What do young men really think about Andrew Tate? The Man Cave has done the research

by Women’s Agenda
Tuesday 4 April 2023

Andrew Tate

By now, most of us have heard about controversial social star Andrew Tate and the significant influence he holds over young men.

Tate shot to fame in 2022 with a series of clips online that offered a mix of motivational advice for boys and young men, alongside messages deeply embedded in sexism and aggressive misogyny.

For many teenage boys, it’s an intriguing mix. Tate’s videos have been viewed billions of times online, and at one point last year, Tate’s name was searched on Google more times than Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump.

At the end of last year, the intensity surrounding Tate stepped up a notch, when he was detained in Romania where he faces allegations of rape and human trafficking. Tate denies the allegations and maintains his innocence.

In recent research conducted by The Man Cave, an organisation providing preventative mental health and emotional intelligence workshops to boys in schools, over one-third of boys reported relating to Tate.

Meanwhile, one quarter of boys said they looked up to him as a role model.

Conversely nearly one third said they didn’t relate to Tate, and 44 per cent reported not looking up to him as a role model.

There was also a segment of boys who had split opinions on Tate – often, they admired his motivation and his strong work ethic, but rejected his misogynistic views about women.

Hunter Johnson, founder and CEO of The Man Cave, says it’s crucial we unpack these nuances with young men.

“Andrew Tate has mastered the art of using social media to slowly radicalise millions of young men’s belief systems,” Johnson says. “His mindset, business skills and work-ethic orientated content has acted as a gateway to his more extremist content (around the misogyny and abuse of women, amongst others)”. 

“If we don’t unpack this nuance with young men, we risk further isolating and inflaming a generation who have grown up inheriting a story that they are inherently “toxic” and the problem to be solved.

“Growing up with this narrative will only lead to more violence, confusion, loneliness and harm for them, their relationships and our communities.”

According to Johnson, it would be all too easy in our fast-paced, clickbait, cancel-friendly world, to reject Tate outright, and judge young men for liking him, or liking some aspects of his messaging.

“The reality is that Tate is resonating with young men and our collective role is to make a genuine effort to understand why this is the case and approach the subject with young men from a place of curiosity over judgement,” Johnson says.

It’s something that Johnson has done at The Man Cave, both in workshops in schools across the country, and in this recent research. Between September and November 2022, The Man Cave asked 1,374 young men to respond to 5 questions about Tate as part of a post-workshop evaluation. (Note: the research was conducted before Tate was detained).

It was the first time in Australia that young men had been directly asked about their perspectives on Tate, and it has provided an excellent insight into what they know about Tate, and if they relate, or look up to him.

“Our experience has led us to understand that Tate is speaking to young men in a way that isn’t resentful, condescending, or accusatory. He is among one of the only people on the global stage doing that,” Johnson explains.

Johnsons says the correct response to Tate isn’t to silence or condemn his followers. The correct response is to agree, and say yes, it is good to be a man – but then follow that with a better and clearer vision of what it really means to be a man.

“That’s what young men are looking for, they are looking for direction and guidance,” Johnson says.

In workshops through The Man Cave, high school aged boys are given the opportunity to see a variety of role models, regardless of their gender, sexuality or race. It’s an integral part of counteracting the negative influence a figure like Tate can have.

“There are many different ways to be a healthy young man, and by showing them different expressions of masculinity, boys can begin to explore their own identity. Our workshops are a great example of this,” Johnson says.

“We have a large group of super diverse and relatable facilitators, all with their own expressions of healthy masculinity, and they’re kind of like the cool older cousin that you’d want to hang out with when you were at the family gathering.

“They’re able to have fun and throw banter with the boys, but are also able to step into authenticity and vulnerability, and demonstrate leadership even when it might be challenging. 

“We’ve had countless bits of feedback from boys, educators, parents, family members, friends after workshops that tell us that these role models provide a means for these boys to step more into themselves.”

So what should we take away from the research on Tate?
For Johnson, it’s imperative we accept that many boys are feeling disconnected from the world around them – it’s having very real mental health impacts, and leaving many feeling lost. This feeling of alienation is leading to the radicalisation of young men into extremist groups through online forums and social media.

“We know boys are desperate for positive stories and examples of what it means to be a man of character, conviction and clarity. This is the void that men like Tate seek to fill, and right now, it’s working,” Johnson says.

“These young men are feeling alienated by society, and Tate along with many others, are providing young men with a sense of belonging that they’re not getting anywhere else.”

The situation is reinforcing the need for preventative, early intervention services – like workshops run by The Man Cave – which provide teenage boys with impactful programs, healthy male role models and resources they will actually use. 

“Programs like ours, which are delivered by our group of diverse, relatable, highly-trained facilitators, do exactly this,” Johnson says.

“We need to give boys the space to express themselves and explore the nuance of highly-charged topics. 

“Most importantly, we must stop telling young men what version of masculinity they ‘shouldn’t be’ and present back to them an evolved and clear model of modern manhood that is both attainable and inspirational.”