Andrew Tate and Modern Masculinity
Writer: Mikada Green
Editor: Alma Samocha
Graphic Designer: Maulina Gheananta
Article Section: Opinion
TW: r*pe, misogyny, violence against women
Over the past couple of months, it has been nearly impossible to open up a social media app without not seeing the name "Andrew Tate" on at least one post or video. Andrew Tate, a former kickboxer and reality TV personnel, has risen to the center of an essential conversation about the rise of incel and misogynistic rhetoric and the concept of modern masculinity. Videos of Tate have been watched over 12 billion times on TikTok, and before his account was permanently banned, it had obtained a following of almost 5 million followers on Instagram. On August 20, Andrew Tate was banned from Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok due to policy violations regarding hate speech. Tate had been previously suspended from Twitter in 2017 after posting a tweet claiming women who have been sexually assaulted to be partially responsible for the attack.
Sadly, this opinion is just one of many Andrew Tate has been allowed to share on various social media platforms in the past few years, to an upsettingly large platform who are hanging on his every word. The rhetoric spewed by Andrew Tate on these platforms becomes all the more deeply disturbing as we realize the primary demographic consuming this content is schoolboys - aged as young as 13.
Expanding on the 2017 suspension from Twitter and Tate's belief that women should bear some responsibility for their rape, these opinions are certainly not big news for women. The idea that "if you drink and dress that way, you deserve it" is a worn-out belief embedded within a systemic rape culture, which often rears its head to counter feminist movements such as #MeToo in their efforts to make progress toward gender equality and women’s safety.
Andrew Tate further perpetuates harmful and sexist stereotypes by claiming that women are unable to drive, that they belong in the home, are impure if they are not a virgin, and are ultimately a man's property. Beliefs limiting women’s freedom and constraining them to the domestic sphere are, again, not new; they are a broken record that women have heard for decades and with which they have often been forced to comply. Unfortunately, Tate is attempting to normalize these extreme and outdated views about women, and his young audience is beginning to do the same. In another video, Tate compares women to dogs and children, explaining they must obey men in a frighteningly dehumanizing statement. What makes these ideas of forcing a woman to obey much worse is that Tate claims to find 18 to 19-year-olds more appealing, noting that they have less sexual and romantic experience, and therefore, they are easier to “put his imprint on.” It is concerning to see that these misogynistic and abusive views target the vulnerable and more impressionable demographic of young women in their formative years.
Men's relationship with mental health is important to discuss when analyzing modern masculinity. Historically, men have been turned away from mental health services, as therapy or other forms of mental health treatment are viewed as "unmanly" and "emasculating". Andrew Tate reinforces this ideology on multiple occasions. In one clip, Tate says, "If you're the kind of person who feels like you need therapy, you need someone to talk to, do you know what you are? You're useless. Because in the harshest realities of this cold world, there are people in Syria whose entire families have been blown to f*ck with a bomb from the sky". This is deeply disturbing as many men avoid getting mental health help for fear of seeming weak or useless. According to the CDC, about one in four women seek mental health treatment compared to one in ten men. Tate is further perpetuating harmful mental health stereotypes about men.
Drawing a line between mental health and weakness is harmful for many reasons. Reports show a connection amongst men between mental health problems and aggressive tendencies, further fuelling the cycle. Aggression unaddressed could translate into romantic relationships as domestic violence against women, to which Tate has alluded in multiple videos. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, cisgender men and women experience mental health issues and express symptoms differently. Many men will likely avoid addressing their feelings, and hearing rhetoric like the words of Tate prevents society from confronting these mental health problems among men. It is important to note that not every person experiences mental health issues similarly.
Related to this issue, there are numerous clips of Tate speaking about hitting and choking women in various scenarios, such as her accusing him of cheating. When referring to a hypothetical reaction to cheating accusations by his partner, he says, "It's bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck," then calls her a slur, telling her to shut up. There is even a short clip of him talking about slapping women and calling them a slur before sexual interaction, which has gained much traction on TikTok. Young boys who see these clips are reassured that it is acceptable to treat women with violence.
In their research of Andrew Tate's online presence, the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that of 47 videos in which Tate promoted misogynistic ideas, nine were monetized with paid advertisements from brands such as Schwarzkopf and Vans. It is insane to think about how many companies are complicit in profiting off of this disgusting behavior, with Youtube making millions in ad revenue due to people who dedicate their channels to reposting Tate’s videos. Tate’s “Hustler's University” course has over 100,000 members who pay monthly subscriptions to hear him speak. Andrew Tate has been allowed a platform for too long thanks to the lack of action taken by companies like Youtube and Meta.
Many men on the internet have told women who are offended by these takes to ignore him as if the problem would go away. Some disagree with the banning as they are upset they can no longer debate him on streaming sites such as Twitch. Hearing this from a man who does not understand the woman's perspective is extremely frustrating. It is nearly impossible to ignore Tate when he is not only blowing up on the internet, but boys in real life are regurgitating the hateful rhetoric they have learned from viewing his content. Teachers on Reddit have shared their personal experiences with young male students who have watched Andrew Tate. Some students even refused to read literature written by women or would not do assignments sourced by women because they genuinely believed "women should be in the kitchen."
Many women have shared the opinion that allowing Andrew Tate to speak on podcasts, even if the intention is to shame him, is a significant part of the problem. It does nothing, especially when the host audience is against this rhetoric. It is not productive. Do not platform this man; do not debate with him. He doesn't need another outlet on which to spew his hateful, sexist opinions.