August 24, 2022 - 7:15am

Former kickboxer and self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate was banned from Facebook, Instagram and TikTok this week. Unfortunately, cancelling him is unlikely to change his fans’ minds about women and the world.

Few people embody misogyny quite as well as Tate. There’s video evidence of him assaulting his ex-girlfriend, and he often speaks disparagingly about women.

The majority of Tate’s 4.7 million Instagram followers were young men. What drew them to a worldview like Tate’s in the first place? 

Messages that positively encourage men are thin on the ground in the mainstream media. Jordan Peterson did help fill some of this vacuum, but his message is often tough, urging people to find meaning in hard work and sacrifice. Many men have good reason to suspect that Petersonian work and sacrifice will never be valued by a society that pathologises masculinity. 

Unlike Peterson, Tate doesn’t deliver theological lectures which many may find hard to follow. He does not preach that sacrifices will be rewarded. Instead, he emphasises physical self-perfection and a domineering attitude, while downplaying the importance of intelligence. (He once made fun of a young boy for reciting pi to 200.)

What could be more appealing to a generation of young men looking for uncomplicated advice on how to be good at life? 

These same young men can compare Tate to a feminist zeitgeist that accuses them of oppressing women — not just in the present, but throughout history. The feminist answer is for young men to take a backseat and give way to their female peers. In many areas of life, such as higher education, this has already occured. Tate then, is the beneficiary of a culture almost designed to generate resentment in these boys. 

Feminists generally fail to consider all the ways in which men may feel powerless. At the same time, women have more choices than ever before. Our culture glorifies conventionally masculine traits in women — remember the ‘girlboss’? — while labelling these same traits in men as toxic. In this perplexing environment, it’s unclear what the new male role should be.

If Tate’s popularity signifies anything, it is that some young men want to end this confusion by embracing the rules of the jungle again. In nature, physical strength is essential for victory, and this is exactly what Tate espouses. He is merely offering insecure men who feel invisible a way of being seen. It’s no coincidence that depression in men may manifest as anger and aggression.

Lecturing men on how to be less toxic and silencing the few voices that address male hopelessness (however inappropriately) is not going to bring peace between the genders. 

If we genuinely want to cultivate a healthy relationship between the sexes, we must acknowledge the pain and confusion men may feel as a result of their ambiguous roles in contemporary society. If more of us were willing to hear them and offer them encouragement, obnoxious figures like Tate would become much less appealing to this generation of lonely young men.

Greta Aurora is a writer, poet and YouTuber.