Toxic Masculinity: The Andrew Tate Effect

POST International Women’s Day 2023, there is much to celebrate.

Societal treatment of women has generally improved over the decades in such a way that we are approaching equality with men.

However, we must remember that all of this progress has been made through consistent struggle, and so will the progress to come.

Even in 2023, the way women and gender minorities are treated leaves a lot to be desired.

Lately there has been a growing trend of misogyny being portrayed as a desirable trait, particularly on social media, which we need to examine carefully.

The best-known example of social media becoming increasingly hostile to women and gender minorities is Andrew Tate.

The social media personality has become something of an icon on platforms like TikTok, where he continues to garner plenty of views and admiration, especially from men who want to embrace his ultra-masculine state of being.

Though Tate and his brother Tristan were arrested and have been in jail on human trafficking charges since late 2022 for forcing women to create paid pornography for social media, it hasn’t particularly affected his aura.

In fact, many of his followers have become even more convinced of his legitimacy.

This brand of masculinity isn’t just limited to Tate, but to many other male influencers.

The message conveyed largely serves to measure one’s self-worth through material acquisition or the deepening of a particular type of religiosity, and to characterize women as subordinate to men.

This appeals to men who are looking for a way out of capitalism’s system of oppression and feel threatened by the rising voice of women.

On the influencers’ side, whether they’re from that community themselves or simply using it to boost their economic status, they’ve found a manipulable audience who will carry their word.

The appeal of this network of influencers and groups, collectively referred to as the manosphere, dictates specific simplified solutions to the highly complex problems faced by men, created by both patriarchy and capitalism. Men are falling behind in education today.

In Malaysia, enrollment figures show that 70% of university students are female.

Malaysian male suicide rates have also increased disproportionately to females.

The common Asian mentality of expecting men to provide for their families economically continues to depress men as the cost of living increases much faster than salaries.

Patriarchy also inculcated the mentality that men need to be physically and mentally strong, which causes men to face a loneliness crisis as they rarely talk to others about their problems.

Living in this hegemony, men are offered the solution of rejecting feminism, blaming women for not getting jobs (blaming affirmative action programs), rejecting them romantically, and rejecting the role of women in society as equal with men by favoring so-called traditionalist values.

In addition, programs to improve economic status by any means necessary.

Tate once called his webcam business model a total scam as a badge of honor for his success.

Vulnerable men are widely sold fast luxury cars, expensive suits and a bombastic, embellished lifestyle as the desired end-state by which women can be controlled as a commodity.

This creates a transactional nature of thinking that spills over into other aspects of life.

Often, men who are frustrated because they lack the social skills necessary to interact with women they are romantically interested in use terms like “high quality men” and “low quality women” to distinguish themselves and with to deal with their mistakes.

They put themselves above everyone else except men equal or more successful, and demure women who show individuality and ask to be treated with respect.

In conversation, these men sometimes demand submissiveness and force themselves to make decisions in favor of the women they are interested in, ordering for them at restaurants and deciding what to wear.

The conversation should not be treated as between two people, but as a master ordering his subordinate to behave in a certain way.

The greater appeal of this type of behavior is the feeling of taking back control of a scary and unpredictable life.

Tate is selling a lifestyle where all his desires are attainable and he is infallible.

This is said to make the ideal man traditional in nature, the right state of man before the modern world stripped him of his alpha closeness or religiosity, going back to a desirable (but false) image of a time when men were far more powerful.

In reality, those on the fringes are only a little more centered, although working-class oppression remains.

According to Karl Marx, the working class faces a deep sense of dissonance, demotivation and uneasiness because of its alienation from the means of production.

When people become disconnected from the performance of their work and their full worth, and when they become one of many cogs in a larger system designed to enrich other people, they will feel as if their humanity has been stripped away .

In this state of insecurity, coupled with low wages and a lack of social security, the working class as a whole is being forced to find solutions to its dilemma.

Since the only real solution is a protracted, difficult struggle to overthrow the system for a truly egalitarian (socialism), simpler false solutions are instead sold that perversely monetize capitalism’s unsettling social effects.

It’s not the system that oppresses you, it’s feminism gone wild. Or it’s migrants flooding your country. Or it’s social justice fighters and snowflakes demanding better working conditions.

There are many iterations and the manosphere is one of them.

In reality, however, specific steps need to be taken to address this in Malaysian society, which is not immune to the manosphere.

We have already seen the social media mentality discussed above. Women are treated as if they were objects.

Sexual videos and pictures of them are freely shared, deep falsifications are made of them, and women’s grievances have often been brushed aside as feminism ran wild.

Also, a common narrative is that marital rape doesn’t even exist!

The ever-increasing nature of toxic masculinity fueled by social media gurus needs to be addressed effectively.

The only way to do this holistically is to understand the alienating nature of capitalism and find a way to channel everyone’s frustration in order to destroy it.

Educating the masses about the role of patriarchy in distracting attention from this issue should be as much a focus as racism, religious segregation and other forms of bigotry.

We must understand that relationships between people should be based on mutual respect, regardless of gender, sexuality, religion or belief.

Although we hate to admit it, the sexist, misogynist individuals we see on social media as recipients of the ideology sold by the likes of Tate may just be vulnerable, frightened individuals rampaging at a manipulative teacher and the wrong ones bark at tree.

It is then up to us to re-educate them.

Comments: Toxic Masculinity: The Andrew Tate Effect

Russell Falcon

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