Former kickboxer Andrew Tate has recently been banned off multiple social media platforms for creating violent, misogynistic content. His Tiktok videos contained troubling assertions such as that rape victims are to blame for their own assaults and that women are the property of men alongside discussions about beating and choking women, how to destroy their belongings and stop them from going out. His content has pushed the boundaries of even the most ardent proponents of free speech, as he appears to be inciting his many followers to violence rather than merely fill their heads with misogynistic artifice. Far from being a cultural anomaly, however, Tate is just the latest and most aggressive ‘manosphere’ personality who uses his platform to target other men. It’s worth exploring why Tate and his content has such a large appeal to young men.
One of the most obvious and frequently cited areas of contention is widespread dissatisfaction with the dating market. Online forums full of ‘Incels’ (involuntary celibates) bombast the aspects of contemporary culture they blame for their lack of success in finding sexual partners. They contend that feminism and dating apps facilitate ‘hypergamy’, with the most successful men being awarded the vast majority of female attention whilst they, for superficial reasons such as their looks, height, job etc., are always rejected. Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that dating apps are unpleasant, and they don’t work for many people — I gave up using them years ago — there are obvious problems with their theories.
Despite their prevalence, dating apps are not the only possible way to find a partner, and Incels also tend to overestimate how much fun women are having on them. Most women I know hate dating apps too and have found little success on them but aren’t turning to extreme content as a result. Whether their grievances are real or imagined, there is a prevailing sense of hopelessness around many young men. As a result, they are being taken to the cleaners by grifters like Andrew Tate whose ‘Hustlers University’ costs $49 per month. Other online courses promising to turn men into ‘Alpha Males’ run as high as $1430 for eight sessions. One Twitter account (with a fake profile picture) and its accompanying blog, promises to teach older men how to simultaneously date numerous younger ‘sugar babies’ via a manual that costs $499.