We Need To Talk About Andrew Tate

I’ve recently read several articles discussing the uncomfortable issue many elite schools in the United Kingdom have been grappling with of late, that concerning the extent to which teenage boys of privilege seem to be enamored with the likes of Andrew Tate. If you don’t know who he is, you can Google him, but he’s a former kickboxer who found even greater fame with his online porn sites where girls will tell you what you want to hear. He’s made at least enough money that he can buy flashy cars and live the sort of arrested development lifestyle that would appeal to, well, a teenage boy, none of which would be all that concerning, except that he also happens to be a world-class misogynist who regularly spouts nonsense that women are chattel that belong to men and should not work outside the home. He also doesn’t believe in the concept of consent, which is probably why he’s currently in jail in Romania on human trafficking charges.

He’s a delight.

What’s upsetting to the teachers (and presumably the parents) of the privileged teenaged boys who can’t get enough of Andrew Tate is that THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO KNOW BETTER because they have been TAUGHT better and their parents have ROLE MODELED them better, and who would ever have thought that this sort of toxic masculinity would even find a foothold in young men who have been counseled all their lives that girls can do anything and no means no?

Well, apparently these boys who have been instructed that they must be properly respectful and not misogynistic (and also not racist, or xenophobic, or homophobic), and also that the White Male Patriarchy has been responsible for some bad shit throughout history, are feeling…sad. Unsure. Powerless.

They don’t know where they fit in.

There is no clear path for them anymore.

They don’t know how to approach a girl they like, or how the physical part of the relationship will or should go.

They worry they will be humiliated by the opposite sex if they “do it wrong.”

They feel the world treats them like second class citizens.

Wow, I thought, as I put the magazine down, wiping tears from my eyes and logging on to my computer looking for the GoFundMe page for these lost youth. This is terrible. Why, it’s almost like they’re experiencing a teeny tiny fraction of what it’s like to be a GIRL, or a PERSON OF COLOR. I was really upset.

In an effort to cheer these poor guys up, the teachers have been hosting special day-long panels where they tell them that it’s okay to feel uncertain, or to have questions about sex, or to wonder about how the world is changing and to feel frustrated about the blame that is being heaped on White Men. They’re trying to help these boys feel more self-esteem, but also reinforcing the concept of respecting all people.

I guess we should all feel sort of bad for all of these Royal-adjacent youth, forced-fed political correctness when all they want is a fast car and a hot girl who thinks they’re the business. I mean, they live in a country that rains all the time, and where I hear the native cuisine is something no one likes to talk about.

For thirty-five seconds, maybe. And then they can go clean up after the Queen’s corgis, or decorate for the coronation of Charles III and his White Leather Toilet Seat, because I am all out of f***s to give for a bunch of spoiled boys who worship at the altar of “no means yes and yes means anal.”

Because however sad these boys may feel about not being able to tease girls about their too-small or too-big boobs, or give the smaller kid a swirly after gym class, or call people “gay,” meaning stupid or dweeby or generally uncool, or use racial epithets without consequence (and I have to admit, those WERE the good old days!) it’s STILL harder to be a woman (and I’m going to just focus on being a woman), and here’s how I know:

-Because there AREN’T places in this world where boys have their genitalia mutilated so they will not feel sexual pleasure, and will therefore not become sexually promiscuous.

-Because domestic violence ISN’T one of the leading causes of death for men.

-Because becoming a parent DOESN’T negatively impact your career when you’re a man.

-Because when money is allocated to study a disease that affects men and women equally, the bulk of the funding ISN’T spent on women.

-Because men DO having 100% control over their reproductive rights.

-Because the vast majority of violent crime against men where a suspect has been identified IS prosecuted and no one ever suggests that the man either “made it up” or “was asking for it.”

And that’s just a few little clues that helped me to understand that it is indeed just a wee bit less optimal to be a woman than it is to be a man.

So, boys, forgive me if I can’t manage to muster much sympathy for you, or your parents, that, bereft of a role model you could identify with – in a world that has produced the likes of Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln…sheesh, even Tom Hanks, for Pete’s sake…you chose a miscreant whose need to troll Nobel nominee Greta Thunberg may have been the reason he got arrested in the first place (immediately prior to his arrest, Tate posted a video taunting Thunberg which showed pizza boxes from a Romanian pizza chain, thus confirming that he was in the country at the time).

The thing is, Tate’s message – that women are second class citizens who belong in the home and shouldn’t be allowed to drive – is one that doesn’t take root in a home where children are taught and shown to honor and respect women; where the equality of women is the reality and the truth of their lives, not just lip service. If you teach a child this lesson just as consistently and thoroughly as you teach him not to touch a hot stove or to wash his hands after using the bathroom, his response to the likes of Andrew Tate and those who idolize him will be something akin to disgust.

Many say that women should be treated equally, but it’s not the truth, in many families, in the workplace, in government, in society. Women are still fighting for equality, and instead of wringing our hands over a bunch of schoolboys abroad, perhaps we should be worrying about the fact that women are still fighting the same battles they’ve been fighting for 50 years, with little sign of improvement.

Except that those earnest (and, likely, poorly paid) teachers who are trying to de-program these little Andrew Tate wannabes know that these children of money and connection will grow up to be the kind of men who make laws and control policy. Certainly, it’s better that such men not harbor opinions such as that women “are given to the man and belong to the man.”

I’m going to be 60 next year. When I graduated from Mount Holyoke, full of feminist awareness that I have carried with me all my life, I never thought we’d still be fighting these battles 40 years later. I certainly never believed that some of the most vocal opponents would be other women.

There is still a lot of work to do. I’ve done my best to raise my girls as feminists, with a husband who is acutely supportive of them as women. We all have a hand in this.

Teach your children well.

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