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Andrew Tate and the radicalisation of teenage boys

Many adults may only have first heard of Andrew Tate when he was arrested on people-trafficking charges in Romania last month, said Anna Fazackerley in The Observer.

But in schools across Britain, the social media influencer known as “the king of misogyny” is already a “hugely familiar figure”. Teachers say that teenage boys are being sucked into his “glamorous” ultra- macho world, where they are exposed to his disturbing views: that women are essentially chattels, who belong in the home. Tate thinks rape victims should “bear responsibility” for the attacks on them, and boasts about seeking out 18-year-old girls because they are “fresh”. Teachers say that his views are fuelling a rise in misogynistic attitudes. Some even describe his influence as “grooming” or “radicalisation”. 

‘Hustler’s University’

The former kickboxer, who was born in the US but grew up in Luton, amassed millions of followers on social media before he was banned by most platforms, said Mary Harrington on UnHerd. The offer he makes to the many young men who follow him, or subscribe to his “Hustler’s University”, is “that freedom, wealth, fast cars, and a super-abundance of hot, compliant chicks” may be acquired by any man who frees himself from what he calls “socially induced incarceration”. It’s “an unholy mashup” of macho wish-fulfilment with extreme individualism. Tate also runs an online porn business and, according to Romanian prosecutors, has coerced young women into working for him.

Tate denies the charges, but by his own account he is an advocate of the “loverboy” method of sexual exploitation. In a now-deleted website post, he said: “My job was to meet a girl, go on a few dates, sleep with her, test if she’s quality, get her to fall in love with me to where she’d do anything I say, and then get her on webcam so we could become rich together.”

‘Sexism is always with us’

Clearly, Tate is a “toxic” figure, said Martin Robinson in the Evening Standard. To tackle his influence, we need to “understand his appeal”. Partly, it’s a question of “simple confidence”: his swaggering persona attracts young men “at a time when social media is scything self-esteem”. Yet “his extra twist” is paranoia and conspiratorial thinking. Men don’t just need to toughen up, he argues: they need to see that there are forces – the system, the Matrix – “trying to prevent them from doing so”.

Some claim that Tate’s rise is a symptom of a profound crisis in masculinity, said Martha Gill in The Observer. I suspect it’s simpler than that: that sexism is always with us, and that young men, like everyone else, “will behave as badly as society permits”.

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