Deputy Current Affairs Editor Tiarnan O’Rourke takes a look at the rise of angry young men on the internet and what factors drive them to beacons like Tate.
When scouring the internet for information regarding the plight of women many articles will come up. Statistics will appear that discuss the high rates of violence against women in many areas of society. The issue often found with this kind of mindset is that it is a generalisation of the statistics. For example, in 2021 one could say women were most affected than any other group by violence; that is not an untrue statement with women accounting for 82% of sexual offences according to the central statistics office (CSO). However, in the same year, men were also the overwhelming victims of homicide at 69% and assault statistics still consistently see higher rates of men affected, ranging from 55% to 60% over the period of 2018 to 2021. In the year 2020, 338 of the 465 total suicides in the Republic of Ireland were men. Homeless statistics from 2016 continue the trend of men being at disadvantage in society, showing nearly 50% more men sleeping rough than women.
The above is the guts of every viral Jordan Peterson clip on Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and for those old enough- Facebook. Those statistics are not false, in fact, they’re stark reminders of the inequalities in our society, built up over years and years by both men and women who have justified certain behaviour among certain groups. For women in particular modern-day fourth or fifth-wave feminists, it’s a reminder that women still can’t walk home at night in the dark, and that so many women still have a friend or a family member that will take advantage of them, boys and men have also been taken advantage of by people they trusted both male and female.v
“All that time they (men) spend snivelling about how hard it is to be a poor persecuted man nowadays is just a way of adroitly shirking their responsibility to make themselves a little less the pure products of patriarchy,”: Pauline Harmange wrote in her 2020 Book ‘I Hate Men’. It’s a common mentality that can be observed amongst feminists. When statements like those by Pauline Harmange are thrown about it is inevitably going to cause discontent, and with one extreme comes another. There is a palpable rise of internet personalities like Andrew Tate, Sneako, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Pearl Davies all of whom have been blasted extensively on social media while amassing huge followings. They range from one end of the extreme to the other, and often the degrees of their extremity can chart someone’s stage in the anti-feminist pipeline.
Ben Shapiro in recent times has been found to be more of a quippy mouthpiece than the intellectual he would often like himself to be seen, but Dr Jordan Peterson on the other hand came to prominence when most of us were still only in our early teens when he refused to accept state legislation that required him to use whatever preferred pronouns people had. He has since become a leading figure in what can loosely be called the ‘Men’s Mental Health Movement’ it’s not as coherent as the feminist movement but it’s clearly something that’s garnered support in the past few years. It was refreshing for many young men as Peterson would allow himself to be emotional in interviews.
Following on from men’s mental health Paterson began to discuss masculinity, the basis of a large quantity of his work. This is where the emergence of the feared masculinity comes in. Paterson discusses the concept of being a dangerous man, this in and of itself is not actually dangerous as what he discusses is just strong men with values who hold themselves to a high standard. Not too dissimilar to the kind of values instilled into young women. This appeals to young men, who feel that they have been handed the dregs of the patriarchy and are now to be blamed for it.
The sigma male is a continuation of this, videos of strong male characters doing even the most menial tasks have been backed by some phonk music and is now a beloved meme format. The iconic smoky clip of Thomas Shelby head down fag in hand is often accompanying a clip of a mildly to extremely sexist clip. But it’s exactly that strong male character that 14-year-old boys find inspiring.
Andrew Tate is the next name on the list, the former world kickboxing champion needs little introduction, easily the biggest name on the internet at the moment. His followers are like an army, most are not the average redditor, these are young men enthralled by all of the Tate persona and it does feel like even in prison he has a true army of physically fit young men who feel marginalised by the new world.
Tate’s messages on Tik Tok have been viewed millions of times and at this stage they have reached almost every young man with a phone. His messaging: ‘regardless of what you are now, you can be like me’- that is a Top G with the most beautiful half-naked woman at your service. Mixed among his motivational words is sexist rhetoric. Which at times is truly quite abhorrent, while other times it is a lot closer to the opinions genuinely held by many young men in particular regarding sexual triumphs and modesty among women, but once you’ve listened to enough of Tate’s stories why would you stop when he says something you may not initially agree with.
Tate also utilises this idea that women only use feminism when it’s convenient, something again that a lot of people agree with, something that there’s even some feminist discourse around; ‘girl-boss’ self-serving capitalist feminism or intersectionalist feminist. Tate’s over simplistic way of explaining that leaves young men so eager to hear more “The king moves one square at a time and the queen can just zip across the board. So you’re partying in Miami – you see all these chicks on a boat. For the man to get on that boat, he has to move one square at a time: he has to get a good job, he has to get his credit right, he has to go through all this shit, stage by stage … a chick, what does she need? Lip fillers? Boom. Zip. That is the difference between the king and the queen.” He is extremely dangerous here, but it’s something that goes deeper than trophy girlfriends and wives. It again comes back to feminism- feminism being the opposing force to young men living good lives.
What is even scarier is the introduction of Pearl Davis into the mix, the daughter of a former member of the board of directors of the UN women’s council, her presence on the internet amid Andrew Tate’s imprisonment has filled what seemed to be an unfillable void. What makes Davis so powerful is her femaleness being a justifier for young men to agree with her opinions. ‘If a woman does not think women should be sleeping around then they shouldn’t be’- this is the mental process her followers must go through. She’s also an attractive woman, so it feels like she’s truly choosing to agree with the ‘truth’ despite having the option to possibly jump across that chess board.
The moral of Tate’s story in the young male psyche is in need of a leader. The guy literally lives in a mansion, has millions of euros, has copious amounts of sex, and smokes cigars, he’s developed an army of young men who seem almost unwavering in their obedience to him. He is to many young men on the internet; seen as a paradigm of success. These young men see the world they wish to live in as broken down by women and the broader feminist movement around them. Either way, there is undoubtedly a movement of disenchanted young men resisting the feminist movement and mainstream media. If and when Tate dies in prison or does a Trumpesque call to arms our society may not be united enough to withstand such a social shift. It is a sort of rebellion waiting to happen.