married or had children," Dolan famously revealed at the Hay festival in 2020.

The same can’t be said for men. A study published in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences found single men are experiencing high levels of loneliness; a phenomenon encapsulated in Greg Matos’s viral Psychology Today column, 'What’s Behind the Rise of Single, Lonely Men?'.


"Women are increasingly selective… They prefer men who are emotionally available, who are good communicators, and who share their value. For men, this means a relationship skills gap that, if not addressed, will likely lead to fewer dating opportunities and longer periods of being single," Matos wrote.

The problem is, the men opposed to 4B aren’t interested in stepping up for the women who actually still want to date and marry them. They’re focused on the women who’ve already unsubscribed, because they represent a threat to a structure that previously gave them all the control.

"This just screams you hate men. Like imagine if men got on this app and said, 'Oh yeah, we’re gonna participate in the 4Bs, and we’re not gonna sleep with women. We’re not gonna talk to women or date women.'", argues one male TikToker.

"Maybe it’s going viral because of the irony? Women facing the consequences, getting what you asked for," comments another.

These men fail to recognise they’re screaming into a void. Women aren’t interested in what they’re selling.

We’ve officially reached a point in history where sex toy technology is so advanced, we can literally simulate sex along with any sex act we desire, but with guaranteed orgasms built in.

And the platonic life partnership model – which involves two heterosexual friends of the same gender who don’t want to get married or enter into a romantic relationship, but still want to share their life with someone, opting to cohabit and live as partners, sans sexual intimacy – has been on the rise for quite some time now. Largely because women tend to glean far more meaningful emotional support, validation and verbal affection from their friends than their male partners, due to what Matos describes as a "skills gap" among men.


"I think it’s cute that you think if you came out and said you weren’t gonna sleep with women anymore, we’d actually care. Most of us just want you to leave us alone," feminist TikToker Amanda Tietz said in a recent video in response to the backlash from men.


You seem confused. Welcome to the find out part of this game. We're done. We've had enough. Go complain to someone who cares.

♬ original sound - Mandy ♥️

And Tietz isn’t joking. The search term "How to get men to leave me alone" has over 520 million results on Google, many of which are Reddit threads and online forums of women exchanging tips on how to be ignored by men.

"Start eagerly talking about astrology," one Redditer jokes.

"Be ugly," chimes in another.

Unfortunately, for the men most threatened by 4B, the scare tactics they once relied on to retain power aren’t working anymore. It seems like they may have to finally resort to doing the one thing they’ve been avoiding this entire time, and go to therapy.

Nadia Bokody is a queer feminist sex columnist, YouTuber and professional over-sharer. Follow her on Instagram for more.

Feature image: TikTok @pottymouthpollyanna + @wtfaleisa.

We want to hear from you! Help us shape what you read, watch & listen to on Mamamia. Share your thoughts in the below survey. PLUS as a token of our appreciation…you’ll go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher!