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Slipping Through the Cracks: Recognising Extremist Misogyny Outside of Inceldom 

Slipping Through the Cracks: Recognising Extremist Misogyny Outside of Inceldom 
10th January 2024 Erin Stoner
In Insights


The ‘manosphere’ is defined as “an umbrella term that refers to a number of interconnected misogynistic communities”. The most well-known and formally recognised of these communities are ‘incels’ (involuntary celibates), whose ideology and identity are formed around “a perceived inability to form sexual or romantic relationships”, the intrinsic male right to sex and a rigid sexual hierarchy. However, this Insight aims to shed light on other groups and individuals often side-lined in discussions of extremist misogyny – Pick Up Artists (PUAs) and the wider ‘Hustler’ online subculture. I argue that to fully understand the manosphere as a complex arena containing diverse factions, we must acknowledge the place of popular figures, such as Andrew Tate, in influencing the broader misogynist landscape in mainstreaming hateful ideas. With this in mind, it is essential for countering violent extremism (CVE) researchers and practitioners to avoid the pitfall of ignoring more mainstream forms of hate as influences on the broader misogynist landscape. Recognising that some of the most prominent names in online culture contribute to the mainstreaming and casualisation of the misogyny seen within the manosphere liberates broader discussions of male supremacy from the idea that extremist misogyny originates solely from incels. 

The Emergence of Andrew Tate 

Despite the recent charges against him for rape, human trafficking and the formation of an organised crime group aiming to sexually exploit women, the profound influence Andrew Tate has on young people, especially young men, should not be underestimated. The social media influencer’s TikTok, containing videos saying women are a man’s property and belong in the home, as well as homophobic and racial slurs, has garnered tens of billions of views. A recent survey by Hope Not Hate found that boys in the UK aged 16-17 were 21% more likely to have consumed content by Andrew Tate than they were to have heard of Rishi Sunak. Similarly, a recent poll of 1,200 men aged 16-24 found that 45% had a positive view of Tate. His surge to fame revolved around masculinity, financial success and social esteem. Alongside ostensibly motivational speeches to young men, Tate claims that if a woman “puts herself in a position to be raped”, she must “bear some responsibility”, or that if a woman accuses a man of cheating, then it is justifiable to “bang out the machete” and “grip her by the neck”. 

Tate openly espouses violent misogynist ideologies and is currently under investigation for violence against women himself. While inceldom often dominates public discussions of extreme misogyny, it is crucial not to conflate Tate with this much more insular group simply because both are misogynistic. This risks oversimplifying the highly diverse and nuanced spectrum of male supremacist ideologies present in both the manosphere and the wider social media landscape. That is not to say that Tate’s ideals are not dangerous – his popularity and casualisation of violence against women pose major concerns amongst young people – but that recognising his influence as a legitimate concern without relating it directly to inceldom is key in tailoring approaches to prevention. If we approach Tate in the same way as we would incels, we are in danger of missing the specific nuances which come with his mainstream popularity.  

Categorising Alternative Forms of Misogynistic Extremism

Conceptualisations of misogynistic extremism in the UK Prevent strategy identify inceldom under the ‘Mixed, Unstable and Unclear’ category. It is of note that inceldom is the only manosphere identity mentioned by name in the Prevent strategy; the manosphere itself is not mentioned at all, and misogyny is only mentioned as a component of other extremist ideologies. As a result,  while inceldom is recognised within the legislation, this overlooks alternative forms of misogynistic extremism. This oversight becomes apparent as schools in the UK seek advice on how to deal with the rise of Andrew Tate-style misogyny among boys. The current academic and political approach appears limited, singling out inceldom as the only legally recognised form of extremist misogyny and leaving influential figures like Tate without address. On the subject of Tate’s prominence within schools, Tim Squirrell says:

“Tate clearly represents a risk of radicalising young men into misogynist extremism. This kind of extremism is not currently considered for support under Prevent unless it is accompanied with a recognised ideology, e.g. Incel/extreme right-wing/Islamist. That’s a problem.”      

In other words, Tate’s extremist form of misogyny is not commonly addressed within the legislation on extremism amongst young people because his beliefs don’t align with the only recognised form of misogynistic extremism: inceldom. Upon examining what an incel is, it becomes evident that Tate does not fit into this category. 

This is not to say that there is no crossover between Tate’s brand of misogyny and incels; they share the fundamental idea that a woman’s ‘market value’ is directly linked to her sexual history and argue that the only way for a man to be successful is to embody an ‘alpha’ male position, characterised by dominance over not only women but other men. However, there are fundamental differences that set Tate apart from the incel community. Primarily, Tate is far from celibate; sexual success is, in many ways, one of the driving factors of his notoriety. His ideas are also not marked by the wallowing, deep-seated anger and despair pervasive within incel culture, revolving instead around an assertive entitlement to women. Tate more accurately fits into the ‘alpha male’ archetype – a representative of the top echelon of men who have access to women sexually – an ideal that incels simultaneously criticise and idolise. 

This holds significance within the CVE space, as Tate’s ideology risks being overlooked and dismissed as long as we fail to recognise it as a legitimate form of misogynist extremism. To understand Tate and recognise his ideology as a legitimate form of extremism that holds the potential for violence akin to inceldom, one can contextualise him as a ‘character’ within the incel narrative rather than an embodiment of it. Instead, placing him within other facets of the manosphere that share a misogynist outlook provides a more accurate lens. Namely,  Tate’s alignment with ‘hustle culture’ bears more resemblance to the Pick-Up Artist community (PUA) than it does to incels. 

Hustle Culture

On the surface, hustle culture appears disconnected from extremism. Simply put, it is an online cultural phenomenon commonly seen on TikTok that encourages young men to tirelessly pursue their financial or aesthetic goals. This culture emphasises the need for individuals to  “devote [themselves] only to work and sacrifice everything outside of it”.  While the ‘rise and grind’ culture isn’t a novel concept in the workplace, concerns about this specific manifestation arise from the surge in content reinforcing ‘alpha’ culture. This connection emphasises the link between financial success and fulfilling an idealised version of masculinity. The pursuit of ‘the grind’ – a term used for an intense work ethic aimed at substantial financial gain – intertwines with overtly misogynistic ideals. It perpetuates an image of wealth and success linked to a man’s ability to control and be surrounded by attractive women. 

Tate has crafted an image of himself as a man surrounded by expensive cars, accompanied by attractive yet disposable women, with an affinity for chess and expensive cigars. These elements contribute to an image of financial success and intellectual prowess linked to an exaggerated form of hypermasculinity. ‘Hustler’s University’ – Tate’s online business course, recently renamed ‘the Real World’, claims to give young men access to a “community of millionaires” who will help them “escape the matrix. The course emphasises two central notions – a pursuit of financial success and a sinister appeal to deeply misogynistic values, judged to be essential to achieving the idealised male image set by Tate. Young men are offered a quick-fix solution to their financial and romantic frustrations for $49.99 per month. Tate perpetuates the belief that to be an ‘alpha’ male, financial success must be coupled with the domination of women. 

Pick Up Artists 

In addition to promoting hustle culture, Tate’s ideological framework closely resembles the manosphere community known as ‘Pick Up Artists’. Neil Strauss is a leading name within the PUA community and published The Game, a best-seller described as a “step-by-step guide to picking up women”. Potentially innocuous on the surface, this sector of the manosphere perpetuates the dehumanisation of women, hypermasculinity and rape culture that threads through tangential male supremacist subcultures. Strauss’ portrayal of women as “all holes: ears to listen to me, a mouth to talk at me and a vagina to squeeze orgasms out of me” encapsulates the view that women exist solely for his gratification. This mirrors the current investigation into Tate’s coercion of women into online webcam work, allegedly earning him an income of $600,000 a month through the labour of 75 women.

The influence of Strauss has permeated the online PUA community, who venerate The Game as a seminal text. This community exists in online forums and websites characterised by a sexual righteousness somewhat akin to inceldom. However, their approach differs significantly; whereas incels nihilistically lament their position at the bottom of the ‘sexual marketplace’, PUAs believe women can be dominated through tricks and codes to bypass women’s defences (commonly referred to as their ‘anti-slut defence’ or their ‘bitch shield’). 

The sexual aggression characteristic of the PUA community and the glorified vision of the ‘Hustler’ find stronger resonance in Tate’s ideology than the frustrated nihilism of the incel community. This signifies that Tate’s beliefs can more appropriately be aligned with Pick-Up Artistry and hustle culture than to inceldom, and as a result, should be analysed through his ability to influence mainstream norms of misogynistic hate, which threatens to casualise forms of extremist misogyny, to accurately work him into the wider picture of the online misogynist landscape.      

Recommendations and Conclusions 

To combat this type of online misogyny, this discussion broadly supports the approaches to content moderation policies outlined in Bundtzen’s report surrounding measures to mitigate online gender-based violence. To add to this recommendation, it would be helpful for this moderation to specify typologies of misogynist hate, categorising subcultures within the manosphere to produce specific data results on the dissemination and engagement with such content. A better focus on moderation and categorisation of hate espoused by figures like Tate is worth consideration both due to the danger of misogyny as an ideology itself and due to its common position as a ‘gateway’ ideology into other forms of extremism. This is tackled most importantly through the reviewing of current content moderation policies to include specific forms of misogynist hate, as this results in both a practical resolution in improved regulation of misogynist content as well as a more holistic aspect which Bundtzen acknowledges that misogynist content exists on the scale of extremist violence and ideology. 

By examining hustle culture and Pick Up Artistry, and recognising that Tate, an influential and openly misogynistic public figure, aligns more closely with these than with inceldom, it becomes clear that ‘incel’ as a catch-all term oversimplifies a highly nuanced online male supremacist subculture. Oversimplifying this type of subculture makes it difficult to orient preventative measures towards their specific needs and nuances or fully understand the culture’s complexities. In neglecting to analyse the full scope of the threat posed by actors in the manosphere, individuals like Tate ‘slip through the cracks’ and evade the attention of policymakers and researchers studying this domain.