Credit: Wiki Commons

The Irish media’s baffling Andrew Tate panic

Andrew Tate is coming for your sons, Ireland’s young men, and is liable to turn them into woman-abusing monsters.

Or at least, that’s the impression you’d get from the weekend papers. One rule about the Irish media: When it gets an idea for a story, it will write that story over and over again, until there’s not a thing left to be said. And thus we had Jennifer O’Connell in the Irish Times:

The real question isn’t what should be done about him; now that their parents have started talking about him, the teens are already casting about for the next iteration. It is why some young men are so unhappy about their place in the world they would turn to someone like Tate for guidance.

And Louise O’Neill in the Sunday Times:

A number of secondary school teachers across Ireland have expressed their concern about the impact that Tate is having on their male students. In a country where we know that one in four women who have been in a relationship have been abused by a current or former partner, and one in three women will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime, this radicalisation of our young men is deeply alarming.

And Tanya Sweeney in the Independent:

“The kids that buy into him a little bit more might view women in a particular way, like it’s the woman’s fault if they don’t like you. It’s women that are the problem. There’s just a vulnerability there allowing those thoughts. And they’re being bombarded with this stuff over and over again. Secondary school kids are the best in the world, but some of them, I’d be so concerned for them.”

There’s more, much more, where those came from. The message of the week to parents is straightforward: Beware of your sons watching this Andrew Tate fellow.

Which, to be honest, by itself is not wrong. I do not need, here, to recount Tate’s various outrages or obnoxious statements, or indeed the sexual offences charges which he is now facing. As role models for young men go, Lionel Messi or Lewis Hamilton are probably superior. Work hard. Maximise your talent. And, in the immortal words of Hulk Hogan, eat your vitamins.

But why the sudden panic about Tate? If we are looking for toxic role models for young people, then surely we need not reach as far as an oddball failed martial artist with a penchant for saying controversial things. News alert: If young men are increasingly seeing young women as little more than disposable sex objects – if – then there is blame to go around.

Start with TikTok. The Chinese Social Media app bans overt sexuality, but it’s “for you” page, which pushes videos to its young users based on their interests, has no shortage of young women presenting themselves wholly and entirely as sex objects, and being rewarded with millions of views for their troubles.

Look no further than pop lyrics: Andrew Tate’s rampant misogyny is, apparently, radicalizing young men, but Cardi B’s hit song “WAP” (standing for “wet-ass pussy” – the first and last time I shall write those words on Gript) was described by one reviewer as “the epitome of female empowerment” –  and that is not cherry-picking, either.

In fact, the same Irish Times that worries about Andrew Tate once promoted the accompanying dance for “WAP” as honouring “the raunchy brashness of the lyrics, complete with a giant hitch kick, a split and lots of twerking.” The “raunchy brashness of the lyrics”, incidentally, includes the repeating line “there’s some whores in this house” and the line “Put this pussy right in yo’ face, Swipe your nose like a credit card“.

This, apparently, is female empowerment, and can be played on the radio. Andrew Tate saying the same things, approximately, is disgusting misogyny. It must be hard being a young male and knowing the difference, all right. Especially when there is no difference. The difference is only, and entirely, in how feminist columnists view Cardi B, and Andrew Tate.

Consider, too, the following lyrics – some of the milder ones I could find – from Eminem:

The first victim I had, she was a big one

Big movie star, a party girl, big fun

She was the girl the media always picked on

In and out of rehab every four to six months

She was always known for little pranks and slick stunts

At Nickelodeon, flashed to little kids once

What an event it was, I was sitting in front

I was hooked in at the first glimpse of them buns

Seen her backstage, now here’s where I come in, son

Look, her she comes, I better pull out the big guns

“Hello, Lindsay, you’re looking a little thin, hun

How about a ride to rehab? Get in, cunt

Eminem is, of course, not a danger to your sons, like Andrew Tate. He’s just one of the world’s most famous musical artists. When he calls women “cunts”, it’s art. When Andrew Tate does it, it’s misogyny.

Presumably, this is what you are supposed to teach your sons.

In that context, allow me a hypothesis:

The panic about Andrew Tate is not, at all, in any way, about his attitudes to women. You can, after all, promote the sexualization of women entirely freely, in this country, if, like Eminem, the Irish Times can also describe you asas a leader of The Resistance: the first line of defence against Donald Trump’s damaging agenda for the US.”

But Andrew Tate, you’ll note, does not share Eminem’s impeccably middle class political views. He is, by all accounts, something of an “alt right figure”, radicalizing young men not into simply seeing women as sex objects, but into seeing feminism – the dominant political ideology of our era – as less than benign. In a particularly warped way, some seem to see him as a promoter of traditional gender roles. This, my friends, is what makes him dangerous. Not his disgusting abusive behaviour towards women, or his foulest words. The left can tolerate those, coming from the right person. It just cannot tolerate political dissent.

So, without wishing to put words into the mouths of Ireland’s journalists, amid their war on Andrew Tate, it’s interesting how little they have to say about toxic tiktok trends, and a generation of young women being encouraged to call their boyfriends “daddy” (“Call me Daddy” is one of the most popular podcasts for young women in the US) or suggest that they enjoy being choked during sex. It’s interesting how little criticism they reserve for pop lyrics about vaginal lubrication, or making sluts cry, or whatever the latest hit is.

It’s safe to criticise Andrew Tate, you see. But not because of his views about women. And it’s silly to pretend that’s the reason he’s being put in the naughty boy corner by Ireland’s most predictably conformist columnists. If they’re worried about what young men are being exposed to, that ship has long since sailed. And that’s without even mentioning the impact of pornography.

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