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Student Blog Series: The Dangers of Young Men Glorifying a Misogynist

Posted: March 22, 2023

In recent years, the rising popularity of social media platforms, such as TikTok, have created spheres of influencers that consumers, especially children and teenagers, connect to and even idolize. One such sphere has been deemed the “manosphere”, including popular podcasters and self-help gurus such as Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson, and Ben Shapiro. These men offer their advice and opinions on what men in America ought to be: the providers, the protectors, and the leaders. But often this advice being pedaled to millions of young men is extremely misogynistic and dehumanizing to women. One of the biggest pedalers of these dangerous, yet highly influential views, is Andrew Tate.

Andrew Tate is a former kickboxing champion who gained notoriety in 2016 for attacking a woman on the TV series Big Brother. But in recent years, Tate has gained a massive following on Twitter, TikTok and YouTube by posting provocative videos about what it means to be an “alpha male”. He uses his platform to show off his massive wealth and fancy cars, and surrounds himself with attractive women. In studies done in the United Kingdom, Tate’s home country, research found that 8 in 10 boys aged 16-17 have either read, listened to or watched Tate’s online content. Among men ages 16-24, 45% of them have a positive view of Tate. Further, Tate was the most googled public figure in 2022. Most of his content online does not even come from his accounts, but is reposted by his millions of fans or students of his subscription-based online masterclass, “Hustlers University.”

Young boys idolize his lifestyle and are keen to listen to his advice on what makes a man a man and what makes a woman inferior. Tate has constantly referred to married women as “property” of their husbands, and promoted violence as a way of controlling them. In response to the #MeToo movement, Tate claimed, “If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bear some responsibility.” In December 2022, Tate was arrested by Romanian police on charges of human trafficking and rape. And yet, his fan base of young men still express their support.

Parents and teachers are frightened over the influence Tate has on their sons and students. One parent reported that she saw a change in her 17-year-old son’s behavior once he discovered Tate’s content, and that he now has a strong dislike toward women and constantly refers to girls by derogatory names. Teachers across the country are beginning to receive training on how to talk to their students about Tate, and are even holding assemblies with the student bodies to address their concerns.

But why are the misogynistic views that Tate promotes connecting to young men of this day and age? Academics have a few theories. Sociologists believe Tate has exploited the phenomenon among young, especially white, men in America called “aggrieved entitlement.” This is the idea that young white men feel that over the past 20-30 years they have moved from the center of society to the margins and are victims of a global assault on masculinity. Tate’s messages are a call to reclaim this lost masculinity, to fight against the changing views of masculinity. It is a very insecure, yet enticing call to arms for young men who are scared of feeling powerless and want to fight for the respect they feel entitled to as men.

While some efforts have been made by social media platforms to combat these viral messages,  many believe these efforts are far from enough. Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate says, “It’s up to TikTok to be on the lookout for harmful content and manipulation of its platform. It begs the question: ‘Why haven’t they noticed this? And why have they failed to act?’”

Others like Clint Edwards from Independent, believe that the solution is found in equipping young men to maturely reason with what they’re seeing on social media by making philosophy a core part of school curriculums. Speaking on how young men are not taught good reasoning skills and are turning to the manosphere for guidance, he says, “Young men want to be better, they want to live a meaningful life, but how can they get their bearings when it’s only the grifters selling the maps?”

The CSE Institute commends the work that teachers, parents, and mentors are doing to fight the narrative of men that exploit the ignorance of young boys to spread their message of misogyny. We have a duty to hold accountable the companies that give these violent voices a platform, spread awareness of misogyny to the young men in our lives, and support the organizations that make it their mission to spread such awareness as well. We as educators and mature adults must be there to keep impressionable young men on the right path, because when we don’t, it threatens the safety of all men and women in our society.

This piece is part of our first-year law student blog series. Congratulations to author Ryan Roe on being chosen!

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University. 

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