Misogyny doesn’t end with Andrew Tate’s arrest
Recently, after an otherwise humorous Twitter brawl with climate activist Greta Thunberg, the infamous Andrew Tate was arrested in Romania on charges of human trafficking and rape.
Disappointing, but not at all surprising given Tate’s track record.
For those unfamiliar, Tate remains one of the most openly misogynistic individuals permeating the internet space, spewing sexist, outdated rhetoric to a growing audience of (particularly young) individuals. Tate once said, “You can’t be responsible for something that doesn’t listen to you. You can’t be responsible for a dog if it doesn’t obey you, or a child if it doesn’t obey you, or a woman that doesn’t obey you.”
While he began his career as a professional kickboxer, his prominence was derived primarily from his hypermasculine, misogynistic and often homophobic messages geared toward young men. His messages don’t just end with the infantilization and dehumanization of women. Luckily, he’s now stuck in prison. Right?
While his arrest may then be a reason to celebrate, especially given the context of his egregious crimes, we shouldn’t become complacent. Though Tate is currently locked up and unable to produce content brimming with misogynistic takes, his rise in popularity may at least be partly attributed to the fact that his message catered to the incessant, underlying misogyny that stubbornly persists in many individuals and implicitly within society.
When examining Tate’s audience and their undying loyalty to the fandom, it becomes hard to believe that Tate converted his followers to become anti-woman without there already existing a bedrock of hatred. Many individuals can easily identify the fallacious logics used by Tate to justify his bigotry, making most of his arguments uncompelling. As a result, a good portion of his followers likely held some degree of chauvinism before Tate came along, coaxing their male fragility with his aggressive message.
The space Tate occupied, often called the “manosphere” (loosely defined as an online space that promotes anti-feminist ideology), has long existed prior to Tate. However, his belligerent messages advocating for violence against women may have provoked underlying misogyny to the forefront of the group’s ideals. When empowered to spew their hatred so freely and publicly, individuals like Tate serve as the catalyst that causes an ideology to manifest as physical violence against vulnerable groups.
Tate’s supporters have already protested for his release in Greece, with a viral video depicting a swarm of an all-male group chanting “free Top G.” The video can be seen as a slap in the face to all the women who wish to be treated equally, though that’s probably what the group wanted in the first place.
To prevent individuals like Tate from becoming prominent influencers affecting the empathy of the next generation, our society should examine the radical right response that came with the progressive societal movements aimed at uplifting marginalized groups. For the radical right, Tate’s outspoken and overconfident persona aimed at dismantling said progression stemmed from a place of insecurity and male fragility. While feminism most definitely does not entail the destruction of traditional masculinity, individuals like Tate appear to interpret it as such.
Educating our youth on equality starting from a young age may be part of the larger solution to the damaging gendered schism Tate has caused. By encouraging honest displays of empathy and emotion in our young men, we can provide a healthier outlet for boys’ mental health rather than teaching them to associate emotions with weakness — a message Tate often spews to his audience.
According to Tate, “You feel sad, you move on. You will always be depressed if your life is depressing.” Easier said than done, to say the least. Not only is suicide the twelfth leading cause of death overall in the United States according to the National Institute of Mental Health, MRI scans and genetic screenings have shown physical abnormalities within the brain that impact cognitive functioning.
The phenomenon of Andrew Tate should be terrifying to all, and if his message has yet to phase you, you may want to ask yourself what parts of his bigotry speak to your soul. Women are not the enemy to men, like Tate implies; his flagrant and obsessive hatred for women reveals more about his own insecurities and patriarchal brainwashing than anything else.
Like a fire, misogyny grows slowly but surely, when gone unchecked, affects every surface of our green earth. In this case, Tate is the gasoline that could be the downfall of our burning land of egalitarianism, if any is even left over.