‘He’s just traditional.’

‘But what has he actually done that’s bad?’

‘Girls just say they hate him but know nothing about him.’

As I sat down for breakfast, I overheard four men hurling these statements at a group of women who were criticising Andrew Tate. Tate’s rise to fame is at best impressive, and at worst a dangerous indicator of the power of social media to create harmful echo chambers.

The Problem is not Tate

With 4 million followers on Twitter, there is no doubt that Tate has a strong and loyal following. Currently arrested in Romania on charges of rape and human trafficking, 36-year-old Tate denies all allegations and poses himself as a small fish under the crushing waves of popular media and free-speech checks.

Even if he is proven innocent, Tate’s name will never be cleared as long as he believes what he preaches. For those new to Tate’s philosophy, this is a person who thinks rape victims must bear responsibility for their attacks. He dates teenagers in order to ‘make an imprint on them.’ And the women he sees are forbidden from leaving the house without him. Tate positions himself as patriarch, provider and the sole voice of any household.

The list goes on but there is another problem. It’s not so much what Tate says, but the willingness of his follower, many of them young boys, to sympathise with his provocative statements which is the real cause for concern. From this perspective, Tate is not the cause but the effect of a longstanding societal flaw: mindless misogyny.

Tate’s Young Followers

‘What you ideally want is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters,’ is one piece of Tate-inspired advice for those seeking to go viral. Hustler’s University — Tate’s online platform promising to help its subscribers make money through freelancing and crypto — has over 127,000 members paying £49.99 a month for the privilege of hearing advice from someone who claims that traditional education is becoming ‘less and less relevant.’ With a projected net worth of $350 million, there are plenty wishing to buy Tate’s ‘rags to riches’ narrative in the hope of aggregating even a small slice of his success.

Tate’s followers primarily occupy one particular subsection of society. Those who are most likely to sympathise with his views are young, white boys, aged 12-16. Teachers in Wales recently alerted authorities when their students began using Tate’s arguments in the classroom. The teachers anonymously revealed that male students in years eight to ten would regularly voice support for Tate’s less controversial views. The effect of this often left their peers speechless.

The False Logic of Misogyny

To address the root of the problem we first need to appreciate why Andrew Tate has become such a popular and divisive role model.

For one thing, Tate cleverly normalises misogyny. He wraps up his arguments in rationality, making them appear logical and easy to follow. ‘This is just the way that the world is. This is just the way that people are.’ This kind of reasoning suggests that there are no other options to pursue. For Tate’s followers, statements like this make it seem that he is in command of the truth which others are too scared to admit. Fighting his warped logic is futile. In the virtual world of social media, falsehoods and lies can easily become the new dogma.

Kimmel’s idea of ‘aggrieved entitlement’ is also particularly relevant here. Contemporary media narratives stress the growth of gender equality. The risk here is that some men may feel sidelined or unimportant as a result of this increasing equilibrium. Tate brings men back into focus and places them centre-stage. His radical conservativism is a welcome antidote to the rampant liberalism that has made so many men feel worthless.

True social progress, however, is not about exclusion but unity. Tate’s followers might benefit from the realisation that progress and equal opportunities enrich everyone. 

Andrew Tate is a warning of the divisive power of social media. Those who support him have largely fallen victim to the forces of consumerism and internet algorithms. Young men want his flashy lifestyle and think that emulating Tate will make them happy. But let us not forget the sobering fact that Tate is presently in a Romanian prison on charges of rape and human trafficking. Had I been one of the women sitting at that breakfast table, I would have begged the question: ‘But why do you believe he is worth supporting?’

DISCLAIMER: The articles on our website are not endorsed by, or the opinions of Shout Out UK (SOUK), but exclusively the views of the author.