Across social media, there has been an influencer that has been mostly unavoidable – especially if you are a young man. He’ll pop up in TikTok compilations, Instagram reels, Facebook videos, YouTube videos, and recently, television news shows.
His name? Andrew Tate.
But who is Andrew Tate, and why is he relevant to an Options blog post?
Well, Tate’s primary audience is young men, and February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
In recent months, Andrew Tate and clips of his misogynistic views have attracted billions of views and millions of followers across social media.
Many of his videos appear, at first glance, to be harmless, even funny. In his classic straight-talking style, he berates men who drink tap water instead of sparkling water and people who own cats. “Real men have dogs,” is a phrase he has repeated multiple times on his podcast. Other material he shares is presented under a banner of “male self-improvement” – like how to earn money and gain respect as a man.
His past, which includes allegations of sex trafficking and assault, have been well covered. As of right now, Tate is detained in Romania over these accusations. Yet he still has a cult following of (primarily) young men.
For some additional context, here are some of the things Tate has become infamous for saying:
- “Why would you be with a woman who’s not a virgin anyway? She is used goods. Second hand.”
- “If you put yourself in a position to be raped, you must bear some responsibility.”
- “If we talk about tradition… Traditionally, every single man in history had multiple wives, and there was not a single woman who was celebrated for having multiple husbands. Female promiscuity has always been disgusting and frowned upon.”
- “I was getting on a plane, and I could see through the cockpit that a female was the pilot and I took a picture and I said, ‘most women I know can’t even park a car, why is a woman flying my plane?’ and they banned me.”
- “I think that women belong to the man.”
I work with several teenage boys each week, and I can hear the influence Tate has. My colleagues and work partners have expressed that they experience the same. Boys often reference him through memes, quotes, and inside jokes. Unfortunately, these exchanges are not positive and are often framed with violence. These “joking” interactions also bleed into the relationships that boys are having with girlfriends/female teachers/their mothers/etc.
Tate appeals because the things he says are “edgy,” which aligns with boys’ resistances to authority and media narratives. He also appears to have what boys have been trained to think they want – looks, a ripped body, several fast cars, boats, women, fame, and virality. His content about money and power is sandwiched between misogynistic rants or other hateful comments.
Ultimately though, Tate is simply the latest in a long line of extremely poor male role models who position themselves as the “answer” to young men’s insecurities. The things he says has led to an increase of rape jokes and the shaming of peers for not being as “masculine.” The prevalence of Tate has normalized these exchanges among young men. And, when “jokes” about rape or devaluing women increase, attacks on women increase as well.
This kind of extreme misogyny also harms men. Men who have sexist beliefs tend to have higher rates of substance abuse and depression and are less likely to be able to ask for and receive help, more likely to bully others, and are less likely to form intimate connections with women or men.
The popularity of men like Tate reinforces the need for preventative services that provide teenage boys with impactful programs, role models, and resources. But, if we want to help steer boys away from negative, toxic role models like Tate, yelling at them or ridiculing them for being interested in these viewpoints won’t work. We need to give boys the opportunity to express themselves and explore with them how such views can be harmful. When talking one-on-one to a student or child who has expressed Tate’s views, parents and educators shouldn’t immediately criticize Tate (according to experts). Coming from a place of judgement shuts the whole conversation down.
So, if you hear this influencer’s name being brought up – perhaps it’s time to sit down and talk. Ask them what they know about Tate. Ask if they like him, and then ask them why. Ask them how he makes them feel.
Instead of straight up defending Tate, you may hear a young man say things like:
- “I don’t agree with his sexist comments, but he defends us, men.”
- “No one is taking care of our mental health, and he does.”
- “Men are lonely; he gets us. Okay, some stuff is bad, but honestly, he is right. Women can’t drive.”
- “Do you know he gives money to charity? He can’t be bad. He opened a dog shelter and an orphanage.”
These reasons are why Tate is so pervasive. He peppers in real concerns into his violently misogynistic rants. It’s like that saying, “a broken clock is right twice a day.” He covers topics like men’s mental health but then laces it with comments about how stupid women are and how they should be subservient to men.
These young men who revere Tate are often times not genuinely bad – they were just tricked.
However difficult it is, however, awkward you find it or however angry it makes you – the most important thing is to talk about it. Andrew Tate and all he represents is too dangerous to stay silent on.
After all, while Tate might end up serving a lengthy prison sentence, he’s just a symptom of a larger problem. There will be another Tate-like influencer who comes around soon enough, and being prepared to talk to young people about these kinds of views can help to protect them from partner violence in the future.
If you need any additional information, have a question, or a concern, feel free to reach out to Options at our 24-hour toll-free helpline 800-794-4624. You can also reach an advocate via text by texting HOPE to 847411 or click 24-Hour Chat with Options.
Written by Anniston Weber