The Andrew Tate controversy and how young Australian men view him

The Andrew Tate controversy and how young Australian men view him

Andrew Tate, a British online content creator, has been a hot topic because of his dangerous content, which is “explicitly misogynistic, homophobic, sexist and conspiratory.” One of Tate’s controversial statements was “Women should not be allowed to drive and belong to men in a marriage.”

The new research by Amanda Keddie, Josh Roose, and Michael Flood, focused on the problematic views on sex, gender, and race, and aimed to understand young Australian men's online experiences, and how critical they are, given that their views tend to be absent from these discussions.

The Tate controversy and how young Aussie men responded to Tate’s content

Titled ‘How are boys and young men experiencing their online worlds?’, the study has been funded by Deakin University and the Office of eSafety Commissioner.

The study seeks to better understand the role the online world plays in the lives of boys and young men.

“Our research, based on interviews with young Australian men, shows there is a diverse range of views about controversial figures such as “manfluencer” Andrew Tate,” the researchers said. “We found many young men are able to engage critically with this content. This is an encouraging finding.”

“We spoke to 117 young Australian men, aged 16 to 21. We did 25 online focus groups and 25 follow-up individual interviews during July and August last year. The group reflected diverse backgrounds and identities,” they said. “Part of our report included a case study on young men’s views of Tate.”

According to the researchers, Tate’s influence on young boys’ views and behaviour, particularly towards their female teachers, has sparked deep concern among researchers in Australia.

Tate, aside from his misogynistic remarks, is now facing trial over the case of alleged human trafficking and rape in Romania, the latter Tate vehemently denied.

Worryingly, some of the respondents told the researchers that they find Tate’s controversial content “an important source of inspiration for general self-improvement and manhood.”

Citing the response of the 16-year-old “Drew,” a ‘straight’ who lives with disability: “I haven’t watched every single video, but the occasional few [I’ve watched have] given me maybe a bit more confidence.” The 18-year-old Warren, who is also a straight male, said that he is ‘supportive’ of some of Tate’s content.

“Some young men we interviewed also felt Tate expresses views about women and gender that are otherwise unsaid or silenced. Others viewed Tate as a good advocate for men. For example, Brenton (21, straight) told us he watched a lot of Tate content and agreed with “most of it”,” the researchers stated.

For Jase, 20, also a straight male, Tate was just trying to instill “traditional human male masculinity into today’s generation of men.”

While some young Australian men are saying positive things about Nate’s content and what he is trying to do, some are also rejecting his views.

“This rejection ranged from disinterest to more specific criticism,” the researchers said. “As Jase (20, straight) told us: ‘Tate’s justifications for cheating on his partners as not ‘cheating’ but ‘exercise’, his focus on how much money he’s got and how many girls he’s been with, and his alleged trafficking. I don’t really wanna consume his content.’”

The study also noted that most young Australian men are aware that pornography is generally not a good model of gender equality, consent, or respectful relationships.

The researchers also underscored the need for a nuanced discussion of the impacts of social media on adolescent boys.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said it was important to keep listening and learning from young men.

'We want parents, carers and educators to help boys, tweens and teens hone these critical reasoning skills and instil a healthy sense of online agency and responsibility. We know prevention is the best defence against online harms.'

Author's note: An earlier version of this article incorrrectly used the name 'Matthew Tate' instead of 'Andrew Tate'. This error has since been corrected.