2nd May 2023
Advice From the Government: "Don't Talk About Andrew Tate"
Schools are reporting an increase in misogyny and sexual harassment from boys as young as nine, but government advises not to tackle the subject.
Charity call for urgent action
The UK government is advising teachers not to discuss social media influencer Andrew Tate, known as the “king of toxic masculinity”, with students, despite reports of rising misogyny and sexual harassment from boys as young as nine. The small charity Diversify, which runs school workshops about inclusion, receives approximately 25 calls a week from primary and secondary schools across England asking for help with sexual harassment and misogynistic incidents that cite Tate's influence. Tate is currently under house arrest in Romania for suspected human trafficking and organised crime. His TikTok videos tell boys that a woman belongs to her boyfriend, girls who leave the house are “hoes”, and rape victims must “bear responsibility” for their attacks.
Frustration at the DfE response
Sara Cunningham, co-founder of Diversify, estimates that an average class of 30 children will have eight boys who admire Tate. She is frustrated that officials at the Department for Education (DfE) are advising heads who reach out for help not to encourage discussion of Tate’s views in personal, social and health education (PSHE) lessons and are refusing to offer any training or resources. The charity has been called to several schools across the country to run workshops on misogyny and consent. During these workshops, a number of boys mentioned Tate and said they could not see any problem with his views. Many boys report that their fathers admire Tate, adding an added problem for schools trying to stamp out misogyny.
Many teachers are concerned that not discussing Tate’s views leaves young people vulnerable to his vile and insidious ideas, unable to recognise them as extreme and share them further. Secondary schoolteacher Heather Mary James, who shared her PSHE teaching resources about Tate on Twitter, received more than a thousand responses from teachers. A spokesperson for the DfE stated that all children deserve to grow up in a safe environment, and they expect schools to take immediate action against sexual misconduct or harassment. They added that the government would be providing “further guidance on how schools can create a culture of respectful relationships, and teach effectively about sexual harassment, sexual violence and stamping out violence against women and girls.”
Keir Starmer replies
Labour leader Keir Starmer has pledged to halve violence against women, including putting lessons on treating women and girls with respect on the school curriculum. It is clear that the issue of toxic masculinity and the influence of figures like Andrew Tate needs to be addressed in schools. Teachers must have the support and resources they need to tackle these problems effectively and provide a safe environment for all students to learn and grow.