“Andrew Tate”, two words that high school teacher *Jenny explains, sends her classroom constantly into chaos.
The mere mention of the controversial creator currently arrested on sex trafficking charges has become a constant problem in the co-ed high school that Jenny teaches at.
Before Tate was de-platformed, he had amassed billions of views, and while he might be in prison now, his ideas are out there in the world and are now being parroted by teenage boys here in Australia.
Andrew Tate’s views on how men should behave are considered controversial. Source: supplied
Jenny, who teaches English at a high school in Sydney, has found that this name frequently gets brought up in her classroom.
“My male students just quote his name. I could be teaching a class about pyramids in Egypt, and they’ll be like. What do you think about Andrew Tate? Or they’ll start chanting his name, which becomes this huge disruption,” she told news.com.au.
Tate’s rhetoric is misogyny meets masculinity.
He’s famous for viral quotes like: “If you are my friend, you can’t be a pussy,” and: “The masculine perspective is you have to understand that life is war. It’s a war for the female you want. It’s a war for the car you want. It’s a war for the money you want. It’s a war for status. Masculine life is war.”
He has taken toxic masculinity and thrown gasoline on it, and the rhetoric is swallowing up Australian classrooms.
Australian classrooms are being taken over by Andrew Tate. Source: iStock Credit:smolaw11
Jenny is currently teaching in the trenches and is alarmed by how much Tate influences the young men in her classroom.
“It has become propaganda. It is really concerning that the 12 and 13 years old boys that I teach are spurting back the toxic dialogue he is famous for,” she said.
Interestingly, Jenny finds that her students don’t quote Tate verbatim but instead condense his ideas: “They simplify his ideas and don’t really understand. So, they are just saying scary things, making me think, “Are we back in the 1950s?”
The result has created an unequal balance in the classroom between Jenny’s male and female students.
“It has really encouraged this idea that men should be proud of being men. So it gives these young boys this notion that they are better than women. I have never met such conservative children,” she explained.
Controversial influencer Andrew Tate has been banned by Facebook and Instagram. Image: SuppliedAndrew Tate’s words are being repeated in classrooms. Source: Supplied
Jenny has noted that the impact of Tate results in the boys being negatively influenced by the toxic masculinity they are spewing.
“It has made the boys more scared of showing any kind of vulnerability or femininity, and it has created these ultraconservative young men,” she said.
Plus, their obsession with Tate means the boys in her class are constantly making sexist remarks: “They say things to their female peers like, what do you know you are just a woman! Or why do you need maths? You’ll be in the kitchen.”
Another frontline educator that is seeing the direct impacts of Andrew Tate is Finn Ó Branagáin.
She is the CEO of OUTLOUD, an organisation that runs RESPECT, an early intervention program for boys in primary school that teaches them about gender stereotypes and violence against women.
She is constantly confronted by how deeply Tate has entrenched himself in the way young men think.
“In the last year in particular, we’ve seen more pushback in the messages around gender equity in the schools, with boys citing Tate as a voice of authority,” she explained.
Ó Branagáin believes he has had such an impact because he positions himself as aspirational yet relatable.
“Firstly his messages are easily repeatable, and Tate claims that he is a “respectful man,” despite holding extremist misogynistic views. He also is speaking as an extremely wealthy person, flaunting his possessions as clout.”
Tate isn’t introducing new ideas, he’ll play on the old-dated trope that men should be the providers and then add a sick twist. For instance he believes that women should be provided for – an old fashion value – but then will tack on that he thinks women are property.
Ó Branagáin thinks that the familiarity of his ideas adds to the allure.
“They are just severe versions of ‘traditional’ ideas of gender roles, which they may be already used to hearing,” she explained.
Andrew Tate has managed to become part of Australian pop culture.
She can also see that his views can become inescapable for young men online: “The algorithms that drive social media, particularly TikTok, which young people frequently use, meaning that once this sort of content is engaged, the viewers are served more and more similar videos, which normalises this worldview.”
Even though Tate has been banned from TikTok, plenty of other accounts are still reposting and recreating old videos of him. So his message is still getting out there and constantly reaching a fresh and seemingly young audience.
Dr Camilla Nelson, who is an academic and gender expert at the University of Notre Dame Australia, is unsurprised that Tate has such a chokehold on young men.
“Tate preys on young boys’ normal insecurities, about wealth, looks, and relationships and twists them into something toxic, particularly toxic towards women.
“He works by saying a few things that may sound superficially reasonable, like get fit, get healthy, and look after your mental health, but then threads this through with extreme hate, like all women are objects, and women ask to be raped,” She explained.
Still, Nelson can also see that the rise of Tate doesn’t mean all hope is lost and perhaps he is proof that things are really changing.
“He is a product of a misogynistic backlash. But given that you need to have some progress on gender equity to talk about a backlash against it, there might even be a few overall positives that get missed in the conversation,” she said.
“Society has changed, and gender norms around masculinity have shifted. But unfortunately, that’s also why the ‘manosphere’ throws up these toxic figures. We certainly shouldn’t let guys like Tate suck all the air out of the gender conversation.”
For Jenny, it is hard for her to feel optimistic about the future of young men.
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Tate’s impact on the classroom has even made her reconsider her teaching career: “They are buying into a discourse that they don’t understand. It makes me rethink my teaching career because I don’t want to be around this.”
*Jenny’s name has been changed to protect her identity