If you still haven’t heard of Andrew Tate, count yourself lucky. His legions of followers, however, are still getting updates from him about his stay in a Romanian prison.
Who is he?
Andrew Tate is a stupid man’s idea of what a successful man looks like. He’s the latest iteration of an extensive line of “alpha male” online influencers who appeal to disillusioned young men with fast cars, “hot women” and displays of wealth.
The 36-year-old former kickboxing champion gained a huge following over the years by simply saying some of the most misogynistic things that you can imagine: referring to women as property and claiming that women should bear responsibility for being raped among a litany of other controversial remarks that sent him on his way to becoming an Internet celebrity.
Tate and his involuntarily celibate (incel) fanbase, however, claim that he is doing nothing but establishing himself as a role model for young men in an increasingly feminised world.
In fact, he started “Hustler’s University” to sell online courses instructing men how to become “Top Gs” like him. In a hilarious twist of irony, the utterances in his instructional videos may now be used as evidence in the case against him, where he’s been charged with rape and human trafficking in Romania.
Tate, whose successful business is an “agency” for webcam models, was hilariously arrested after starting a Twitter battle with 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg where he bragged about his massive, carbon-emitting car collection at the end of December.
Hello @GretaThunberg— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) December 27, 2022
I have 33 cars.
My Bugatti has a w16 8.0L quad turbo.
My TWO Ferrari 812 competizione have 6.5L v12s.
This is just the start.
Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions. pic.twitter.com/ehhOBDQyYU
After Thunberg hit back at him, he retorted with another video featuring him eating pizza, which online rumours suggested led to him being arrested because it confirmed his location to the Romanian police.
Tate, himself has openly stated that he moved to Romania because of how lenient they are with human trafficking cases and because the police are very easy to bribe. Worse yet, he has unpacked exactly how he became so rich and successful in his Hustler’s University videos, describing how he’s deployed what’s called “The Loverboy method”, a strategy where the perpetrator makes a woman fall in love with him to lure her into his sex trafficking business.
Detractors will point to a lack of evidence for the crimes that Tate has been accused of, but it is clear that Romanian authorities have been tracking and building a case against Tate for some time and, if his own words are anything to go by, it seems plain for all to see that he is guilty and belongs in prison.
The fall of man
But the real question we need to be asking is how is it that so many young men are rushing to his defence and excusing his despicable actions?
Why is it that, almost a decade after the start of the #metoo movement, men like Andrew Tate are still so popular? This isn’t the tale of a rotten man so much as it is a tale of a rotten society.
But none of this is new. Male movements are a predictable response to societal shifts. A 2017 Rutgers study found a close correlation between racism and sexism that lines up with the misogynistic responses we see to empowerment movements that prioritise gender or racial equality.
Right now, we’re in a gender equality cycle that is making small, but important progress in reaching economic parity to improve the social standing – and financial independence – of women.
On a global scale, according to the International Labour Oganisation, women earn around 20 percent less than men. But the worldwide gender equality movement creates the idea that business is turning anti-men, especially in countries like SA where there is a strong emphasis on female empowerment in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) industries.
But this isn’t a true reflection of what’s happening in the workplace. And it’s the underreporting of this paradox that may be driving the hopelessness behind declining numbers of males pursuing tertiary degrees.
Fatherhood, or the increased absenteeism of fathers, is another contributing factor to the growing masculinity crisis that sees young men flocking to figures like Tate to establish their gender ideas.
Young men will continue to seek out role models to emulate, and the Andrew Tates, who have perfected the social media content delivery formula, will keep getting new followers.
Masculinity has a cold, and it’s going to take some tender love and care from men in leadership positions to fix it.
[Update] Romanian court has extended Andrew and Tristan Tate’s detention until 27 February 2023.
Featured image: Rostyslav Dryzhov/Flickr