Written by Allison Havey, Co-Founder, The RAP Project
& CEO, The RAP Foundation
I remember Deana receiving the first request from a teacher at the start of this academic year, asking her to address the fallout from an influencer named Andrew Tate. The floodgates quickly opened. Suddenly, whether speaking in independent boarding schools Perthshire or in large London comprehensive schools, boys could barely contain their enthusiasm for this firebrand. One 13-year-old shouted, “AT is the Top G.” Another 18-year-old stated, “Andrew Tate is giving men our masculinity back.” I recall a female classmate seated near the latter, silently mouthing “Help us.”
In 2016, the producers of reality TV show Big Brother removed Tate from the show after a video surfaced showing him swearing at a woman before appearing to smack her with a belt. He claims women should ‘bear some responsibility’ if they are raped or sexually harassed, and that ‘women belong in the home, can’t drive, and are a man’s property’. Tate was googled more often than Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump in 2022. Is his massive popularity down to hard work ethic and physical strength, or is it his misogynist outlook? What exactly is the attraction.
Tate rebased to a heavily armed compound in Bucharest in 2017, because, in his own words on The Fellas podcast, “I like Eastern Europe as a whole because corruption is far more accessible,”. He set up ‘Hustlers University,’ where devotees as young as 13, pay $49.00 a month to subscribe to his ‘modern wealth creation’ courses. We thought the authorities had shut it down after his arrest, but as of March 10th, I signed up to his ‘Daily Lessons from Jail’ mailing list. I must admit, I find them either fascinating or extremely harmful. In one earlier this week, I can see his appeal to young men: “Hard-working, smart men who cannot sleep because they have not conquered every dream and aspiration they’ve ever had. Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk. The richest men on the planet are mortal. They bleed just like you. They were born, they will die and are just men. But hard-working and disciplined. Why can’t you be the same?” But in another, Tate announced he is establishing a charity providing funding for men falsely accused of sexual assault. This is extremely unhelpful, as many young men we speak to are already under the impression that false allegations make up 30-90% of all sexual offences reported to the police. I asked a Year 10 student recently why he suggested thought it was 85%. “When you sleep with a girl, and then you don’t call or text her, she gets mad and then says you raped her.” Wow. To counter this extremely toxic viewpoint, we need to inform young people that in fact, according to the Home Office, false allegations make up 3%-4% of those reported. The Tate team is rebranding the online business as “The Real World,” where the home page reads “The Real World is a global community of like-minded individuals amassing wealth.” Critics say his business is a pyramid scheme.
I think part of this controversial figure’s far-reaching appeal is that boys like the shock-factor, admire his work ethic, self-confidence, fitness tips and of course, his 15 sports cars. The collection, including his infamous Bugatti, have been confiscated by the Romanian police. Tate also speaks to boys’ confusion about their role in this world. By reducing women to homemakers who nurture their men, he eradicates blurred lines around traditional gender roles by creating two camps: dominant men and passive women. It may be comforting to a generation of boys where traditional masculinity doesn’t mesh with gender equality.
Since founding the RAP Project in 2012, we have negotiated the fallout from Jimmy Saville, the ‘MeToo’ movement, the murder of Sarah Everard and the social media campaign Everyone’s Invited’. However shocking and challenging, these events ignited conversations in the classroom. Peer on peer sexual violence, misogyny, rape culture and gender stereotypes are suddenly at the fore. Andrew Tate has not helped our cause.
But with every challenge, comes great opportunity.
Both the RAP Project and the RAP Foundation are receiving an increasing number of requests to from schools to discuss these issues, and we have been featured in The New York Times, the Evening Standard, The Guardian, The Times as well as given interviews to Times Radio, LBC, and BBC Radio. Misogyny, Influencers, and Positive Masculinity are all very hot topics.
Teachers, students, and parents often describe the increased level of sexist language, microaggressions by male students toward female teachers by insisting to know their opinion of Tate, and an overall frustration over his continued popularity. We suggest sticking to the facts and avoid all debate. The ongoing support for a self-described misogynist sitting in a jail on suspicion of rape and human trafficking is unsettling. While we realise timetables are extremely tight, try to watch the Vice documentary called The Dangerous Rise of Andrew Tate, assign reports on human trafficking and how algorithms work on social media and how to avoid becoming indoctrinated to unhealthy ideals.
There continues to be much discussion around toxic masculinity, and I think we should shift the narrative to positive masculinity. Let’s inspire conversations on the differences between the two, while promoting the virtues of expressing vulnerability, caring, and supporting friends and family, and build healthier romantic relationships on the foundations of mutual respect and mutual consent.
Want to Book a Session? Contact Us:
Independent Schools & Corporates : Info@therapproject.co.uk
State Schools, Academies & Charities : Allison@therapfoundation.com