Sincere thanks to the 48 schools, charities and Local Authorities who signed up for the ‘Online Misogynist Influencers’ webinar which took place on 20/09/22, from all across England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Island, the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland. Your interest and support is truly heartening.
Firstly, two apologies.
- There was a technical issue with the Zoom link experienced by a few attendees, which hindered access, regrettably. All efforts will be made to avoid this recurring.
- In hindsight I should have flagged up more clearly the potential for the subject matter and content to be impactful, given the issues involved. Sincere apologies.
Men At Work C.I.C. was set up to support those working with boys and young men in facilitating constructive dialogues with them about their evolving understanding of what it means to ‘be a man’ – and how some societal messages can lead to harmful values and behaviours that hinder them in being safe – and in being safe to be around. Alongside our standard one-day training offer, these webinars are intended as a meeting-place for professionals around relevant, targeted themes, a space to air concerns and share ideas and resources. We endeavour to refine and improve both the training and the webinars from delegate feedback on an an ongoing basis.
The approach in both our training and these webinars is as follows:
- Name the problem/s – being factual, frank and fearless in the process
- Ask WHY it is so – getting to the roots of issues in order to understand their origins and nature
- Identify what can be DONE – being committed to positive change by taking practical, creative steps. Our training is based on facilitating structured engagement programme called 10 Dialogues.
The Online Misogynist Influencer webinar aimed aim to cover – within the time constraints – each of these 3 steps. It was framed as an opportunity to engage with fellow educators and youth workers around the impact and influence of such ‘influencers’ on the language, beliefs and behaviours of boys and young men – using a high profile figure called Andrew Tate as an entry point for discussion.
Below is a brief recent media bundle relating to this person:
ARTICLE 1: By AJ Willingham, CNN September 8, 2022 https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/08/us/andrew-tate-manosphere-misogyny-solutions-cec/index.html
ARTICLE 2: By Jess Sharp, Sky News, Sunday 28 August 2022 https://news.sky.com/story/andrew-tate-the-social-media-influencer-teachers-are-being-warned-about-12679194
ARTICLE 3: By Shanti Das, The Observer Sat 6 Aug 2022 https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/06/andrew-tate-violent-misogynistic-world-of-tiktok-new-star
The reason for using AT as an entry point to the webinar was his particularly high profile in summer 2022 across social media. Lots of boys and young men know who he is and what he says – and that ubiquity and reach matters. Many adults don’t know him – or his ilk – and that matters too, because we need to know what we are dealing with in order to best support our young people. Many young men – and this was clearly borne out in the spoken and written webinar contributions from teachers and youth workers – have been articulating statements, quotes and perspectives pushed by AT in their schools and/or youth settings, either directly to – or in the presence of – the professionals in those settings.
AT is effectively a ‘grain of sand’ through which a wider world of misogynistic values and behaviours which are inimical to safeguarding for children and young people (primarily boys and young men but by extension girls and young women) can be seen. He did not invent any of the ideas or behaviours he espouses – he is, in truth, merely a transient avatar for deep-rooted and long-standing structural misogyny. His particular story is informative, though, on several levels:
- it speaks of the reach, influence and normative power of the rapidly-evolving social media platforms with which huge numbers of young people engage
- he is deployed in conversation between male students and their teachers / youth workers as an agent provocateur / devil’s advocate / anti-hero / voice of the underdog / tough-truth-teller
- he has become a widely-recognised touchstone, for substantial numbers of boys and young men – and we need to understand why – in order to engage boys and young men constructively in dialogue about the views he promotes.
Below is an anonymised summary of the contributions to the webinar chat. Within it, I have added some responses and resource links. They are shaded in light grey. When time allows, I will add more links relevant to this issue.
Notes from the chat:
HI – teacher in Blackpool – boys love Andrew Tate !!!!!
Despite loads teaching on consent, control, respect etc
I’ve been asked for advice by parents of young men and I’m also concerned by what I hear from students.
To support our Domestic Abuse teachings (we are a Domestic Abuse charity)
Safeguarding lead and Assistant Head- increase in students expressing with misogynist views or discussing Andrew Tate as a positive role model
I would like to address the issue of role models with pupils and how to choose them appropriately.
getting to know more about a pressing safeguarding issue in schools and how to protect our children
I have teenage children and I teach in FE based in Glasgow.
To increase my own personal knowledge so I use in teaching & support students in becoming critical thinkers
Hi I’m a teacher of PHSE. I am really horrified by the glorification of Andrew Tate et al in our boys, especially around Y8/9 age. This is linked to a real attitude of victim shaming and blaming whenever we discuss any kind of sexual violence or harassment
I run a feminism student club and run safeguarding training for staff and would love to relay any information back to them
Shocked by Andrew Tate and want to be more knowledgeable when discussing with son
Head of PSHE in a mixed secondary in Somerset. Wanting to make lessons for KS3, 4 & 5 as effective as possible on this topic
To feel more able to challenge young people on this subject and encourage their critical thinking skills
Responsibility for PSHE whole-school; want to address growing concerns on this topic effectively
Hello, I am a youth worker that works in the Shankill / North Belfast area. My role is working with young men as a youth worker in the Belfast Boys Model School. Would like to gain more of an insight to inform my practice.
Assistant head lead on personal development want to increase knowledge to help inform practice, policy, staff, students and parents
Hi Michael. lovely to see you again. We were part of SWaN Safety of Women at Night in Exeter and run courses for people impacted by domestic abuse More Positive Me CIC
PD AHT leading on how we educate and safeguard our students against growing Incel. Ellesmere Port very male dominated industrial area.
Director of Sixth Form at an all girls school and looking at the best ways to explain and educate them about what is out there.
I work for an Under 25s Drug & Alcohol support team and I just think it’s really valuable to understand the bigger picture of young people’s experiences. It’s very easy to get disconnected (as I get older!)
Really interested how this aligns with our Serious Youth Violence Service and Healthy Relationships Service.
Also – the danger that even negative attention will promote them and further their scope/success
Good point – we are worried about overt teaching of this in case it draws attention to him from those who haven’t yet been attracted to this stuff
Y9 – ‘he’s fun’.
Not getting quoted things by him but some positive comments around his persona and his wealth.
In pshe lessons we are hearing students actively supporting his views in order to be contentious during discussion
boys ‘what they said about him – isn’t true. women have wrongly accused him’
Kids also chatting in the playground saying he’s great
That sounds a lot like radicalisation…
‘He donates money to charity though’
Maybe listing examples of famously awful people – like Jimmy Saville – who ostentatiously donate/d to charity would counter this (above) argument?
lot of boys using his influence as a form of armour, using his terminology and saying about being “Top G’s” and are saying he is bringing back “strong” masculinity
In our Serious Youth Violence Service last year, about 70% of young men could not identify a role model. There is gap for these young people and the risk is that he takes this opportunity.
Also – young men saying things to be intentionally controversial – whether they actually believe/understand what he represents or not. It gets a reaction
They’re surrounded by that – look at music videos, footballers etc – it’s all about the drip, surrounded by money & women, that’s what they’re being shown is the thing to aspire to
Lack of self esteem and lack of positive role models?
I feel this hits every demographic!
Michael, I think you alluded to this at the beginning – but also, the impact this stuff does have on young women and how they feel they ‘should’ be behaving – i.e. being submissive
We have this more in 6th form really- ideas from AT and others are used to say that Toxic Masculinity is just “made up” when we had some female RSE trainers in doing a session with them. Also in class belittling ideas from female classmates “why are you trying to look clever? You just read that from the text book it’s not your idea” I think we expect by 6th form that we won’t be dealing with this- but in a way its worse!
not all the students of course, but enough to be concerning to students and staff
Do people find they need to have sessions run by facilitators from a similar demographic to the groups? We are searching for some Muslim trainers, ideally of a Bengali background – even better if from East London- but its so hard to find someone able/willing to do this with our kids… if anyone knows an organisation I can contact please send me some details
I will do some research and share relevant links on this question (above)
we use the 4Ds of an active bystander
example reference here to 4 D’s https://www.breakingthesilence.cam.ac.uk/prevention-support/be-active-bystander
We have a culture of collusion where these issues are concerned so any more advice on how to approach this would be very much appreciated!
And we still hear very young girls being told that boys are unkind to them when they secretly like them. That starts at age 4 or earlier. I can’t believe we are still talking about this stuff!
It’s a form of conditioning
does anyone have a resource they have used this term that has helped in class- a PPT or video- to do with this?
Another thing….in an RSE lesson a large majority of girls shared they thought it was normal for sex to be painful
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RJCWeRS_Jg – interesting little video on ‘why boys are mean to girls’. The School of Life stuff is generally really interesting
there’s an excellent Ted talk on this, i forget the lady’s name but she is talking about the high % of young women who thought sex should a) be painful and b) without pleasure
Is it possibly this TED Talk by Prof Gail Dines? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=605qufO1n_U ) Gail is CEO of www.CultureReframed.org – and excellent source of support for parents/carers and teachers who want to have constructive dialogues with CYP about porn)
Amnesty International have a report called Toxic Twitter ( https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-1-1/ ) and the Centre for Countering Digital Hate released a report ( https://counterhate.com/research/?_sft_topic=misogyny ) a few months ago about misogyny, focused on Instagram that are both worth a read
Dr Tamasine Preece’s section responses are below. To contact Dr Preece, see http://www.humanise.pro
I think it’s so important to see this as part of a curriculum rather than stand alone
Absolutely fascinating how you sequence all of these issues together. I would really love to see any materials you would be willing to share.
“playing you like a fiddle” brilliant
Can you repeat the name of the book please and also would love to see a curriculum map so we can understand how this is built for younger years
*The book mentioned by Tamasine is Home Grown, by Joan Smith
Not a question but loved hearing your thoughts on this within a learning context. Being a youth worker based in a formal learning environment, building that rapport with young men is at the key for this leaning to happen
That was useful to listen to how it is done in practice. That is what I feel we need more of. modelling resources / discussions / lessons.
I wonder how much of an overlap there is with some of this mentality and trauma/ACES
Gemma Aitchison’s section responses:
The YES Matters Commitment for schools has classroom resources, one to one SEMH resources and staff training. www.yes-matters.co.uk
Gemma set delegates an activity: google ‘schoolgirl’ and ‘schoolboy’ – responses follow:
I fear that ‘School Girl’ might be NSFW – which says a lot!
omg this is the basis for our petition to ban school uniforms in porn and sex shops, my students launched a petition in May to ban it.
Link here to the petition set up bys students and staff, steered by Sarah Maile, to ban school uniforms in sex shops and pornography https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/615829
wow – very concerning the sexualisation of girls but boys seen with books, backpacks and education emphasis
school boys not sexualised
Advert for ‘sexy school girl costume’
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jun/22/teenage-boys-wear-skirts-to-school-protest-no-shorts-uniform-policy I had images linked to this article coming up
Male teacher and female teacher will throw up fairly similar results too
Lots of the girls are older girls, whereas the boys look primary school aged
I use screenshots of the schoolboy v schoolgirl in my training along with similar differences for Halloween/dressing up outfits that sexualise and add to stereotypes
The old ‘Tarts and Vicars’ fancy dress trope
I found that really powerful Gemma
Thank you Gemma- that was so valuable
*Gemma mentioned the DASH Risk assessment* see link here for more info and / or contact Gemma for a guided explanation of how it can involve schools: https://www.dashriskchecklist.co.uk/
All this training available for professionals should be available/promoted to parents too!
I also think there’s value in looking at the motivation behind men such as Tate – what needs are they trying to meet for themselves? What are they victims of?
it’s time consuming wading through everything – so recommendations are really helpful
thank you so so so much for today, so informative and important
love love the idea of staying in touch with resources 🙂 and future courses! please can I be on board!
Thanks very much all… have to go, as I have lessons… Looking forward to shared ideas.
any resources much appreciated
Thank you – yes please keep me in the loop with useful resources, much appreciated.
Thanks everyone! Really got my brain percolating!
Thanks so much very useful !
Thank you! I too would be interested in resources and keeping in touch
This was super helpful, thank you, would love to have copy of resources whenever they’re available please
thank you everyone, I am on duty so I need to run but lots to think about!
amazing webinar, so thought provoking. Keep up the good work!
Thank you so much was so useful and thought provoking – would love any resources anyone can send through thanks