For as long as there has been extensive progression within the feminist movement, we have witnessed an equally powerful masculine backlash. Armed with misogyny and violence, swathes of disenfranchised boys and men have fought back against the advancement of women, pedalling ultra-conservative ideas of gender roles and strength. These ideologies thrive within online forums, social media platforms, and even political arenas.
Inside these movements, certain public figures emerge. They become icons and symbols of what masculinity supposedly should look like. And for the past year, one man in particular has embodied this sentiment to such an extent that he is now considered the face of the ultra-masculine archetype, and that is Andrew Tate.
The former kickboxer and alleged rapist has made a living off of championing controversial sexist perspectives. Masquerading as simply another social media influencer, Tate has utilised platforms such as TikTok and Twitter to successfully peddle his highly problematic and dangerous opinions to thousands of young impressionable minds.
As encapsulated by The Guardian, Tate’s content “included videos of him saying women are a man’s property, rape victims are to blame for their own assaults, and talking about hitting and choking women, trashing their belongings and stopping them from going out.” Even when Tate is seemingly ‘praising’ women for their qualities, his admiration is solely reliant on them fulfilling specific toxic beauty standards.
Despite having been repeatedly banned from numerous online platforms, Tate has managed to build a worryingly loyal following. What’s even more frightening is how the controversial figure’s content is being deliberately propped up by some of the biggest social media site’s algorithms. In an attempt to accurately demonstrate this, one of SCREENSHOT’s staff writers created a fresh TikTok account and within two days, the video-sharing app organically served him a Tate propaganda clip.
It should also be noted that misogyny is an incredibly lucrative business. Tate has always flaunted his massive amount of wealth—an ideal he promises to other lucky men for the small price of mistreating and abusing women.
The self-proclaimed guru has allegedly amassed a fortune via both his online videos and through subscriptions to his Hustlers University, a bogus online academy which promised to teach young boys and men how to get rich quick. In August 2022, the university had approximately 127,000 members paying £39 a month. Thankfully, the programme has since been shut down.
However, despite not knowing an accurate number, Tate’s fans have been assured of his extreme fortune—particularly due to the fact that he’s persistently exhibited his access to luxury travel and supercars.
Now, I could very easily spend hours detailing all of the reasons as to why this man should be kept behind bars. However, luckily for me, his recent arrest in Romania on suspicion of sexual assault, human trafficking and organised crime hopefully means I won’t ever have to.
The reason why Tate still demands so much of our attention isn’t solely down to him as an individual, it’s what he represents. According to male supremacist expert Lisa Sugiura for The Conversation, Tate’s superpower has been his ability to capitalise on disillusioned men and young boys who feel threatened by the feminist movement and who seek guidance on how to reclaim power.
They want to be perceived as strong, valuable and authoritative members of society, and they think someone like Tate can help.
Online, this group is often recognised as the ‘manosphere’ and their identity is closely linked to that of incelism. The connecting factor for all of these communities hinges on the idea of male victimhood. As emphasised by Sugiura, “Tate has capitalised on the idea that men are oppressed. He presents simplistic explanations that legitimise this idea that men are being wronged by societal efforts towards gender equality. And he is weaponizing it for his own financial gain.”
It’s also important to note that academics and theorists have explicitly proven that when popular feminist movements occur, they’re always immediately followed by popular misogyny, a term articulated by academic and author Sarah Banet-Weiser.
Incelism might appear on the surface to simply be a hateful online movement that hides in seedy chat rooms, but in reality, it’s been progressively seeping into the real world—resulting in a vicious uptake in violence against women.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in three women globally experience violence. This means that around 736 million are subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner.
This violence is also not always the kinds of brutal attacks we see in mainstream media, the rise of incelism and misogyny often reveals itself in smaller yet more insidious ways. It’s forms of casual sexism and covert harassment that truly permeate and damage the lives of women on a daily basis.
We’d be foolish to think that Tate’s recent arrest could dampen his impact. Extremism always finds a way.