‘King of misogyny’ Andrew Tate rose to fame in 2022 when his controversial social media content was catapulted to the top of our newsfeeds. Pitching himself as a self-help guru, his material presents a hyper-masculine, wealth-focused blueprint for how to be a man. However, at the centre of this blueprint lies damaging misogynistic views of women and their role in society.
Tate first came into the public eye in 2016, when he was ejected from TV show ‘Big Brother’ after clips surfaced of him hitting a female housemate with a belt. Whilst he and the woman denied all allegations of abuse, controversy resumed a few months later when racist and homophobic posts were found on Tate’s Twitter account.
The following year he weighed in on the discussion surrounding #MeToo, repeatedly claiming women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. Although this resulted in the temporary suspension of his Twitter, he continued to promote his ideologies online after the ban was lifted.
Continuous backlash only pushed Tate further into the spotlight. With newfound success he was pictured in 2018 alongside controversial figures like Donald Trump, prolific Brexiteer Nigel Farage, and far-right extremist Tommy Robinson, who Tate described as a “solid guy with a good heart.”
By 2022, the now 35-year-old had amassed millions of followers across multiple social platforms. He quickly became one of the most famous users on TikTok, with his account being viewed a total of 11.6 billion times.
Tate's videos seem a peculiar mix of motivation and degradation. Often calling his followers ‘peasants’, he depicts himself as a cigar-smoking playboy - driving fast cars, drinking expensive alcohol, and going on luxury holidays with beautiful young women. His disturbing ideologies on what constitutes true masculinity claim to offer a recipe for ‘escaping the matrix’ and becoming rich, however his predominantly young male fans also bear witness to frequent misogynistic diatribes, and direct refences to committing violence against women.
Some of Tate’s most viral videos see him stating that girls can’t drive, men are allowed to be unfaithful, and teenagers are preferable to date because they're fresh and imprintable. Whilst discussing the concept of feminism, Tate also claimed women should “shut the f*** up, have kids, sit at home, be quiet and make coffee.” Using his own sister as an example, he maintained that "a woman is her husband’s property.”
His tenure on social media ended in August 2022, when Tate was banned from YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok after claiming that, should a woman question his loyalty, he would “bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck.”
It’s largely shocking that despite all of this, Andrew Tate is not a peripheral online presence only to be found in some obscure corner of the internet. He is in fact quite the opposite - in July 2022 there were more Google searches for his name than for Donald Trump and Kim Kardashian.
This becomes particularly concerning given that his content has been described by domestic abuse charities as capable of radicalising boys and men to commit harm offline. Sadly, one only has to turn to the internet to find deeply troubling examples of his influence on young people.
Teachers at multiple schools in the UK began to raise concerns after the spike in Tate’s online presence caused an observable change in classroom behaviour. In an article for TES magazine, an assistant headteacher writes of a male student and self-confessed Tate enthusiast telling his peers to ignore a female member of staff, to “put her in her place.”
What’s more, earlier this month dozens of Greek youths took to the streets of Athens in solidarity with the influencer, who was arrested in December for rape, human trafficking, and organised crime.
Tate’s arrest came after he fled the UK for Romania, suggesting in an interview he moved because it's easier to avoid sexual assault charges - “corruption is accessible to everybody… it’s probably 40% of the reason [I moved] … I’m not a rapist, but I like the idea of just being able to do what I want.”
Journalist Clint Edwards thus raises the essential question - if Tate’s views are so obviously horrific to the majority, why isn’t he coming across this way to so many young men? Why are millions of them connecting with him?
The answer, he argues, is simple - Tate is speaking to them, and society is not.
In this hyper-political age where society is becoming increasingly polarised in certain ways, young people navigating the world through the internet inevitably find themselves gravitating towards ideologies that appeal to their desire to belong. As one Reddit user asserts, Andrew Tate is the inevitable blow-back of identity politics making certain groups feel unwelcome in specific social dialogues.
At the age where young people are forming their identities and traversing the world of puberty and sex, you have as Edwards argues a vulnerable person “perfectly primed” for indoctrination. They want to understand how society works and what their place in it might be, hence they look for answers from the people speaking directly to them, to fill in the blanks.
It’s perhaps no surprise then that Andrew Tate has become one of the largest influencers in recent years – he presents himself as a know-it-all guru to a vulnerable demographic seeking guidance on how the world works.
It’s also exactly why the majority of his audience belong to the same social faction that far-right extremist groups tend to recruit from. Tate’s strategies appeal to their insecurities - the scapegoating, tribe mentality, and ‘us versus them’ rhetoric provides answers to a group holding onto fears and grievances about their place in society. Tate does so while centralising the narrative of ambition and self-betterment, telling young men that this is the way to treat others in order to become successful.
Women’s charity White Ribbon outlined in an interview that “the use of gaming, extreme bravado and music [in Tate’s videos] overlays his actions with a filter of normalcy.” It’s for this reason that influencers like him attract young, impressionable audiences – they are less likely to understand the consequences of their actions and are therefore predisposed to risky behaviour.
It’s proven that consuming misogynistic content at a young age shapes a child’s outlook, and facilitates the creation of dangerous environments for women later in life. Sexist ideologies exist on the same spectrum as controlling behaviour and physical or sexual violence, and this ultimately develops into scenarios where men murder women.
This cannot afford to happen.
Andrew Tate’s popularity amongst young males is symptomatic of a larger problem. Many young men face identity crises regarding their masculinity, and society needs to do more to help.
Understanding what exactly his fans connect with in his videos is crucial. Tate’s entire business centres around addressing the qualms of alienated young men – we need to do the same. Society needs to teach young men how, not what, to think.
Including philosophy or social ethics more heavily within school curricula would empower young people with these necessary critical thinking skills. By discussing topics like self-identity, social roles, and morality, they'll become equipped with the reasoning skills to think for themselves, and block out the external toxic narratives coming from those like Andrew Tate.
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