Self-described misogynist Andrew Tate, the online influencer known for his high-volume rants — including referring to women as men’s physical and financial property, saying women “bear some responsibility” for being raped and himself being investigated for both human trafficking and rape charges — has been banned from social media.
This censoring is significant for Tate, who gained his fame as a hypermasculine kickboxer promoting male superiority across all the major social media platforms. Before being shut down, his TikTok account had amassed over 11 billion views. He had 4 million Twitter followers, 4.7 million Instagram followers, 768,000 YouTube subscribers and millions of clicks and shares on Facebook.
Meta, which owns both Facebook and Instagram, said Tate violated its policies on “dangerous organizations and individuals.” Spokespersons from TikTok, Twitter and YouTube have shared similar sentiments with a number of media outlets.
Along with touting his misogyny, Tate brands himself a “success coach.” Hustler’s University, Tate’s subscription-based online course and affiliate marketing program, described by some as a pyramid scheme, shut down over the weekend but not before amassing over 100,000 subscribers, according to its website.
Tate’s social media ban is significant considering the main audience eating up his rhetoric: a younger generation of men. Geared toward millennials, his messaging has also found a following among male teenagers.
Why is it important to pay attention to who many are writing off as just the latest over the top social media influencer? What he represents, said Josh Roose, a political sociologist and senior research fellow at Deakin University in Melbourne, is a dramatic shift taking place in online misogyny: moving beyond the sexualization and dismissal of women (which much of Tate’s material promotes) to also encouraging gendered hate and violence.
Equating hyperviolence with hypermasculinity makes Tate especially dangerous
The “manosphere” is a term used by sociologists to describe the online ecosystem of anti-women websites — from those that actively promote extremist behavior, violence against women or incel culture, to those that share views on a perceived “final frontier” of traditionally masculine values or are interested, to varying degrees, in male superiority.
Tate’s rise and popularity in the manosphere realm hasn’t necessarily been unique — Dan Bilzerian, Jordan Peterson and Roosh Valizadeh currently occupy online spaces promoting their own visions of masculinity, gender and politics to “millions of angry, somewhat isolated, sort of lonely, insecure men,” said Roose.
Bilzerian has been known to promote a hypersexualized, playboy lifestyle; Peterson, a clinical psychologist, has become famous for his culturally conservative politics and views that masculinity “is in crisis”; and Valizadeh, who gained an internet following as a pickup artist, has been under fire for his misogynistic discourse and anti-feminist views.
What sets Tate apart from his social media predecessors, said Roose, is how distinctly violent his brand can get.
“I view Andrew Tate as part of a continuum of actors,” Roose said. “Entrepreneurs who get online and are prepared to do and say whatever it takes to gain a following. He is violently misogynistic in terms of his outlooks on women and sexuality as a whole. He frames life as a battle — men as warriors and women as domesticated, subordinate servants.”
This battle mindset — punctuated by videos of Tate doing things like wielding a machete, speaking gratuitously of his own fighting skills, while simultaneously demeaning women and their physical abilities — is particularly poignant coming from the former professional kickboxer. In 2016, he was booted from the U.K. reality TV show “Big Brother” after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman with a belt, which he said was consensual.
He latches onto the sporting “us versus them” ethos — one that continues to permeate most male locker rooms and sports worldwide — and applies it to society’s attachment to the gender binary.
And he doesn’t limit his diatribes to just women. Tate has also described those with mental health issues as “weak” and “lazy,” and said that depression isn’t real. If you’re sad, it’s because your life is not good — it’s not like his.
“You feel sad, you move on … You will always be depressed if your life is depressing,” he tweeted in 2017.
“If you’re not successful and driving Lamborghinis, then you’re crap,” Roose said of Tate’s messaging. “He’s built this up to not only gain more followers and finance, but also to mold the world around him, which he’s doing in some aspects.”
His violence is influencing a younger generation of males navigating what it means to be male in society
Young men — teens to millennials — comprise the vast majority of Tate’s following, said Roose, who also specializes in extremism and its intersections with masculinities, economies and law.
Tate’s messaging has been attractive within the spectrum of the manosphere, latching in particular onto a distinct brand of young, male anger.
“If you want to know where Andrew Tate is gaining traction, it’s more likely to be in the white-collar sector among educated, younger men who work out at gyms on the weekend or after work,” Roose said. “Younger men are more likely to hold anti-women attitudes in terms of women’s rights — that women’s rights has gone too far.”
In broad terms, this traction Tate and other misogynists have gained, Roose said, can be attributed to male insecurities about their place in the working world.
The “traditional” male ideals of breadwinning and physical labor, often imbued with sexism, Roose said (men as the strong and sole provider), has largely faded in our society. Instead, work has become increasingly non-gendered, individualized and competitive.
Tate’s rhetoric has harnessed the concerns, fears, insecurities and hate of younger generations of men who see the changing landscape — a society where a man’s identity might no longer be intertwined with one’s professional and social status (especially relative to women) — as a devaluation of their masculinity.
Tate is the latest key player in a larger, concerning movement
The impact of Tate’s messaging should not be considered separately from other attacks on women and their freedoms, Roose said — from the rampant online harassment and judgment of women to the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, they are all part of the same larger conversation: how violence against women will be defined for generations moving forward.
“We’re seeing this seed being planted for a new generation of men who don’t respect women and who have deep-seeded animosity toward women’s rights,” Roose said.
Extreme misogyny, historically speaking, is nothing new. But the breadth and depth of its messaging via social media — “reaching kids in their living rooms,” Roose said — is something to be concerned with. In particular, through the messaging of influencers such as Tate, online misogyny has elevated beyond sexualization to, specifically, hate.
“How many men are really bashing their wives, in particular young men? Or partaking in incredibly harmful activity in the private sphere? How many of them are engaging with [Tate’s] material and being deeply influenced by it?” Roose asked.
Data that answers these questions is often incomplete. Such behavior is more prevalent than is reported, Roose said.
And it is easier to blow up on social media using controversy and absolutes, as Tate has done, than it is by promoting healthy masculine ideals — examples of which are ubiquitous, Roose said, but need to be championed more fiercely moving forward, rather than demeaned.
And what about the anti-Andrew Tates of the social media world?
Roose cited Adam Goodes, an Indigenous Australian soccer player, and Colin Kaepernick, an American football player, as examples of famous athletes who promoted healthier versions of masculinity — tolerance and community work in particular.
Goodes, whose mother is of the Australian Aboriginal Stolen Generation, has championed Indigenous rights, causes and culture throughout Australia. Kaepernick used his platform to raise awareness of civil rights and the Black experience in America.
But when they spoke out against racism and hate, their messages were politicized, condemned and literally booed.
Still, speaking out is what is needed to fight against the messages that popular social media misogynists are trying so desperately to spread, said Roose.
“If we don’t collectively stand up and advocate, research and speak out [against misogyny],” said Roose. “The opposition, so to speak, is so organized that we will be dragged, kicking and screaming, back to them.”
Thanks to Alicia Benjamin for copy editing this article.