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Why Andrew Tate’s Unprovoked Attack On Greta Thunberg Shows Growing Insecurity In Men!

Andrew Tate is the face of toxic masculinity and a corrosive influence on young boys and men who will become insecure, entitled toxic males.

Two days after Christmas, former Kickboxing World Champion and ‘manosphere’ influencer, Andrew Tate decided to take a random dig at environmental activist , Greta Thunberg on Twitter-

“Hello @GretaThunberg” he tweeted to his 3.4 million followers. “I have 33 cars. My Bugatti has a w16 8.0L quad turbo. My TWO Ferrari 812 competizione have 6.5L v12s. This is just the start. Please provide your email address so I can send a complete list of my car collection and their respective enormous emissions.”

Twenty four hours later, when the unprovoked post started going viral with over 182K likes and 23.8K retweets, Greta Thunberg gave a fitting reply

“yes, please do enlighten me. email me at [email protected]”.

Though both posts had roughly the same number of views, Thunberg’s putdown garnered over 2.5M likes and 500 K retweets, with people calling it the greatest burn of all times.

Immature, gross male entitlement on display

An enraged Tate then went ballistic. He first responded with “How dare you”, then tried an extremely puerile

“Thank you for confirming via your email address that you have a small penis. The world was curious. And I do agree you should get a life”, while also releasing a video of himself smoking a cigar and describing Thunberg as “a slave to the Matrix”.

Beyond the smooth comeback, Greta Thunberg maintained a dignified silence, but Tate continued interacting with his fans indicated that Thunberg needed to be f***ed by Tate, and he saying that she wasn’t ready for him yet.

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Tate a corrosive influence on adolescents and young men

All round it was a pathetic display of immature taunting, insecure boasting and gross male entitlement. That the unprovoked taunting and the subsequent meltdowns took place so publicly also opens up a debate on the corrosive influence that such ‘manosphere’ influencers might have on adolescents and young men who are struggling to find their place in the world and articulate their views on gender.

Tate is probably the best known voice in ‘manosphere’, a virtual space where men allegedly talk about “men’s issues” like fitness, dating, relationships, finance, and father’s rights. While all these are important topics and men certainly need a supportive ecosystem where they can discuss them, ‘manosphere’ doesn’t stop at offering guidance and support. The ‘manosphere’ actively promotes an anti-woman and anti-feminist ideology, where establishing the inherent superiority of men seems more important than helping young men negotiate a world which is striving towards gender equity.

Tate, for instance, describes himself as “absolutely a sexist” and “absolutely a misogynist,” and has gone on record saying that women “belong in the home” and that they are “given to the man and belong to the man.” He promotes a lifestyle that promotes the traditional form of masculinity which describes the male as protector, provider and patriarch, and restricts the role of woman to property which exists only to serve the man. He has, in the past, been removed from a reality show after a video surfaced of him hitting a woman, and he was recently de-platformed from many social media platforms for his extreme misogynistic views. Parents and educators are concerned about the growing popularity of ‘manosphere’ influencers like Andrew Tate, and have expressed their fear that by endorsing male superiority, they are radicalizing young men and challenging the struggle towards gender equity.

Entitled men a response to growing influence of feminism?

With more women asserting their right to greater gender parity at home and in the workplace, men are starting to feel that they are in danger of losing their social status and privilege.

The demand for equality challenges privilege, and instead of embracing a more equitable world, many young men are starting to believe that feminism is a part of a global assault on masculinity. ‘Manosphere’ influencers like Andrew Tate work on the insecurities of these men and convince them that feminism will ensure they are emasculated, disposable, disrespected, discarded or even forgotten. They then radicalise the men with their clarion call towards reclaiming their “lost” masculinity and reasserting masculine sexual, physical and emotional authority over women.

This is an extremely worrying phenomenon, because in the guise of empowering them, ‘manosphere’ influencers like Tate are actually radicalising young men. Young men are being taught that it is weak to express emotions, that they are failures unless they have a subservient girlfriend, and that ‘real men’ have the right to exercise coercive control and inflict sexual and physical abuse on women. These radicalised young men feel threatened when women (and men) speak of gender equity, and perceive women’s empowerment as an erosion of their ‘masculine superiority’. For them, feminists are the enemy and feminism is ideology to be fought. Their belief of male dominance and female subservience is at odds with the quest for gender parity.

The ‘manosphere’ ideology can only be countered by a two-pronged approach

Social media platforms should actively prevent the dissemination of problematic views expressed by Tate and other ‘manosphere’ influencers like him. While one can argue that censoring certain kind of content goes against the premise of free speech, it must be realised that freedom of expression cannot extend to hate speech, and extreme misogyny is a form of hate speech. Routine offenders like Tate should be de-platformed, and the reach of their old videos should be restricted.

In the long term, however, the only counter is through behaviour change communications. It is not sufficient that girls and women are empowered, it is equally important to enable boys and men to find their place in a society moving towards greater gender equity.

In a gender just world, men and women are the natural allies of each other. Young men should be empowered to understand that while it may appear that their privileges are being taken away, in reality, equity will enable people of all genders to be themselves instead of being forced to confirm to gender demarcated roles.

While Twitterati largely swooned over Greta Thunberg and the befitting response she gave Andrew Tate when he launched an unprovoked attack on her, his core group of followers still enjoyed how he “put her in her place”. This radicalisation of young men is not healthy, and needs to be recognised and countered.

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About the Author

Natasha Ramarathnam

Natasha works in the development sector, where most of her experience has been in Education and Livelihoods. She is passionate about working towards gender equity, sustainability and positive climate action. And avid reader and occasional read more...

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