We need to talk about Andrew Tate, the hateful, internet misogynist currently sitting in a Romanian jail facing charges of rape and sex trafficking. As a, somewhat at least, young man, it’s truly disheartening and saddening to see how he preys off of his followers’ insecurities. Instead of caring for and helping them, he’s exploiting them further and along the way promoting dangerous misogyny.
That there’s a growing group of angry, mostly white and mostly young men has been clear for a long time and was detailed in the sociologist Michael Kimmel’s book Angry White Men back in 2013. Despite this, it seems like Andrew Tate exploded out of nowhere in the summer of 2022, accelerated, in part, by taking advantage of Tiktok’s algorithms that reward outrageous and hateful content. How can a person who calls his followers losers be so popular? Why do they continue to believe that the person who calls them average pieces of shit will be their savior? What does that say about the state of men today?
Society has previously told men to just get on with it and to deny any feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Instead of exploring any feeling of emptiness, boys and men were encouraged to fill the emptiness with external validations such as status, wealth and power. It’s sad to realize that the popularity of Andrew Tate - and the growth of the wider manosphere - shows that we haven’t come far. The same lies are still being pushed. As someone who has struggled with his mental health, I find statements like “depression isn’t real” and “you feel sad, you move on” as unhelpful and downright dangerous. I know I would have benefited from a better understanding of my mental health when I was a boy. Instead, I grew up thinking that feelings were for girls and that, as a man, I should be rational and just suffer on without complaining. Life isn’t a mathematical equation to be solved. Our feelings are important guides to life and not something we should just ignore.
Andrew Tate says that men feel empty inside because they’re weak and poor and let women walk all over them. If he actually cared about his followers, about men, he would offer more compassion and encouragement rather than preying on their insecurities by selling bogus subscriptions to his scam, Hustler University.
His followers deserve better and we would all benefit from the existence of better male role models who actually model what life is really about.