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Why is Andrew Tate Popular?

Who is Andrew Tate and why do young boys listen to him?

By Jamie JacksonPublished about a month ago 7 min read
Andrew Tate on 'Anything Goes With James English' - Creative Commons License

Andrew Tate is a British-American social media personality, former professional kickboxer, attempted reality TV star and a businessman. He is ludicrously popular with boys young men and I’m always equally amused and baffled when yet another think piece comes out in the press scratching its head about why Andrew Tate is as popular as he is.

His popularity is obvious, and this article will explain why.

But first, it seems prudent to state some personal disclaimers: I find Andrew Tate childish, a cartoonish buffoon with a big mouth, the type of character you might mistake as an alpha male if you only watched superhero movies and you’re 14.

He also says a lot of stupid shit, not just about women, but about life, recently announcing “Reading books is for losers.” Holy fuck the guy is a unabashed dick.

I am a father (and stepfather) to four boys. Tate is not a good role model. I’d suggest young men listen to Jordan Peterson, David Goggins, Eric Thomas, Alan Watts, Jocko Wilink, Joe Rogan, Geoff Thompson, Les Brown, Anthony Middleton, Chris Bumstead or any other number of men instead of, or at least before, they listen to Tate.

But it’s an inescapable truth that he, Tate, also says a lot of positive things, and a lot of correct and true things, that can help young men.

Sure, throw enough shit at a wall and some of it sticks, but Tate isn’t worse than any other hyper-aggressive blowhard that men gravitate towards. At least he’s not a drug dealer or a gang leader in the streets. And often, Tate’s tough love message is what needs to be said to lost young men.

After all, it’s not as if any of those gurus mentioned above don’t say the same basic message: Take responsibility for your own shit. They just have more self-awareness and far less need to show off than Tate and his car collection.

Still, none of this changes the fact that men need to feel strong to be happy. It sounds macho, but fuck, what’s wrong with being macho?

I’ve written before about the myth of toxic masculinity, and I stick by it. There is no such thing as toxic masculinity, just a lack of masculinity.

I’d suggest at 14, listening to Tate is still better than listening to a society telling you – a teenage boy – you’re toxic, you’re scary, you’re a danger to women, you’re guilty of ancestral crimes you had nothing to do with, you’re disruptive, you’re a problem to be dealt with, and you’re inherently broken.

Everyone today wants to play the victim. Even the multi-millionaire, world-famous, super-connected literal-royalty power couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle play the victim with cash-grabbing aplomb.

I don’t understand playing the victim because there is no power in it, there is no power in other people’s sympathy. But I guess there is income.

Tate, however, tells young men not to play the victim and to be a man, and boy oh boy, this resonates when society is telling them they’re the problem (more on playing the victim later).

Be honest, what would you do at 16? Let Gillette and government adverts tell you you’re a piece of shit, or listen to Tate, with his girls, cars and millions tell you it’s not just OK to be a man, it’s a virtue?

Perhaps you think society isn’t down on men? And maybe you have a point, but here are some statistics.

Boys are underperforming girls across all ages, education levels, and in most countries – and the divide is worsening. 62,000 fewer boys/men go to university every year than girls/women and 75% of teachers will be female, from pre-school all the way to university. Where are the male role models to help redress this balance?

And it’s not just education that has left males behind. It’s social care also.

96% of the British prison population is male – this is a stable figure over the last 5 years and similar to America. In 2021, 85% of the homeless population in Britain were males. Somewhat terrifyingly, 78% of all suicides are committed by men, and in a hugely disappointing move, the suicide charity Samaritans listed “masculinity” as a main risk for suicide in (middle-aged) men, as if simply being male means you’re built wrong, doomed and, surprise surprise, it’s all your fault for being born a man.

Blaming men for men being unhappy just about sums it all up.

Tate is a symptom of society, a rib bone fashioned from social rejection, he isn’t the root problem.

Perhaps society is over-correcting from when men held all the cards, perhaps you even think this is a good thing, but again, it’s not about what you think – or what I think – it’s about why young men listen to Andrew Tate in the first place. Those facts and figures above are just that, facts and figures. They’re not opinions.

If masculinity was so bad, kids growing up without dads would be better off. But they aren’t. Across the board they are worse off.

Besides, I’m not suggesting “society” is to blame for everything. Far from it. It’s also about the standard human condition. It’s the age-old problems that haunt all of us, especially men.

Boys and men have to show their value to be valued, they have to grow into their worth. They have to become. A good illustration of this is we call certain types of men “losers” all the time, but when was the last time you heard this insult ever applied to a woman?

Young men are obligated to step up to the plate and play the game of life, but when society rejects them, tells them their bad, and competition is uncomfortable and hard, many men simply refuse to play the game. They allow fear to consume them; the fear of conflict, fear of commitment, fear of speaking their mind in today’s cancel culture (just ask Jeremy Clarkson what it’s like to make a joke as a man), they fear judgement, fear struggle, fear discomfort and fear their own cowardice. And of course, then there is most potent fear of all: the fear of failure.

So, often, men refuse to grow up. They become long-term gamers deep into their 20s and 30s, they don’t date, they don’t move out of home, and they seek no purpose. No purpose in life means no obligation and no need to face fear, ergo, those who don’t compete “win” by default. Or at least, not lose.

So we have a sea of men playing not to lose, and these men hide from themselves and they hate themselves because of it. They lack masculinity because they have been told masculinity is toxic and evil, so who wants to be masculine anyway? It’s a thankless task.

And what happens to these weak men? The anger leaks out of them towards their keyboards online, they hate women, blame women, and beat women, they rage at the world. In the worst circumstances, their weakness crescendos with misogynistic terrorism and shooting sprees when it all becomes too much, as previously discussed.

Tate, for all his gigantic faults, just so happens to be the loudest, brightest beacon for disillusioned and rejected young men to give them something they have been lacking, something that is even taboo in today’s climate: masculine encouragement.

In a western world that is ashamed of men, here is their poster boy declaring “Fuck you, this is me, I don’t care if you don’t like me, I’m a man” in his usual bombastic way.

Young men are crying out for this message. Believe it or not, we crave role models, we seek father figures and avuncular guidance, we want to follow and lead, we want a fraternity, a band of brothers, we want to be pushed, and believed in, we want an alpha male to say, “Listen you little bitch, shut up whining and go do what you need to do because, goddammit, you’re capable of so much more.”

I’m continually surprised everyone acts dumbfounded when rejected boys reject straight back and subsequently flock to people like Tate. Is that good? Not necessarily. Tate is morally dubious and mostly selling a fantasy.

But is it understandable and inevitable? Fuck yes.

There is also an inescapable irony that Tate preaches not to play the victim but has inadvertently created a following of pseudo-intellectual incels who see themselves as victims of women’s hypergamy. Probably. Who knows what his followers really think.

Take some solace in all of this, men have always looked for leaders, at least this time the far-right isn’t scooping up these boys like Tommy Robinson or Richard Spencer did a few years ago. Hating immigrants and ethnic groups is out, hating “The Matrix” (Tate’s word for society) is in.

That, at least somewhat, is an improvement.


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About the Creator

Jamie Jackson

Between two skies and towards the night.

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