Is incel culture popularizing again on TikTok?

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

TW: mention of rape and assault/sexual violence

Needless to say, if you’ve been active on TikTok in the past few months, you’ll have encountered Andrew Tate’s atrocities. This man needs no introduction because giving him the time of day would only fuel his ego and his misogynistic, derogatory, and perverted views on women and masculinity. For those unfamiliar, however, I will provide a brief overview of Tate and how dangerous his behaviors are given the size and demographics of his audience.

Andrew Tate first appeared on our screens in 2016 during the seventeenth season of British reality show Big Brother. Although he was removed from the show for allegedly hitting a woman (a charge of which there is video evidence), he did not face any consequences from the UK government, before moving to Romania in 2017. ), he said the reason for his decision was that it was easier to circumvent anti-rape laws. He has since started his own cam girl business and has been a guest on numerous podcasts and interviews, on which hosts often ask his opinion on a particular topic (usually related to the treatment of women). Vitriol quotes made by Tate include “You can’t be responsible for something that doesn’t listen to you. You can’t be responsible for a dog that doesn’t obey you. As well as inappropriate comments around age such as “an 18/19 year old is more attractive than a 25 year old because she’s been through less bullshit”.

There have been countless articles and outlets reporting on Tate’s harmful and disgusting lyrics, but all of them are giving him exactly what he wants. Attention! Whether it’s good or bad publicity, it’s still publicity nonetheless, and TikTok’s pitfalls mean watching it to the end promotes it to more viewers. .

This is dangerous because it leaves young viewers (especially boys) with the impression that acting or speaking in this way will attract attention. It’s no secret that TikTok’s demographics can range between 11 and 16, and videos like these gain momentum through views and likes, can give off an impressionable audience, specifically on how women should be seen in the eyes of young people. boys.

It has been reported that over the past few months, teachers have noticed the change in language used by boys in classrooms when discussing girls, mimicking Tate’s. Many parents will pass it off as “just a phase” or teenagers will excuse it as “edgy/dark humor”, but the implications and ideas that are ingrained in viewers run much deeper.

Tate exposes a new wave of incel culture. He took the ideologies of such a misogynistic and hateful group and made it seem like thinking like an incel makes you the “alpha male”. Not only does this create a toxic portrayal of what it means to be masculine, but it puts men above women in social and physical status, undoing years of struggle for gender equality.

I will explain every reason I fear there is another incel uprising, spreading outside of social media platforms, and what that means for us as women.

First, I will explain for those unfamiliar with the term incel, what it details. An incel in a subgenre of man who classifies himself as such. Incel is short for “involuntary celibacy” which, as you might guess, means they find it difficult to establish romantic or sexual relationships with women. Although at first glance the title seems innocuous, these men and boys have taken it upon themselves to believe that the reason they don’t get any female attention is because women are evil and manipulative. It’s apparently never one of their bad deeds, but it’s the women’s fault. Apparently, women expect too much from men and that’s why they are hated among incels. Of course, internet chat rooms such as Reddit and 4chan hurl much more gruesome and detailed insults at women, things too vile to repeat. But in true social media fashion, these forums spawn a culture that extends beyond the internet into reality and forms very real threats to women’s lives. Although not reported as such, many mass shootings have been perpetrated by an incel (such as Elliot Rogers or an even more recent case in the UK with Jake Davison).

Going back to Andrew Tate, not only is he so dangerous in tricking young boys into believing that certain attitudes towards women are not only acceptable, but necessary for women to “obey” you. He also preaches that treating a woman like she’s a toy or an animal is what makes you desirable to the women you want to attract. While incels don’t need to earn an intimate partner, Andrew Tate teaches his viewers that acting like him will get them everything they want in life, like women, cars, and money. The difference is that Tate viewers think being misogynistic is an attractive quality in men.

This worries me as I hear more and more stories online of teachers and parents, concerned about the declining behavior of their young students, students who feed each other with this hateful and sexist language, to reproduce these words online. I fear that if left unchecked and otherwise taught, these opinions will become mainstream opinions, leading to a generation of men who are not only willing, but willing to harm women. To “put them in their place” if they are independent or ready to speak out against it. I fear that this will lead to an increase in cases of domestic violence in the years to come and a decrease in reports of it.

Although you may find this a bit dramatic, it is a very real concern that many women have, that people believe the lies propagated by this man. It’s hard not to stumble upon his content at some point on the internet because many people, as I said before, are ready to give him a platform on podcasts. I urge you not to give them the time of day, if we stop watching people will stop caring. I suggest we take the time to teach young boys, maybe some of you have younger siblings or parents who might be sensitive to his videos. Teach them that women are equal, that all people are equal, and the harm Tate’s opinions cause the world. I also suggest that you take the time to investigate the dangers of incel culture, as it is still thriving beneath us in the depths of the internet, ticking like a bomb that once explodes, will mean devastating things to women of the whole world. Violence against women is still a very significant threat and although it is not the responsibility of women to end it, we must be very aware of its evolving existence.

Below I have left useful articles or books on the subject if you want to investigate further.

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Written by: Eilidh Kirk

Edited by: Maeve Elizabeth

Helen D. Jessen