The male response to Andrew Tate
I suppose it is obvious that Tate is a product of feminism. Feminists have so devalued men and masculinity that there had to be a backlash among men. That Tate has gone to an opposite extreme is also obvious.
The sadness is that the attitudes to women among men were once much more benign -- kind and courteous. But feminists destroyed that as "paternalistic", as "chavinistic". Opening car doors for women became "oppression". I still do it but I am old.
Daisy Turnbull below thinks that the onus is on women to repudiate Tate. I agree in part but I think there is a greater need for feminists to repudiate toxic feminist attitudes towards men. If feminist thought became rejected insofar as it is anti-men, Tate's ideas would be deprived of the energy that is driving them
It’s easy to hate Andrew Tate. Rebuking his rantings as misogynistic and violent is not difficult because they are. But me telling you this is not going to change young men’s adoration of him. There is a more difficult question: where are other men on this?
It makes sense that Tate has attracted the admiration of so many young men. He speaks to the generation after the devotees of “podcast bros” Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan: males who feel feminism has done them wrong, who believe that women gaining more rights has taken away theirs.
Not every boy will think Tate is right, as this article showed. Some may “test out” his ideas around family or friends and be so shocked by the reaction that they never mention him again.
But for those that do get hooked on his ideas – and see his problems with modern life as their own – we need to ask ourselves why? How can he become a de facto mentor to so many young men?
It is easy to say that what we are lacking for young men are male role models. It might be argued this has been caused by an increase in the proportion of female teachers (over 71 per cent in 2019), or by absentee fathers working too hard or being constantly distracted on their phones. But the fact is there are many male role models around for young men – whether it be in sport, politics, business, media or even on social media.
The problem seems to be the silence of these role models. Where are the men discrediting Tate? When I Googled Tate’s name, I found dozens of articles criticising his toxic masculinity. But only a handful were written by men. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of criticism and discrediting of Tate comes from women.
Why is it on Greta Thunberg and podcasts like The Guilty Feminist to discuss these issues? Although hilarious, being “murdered” on Twitter by Thunberg doesn’t help young men see how objectionable and destructive Tate is. While it sings to the choir of his objectors, it does not speak to the young men who follow him. Ultimately, it galvanises his base.
As a vertically challenged teacher, I know I don’t have the same ability to project my voice across an oval to tell students they need to go back to class as some of my colleagues. I also know that as a mother, there are some things I won’t be able to communicate as effectively to my son as his father, grandfathers, or other men in his life. I don’t see this as a failing on my part, but part of life. Young boys need strong male role models.
Part of that role modelling must help them understand how corrosive someone like Tate really is. There are two ways this needs to be done.
The first is explicitly – men must tell their sons, students, nephews, family friends, and their broader communities that what Andrew Tate says is wrong, violent, misogynistic and unacceptable. Explain why it is so, have awkward conversations. Lean on the “how would you feel if someone spoke about your sister/mother/friend like that?” if you must: whatever you need to do to get the message across.
One friend told me his teenage daughter made it clear that she and her friends would have absolutely nothing to do with a guy who spouts Tate’s ideas, even as a joke. Because as we all know, in every joke there is a grain of truth.
Young men need to know that it doesn’t matter if Tate’s workouts are good, or his points about getting a job or starting a business are somewhat inspiring because they come from the same person who says women can be owned by their partners. They come from an alleged human trafficker. Everything he says must be coloured by that.
Just as we shouldn’t go to politicians held hostage by the gambling lobby for advice on helping families bankrupted by poker machines, we shouldn’t go to Andrew Tate for relationship advice.
The second way is implicitly – support women in equality, and in authority. When young men hear their male role models use derogatory language about young women in the media, (like that the woman is being “harpy”, “shrill” or “bossy”) it can echo what Tate has said, surrounded by takeaway pizza boxes when apprehended by Romanian police.
Instead, promote the women around you. Support equality; follow female sports teams as well as their male counterparts; discuss these issues with your sons.
There are some amazing men who are already doing this work – including Zac Seidler at Movember, Darren Saunders, and Steve Biddulph, but we need more men to speak up now so the next generation hears them.
It is only when a teenager watches an Andrew Tate video and sees it as diametrically opposed to everything in their daily lives that his irrelevance will become obvious, and they will happily scroll to the next clip.