Violent Misogynistic Extremism in the Skin of “Lonely, Single Men”
by MERCY FERRARS
The following text contains mentions of sexual violence.
A RECENT TREND on TikTok is the rise of the “lonely, single man” archetype, who skillfully clothes his misogyny and hate for women in what he perceives as an externally imposed and perpetuated loneliness. He suffers from a lack of submissive women in the dating pool who match outdated, if not outright medieval, perceptions of gender roles. He dislikes everything about modern women that he can possibly think of. It makes him furious, so much so that he creates podcast after podcast complaining about women who are sexually free, financially independent or simply don’t feed into his bullshit. He is looking for a maid and a prostitute, someone who cleans and cooks and devotes her body to his pleasure, but he calls her “a low value female” with whom he doesn’t want to associate. His natural enemies are “alpha women,” women who are loud, outspoken and confident. Indeed, talk of alpha, beta and sigma males are his favourite pastime. As for a man so preoccupied with his intellect—miraculously, only he sees the world as it is—he is quick to apply animal logic to his human existence, but he carefully picks out the parts and pieces which fit his conception of dating. And considering how much he dislikes women, he spends a formidable amount of time being all up in their business. Typically, he’s in a bromance with his best male friends, and he just doesn’t know what to talk to women about if he doesn’t plan on sleeping with them. The “lonely, single man,” forced into such solitude by ungodly modern women, finds himself in a terrible conflict. Boo-hoo.
Comphet and Attraction
Unfortunately, a lot of straight men don’t like women. They are sexually attracted to women on a basis of anatomy and heterosexuality, the latter of which is perforated by gendered trauma. In a lot of cases however, they do not like that attached to the body is a fully fleshed out human being complete with a personality, a past, dreams, fears, feelings, needs, and opinions. They are not interested in her, they are only interested in what she offers them. Even in a relationship with her, when asked what they love about her, they will likely list traits and habits which add to their life quality—makes them feel less lonely, cooks great food, supports them when they had a bad day, gives great head or simply provides great arm candy they can show off to their mates. It is dehumanising at best. But if they are being asked about their bros, their faces light up as they share all the things they have in common, the quality time they spend together and how they can always rely on each other and have each other’s back. A recent TikTok video shows how these types of men would rather cheat on their girlfriends than their bros, because bromance actually matters on a substantial level, while relationships are great if they are convenient, but burdensome if they become a responsibility. It has been concluded that a lot of straight men are sexually attracted to women, but emotionally attracted to men. And perhaps this sexual attraction is nothing more than compulsory heterosexuality and a power play.
If we speak of women and men in this article, we talk about female and male socialisation. I am a strong defender of anti-essentialism, where I don’t believe in an inherent essence in a gendered or otherwise identity, but rather in an essence-resembling structure cultivated by socialisation and culture. In other words, the differences between women’s and men’s socialisation result in common tensions found all across the dating pool. A great number of boys are raised to reject anything associated with the feminine and they are not taught the necessities which provide the foundation of any healthy relationship. As a result, women are being hurt in these relationships and their trauma teaches them over time what they want and need in a relationship and causes them to choose a single life over yet another traumatic experience with an emotionally immature man.
I’m also a big believer in seeking conversation and appealing to everyone’s humanity rather than barricading yourself in your respective political corner. This isn’t an abstracted academic bubble—for many people this type of thinking is a real life threat leading to all sorts of domestic and sexual violence and death. Hence, it is important that it will be addressed. Nonetheless, it isn’t women’s responsibility to educate men on their bigotry and misogyny. To seek that conversation with someone who is so deeply invested in their resentment and hate literally leeches the energy out of you.
A question that has stuck with me since the birth of misogyny is why these “lonely, single men” don’t just turn their backs on women. If you hate someone or a social group so much, then you can just decide to turn your back on them. If bros are a more intimate connection than your girlfriend, then that relationship should actually give you what you need to be happy. No one wants to know what some wacky bigots think of women. Women aren’t going to change because of that.
Coinciding with the Andrew Tates of social media, who was recently banned from Instagram and other channels, an article on TikTok is polarising. In “The Rise of Lonely, Single Men,” psychologist Greg Matos lays out that “Dating opportunities for heterosexual men are diminishing as relationship standards rise.” Unsurprisingly, it angered the bigots to admit that maybe the reason why their dating pool is shrinking to puddle size is not only their own toxicity and outdated expectations, but also their unconcealed misogyny. Under the cover of advocating for “men’s rights” they intend to counter the “modern woman narrative,”1 the radical idea that women are autonomous respectable human beings. If you support a potentially life-threatening, hostile position like that, you simply cannot expect that those affected by your hate would feel attracted to you. It’s time to decide if you actually want to love women or if you hate them enough to leave them alone.
As a historically favoured and privileged group, does it make you feel uncomfortable to be called out by the “modern woman narrative” because it challenges the belief that you are entitled to certain things?
Relationships of any kind rely on reciprocity. For centuries, women have articulated what traits they value and find attractive and, in most instances, it is not expensive cars or ridiculous amounts of money. That this male gaze upholds itself is because of its reproduction among male spaces—values that matter to men because of other men. Instead of working on what truly matters to women, they focus all their efforts on material accumulation, appalled and astonished that still no woman stays with them for their fortune alone. They are quite literally a historical Reddit meme:
Matos remarks: “The problem for men is that emotional connection is the lifeblood of healthy, long-term love and it requires all the skills that families still are not consistently teaching young boys.”
However, as annoying and irrelevant as kickboxer-turned-influencer Andrew Tate’s and other’s opinions are to women, they nonetheless advocate for violent misogynistic extremism, which has appeal amid young, impressionable and insecure men. Tate, who is facing allegations of human trafficking, domestic violence and rape, promotes values such as owning women like products, hitting and raping women, defends that a rape victim’s blame lies with them rather than their attacker, speaks of women’s “market value” which increases the closer she is to being underage: “they’ve been through less dick,” he shrugs. Originally on Twitter (his account has since been suspended), he claimed that “depression is not real,” while simultaneously donating to men’s mental health organisations (Instagram, with his account now banned). In a potential confrontation with a woman, “it’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up bitch. […] Machete’s on the floor, panties all wet, and you got to fuck her,” he spits out hatefully while knowing that no woman would ever spend time with him voluntarily. We used to think Jordan Peterson was harmful to the cause, but due to his radical, pop-cultural brand and his extremism, Tate reaches a much broader, much more violent audience than Peterson ever did.
The internet reacts with humour, as the internet does. Millions of videos mocking Tate and other so-called “podcast men,” both from women as well as other genders, making fun of the backwardness of these men. And it would be ironic if we could contain it as a TikTok scandal, one of the many TikTok inside phenomena that come and go. But Tate’s followers engage in a pyramid scheme which aims to recruit more and more men to Tate’s “Hustler’s University,” and their hateful, violent bigotry spreads like a wildfire. And it shows in real life, possibly right outside your doorstep. In Berlin, women repeatedly mentioned experiences with the predecessors of the podcast men: the pick-up gurus. All these men have in common that they feel entitled to having girlfriends they can own and they become invasive and belligerent when they find out that the world doesn’t care what they think they are owed.
However, seeing as the algorithm is TikTok’s bloodstream, it is to blame as well. Any Tate or similar content violates the guidelines but is not deleted. Instead it is carried to young boys’ ForYou pages, feeding them violent misogyny at an impressionable age. Meanwhile mental health, queer or feminist content is being censored or deleted.
The amount of men who joined the outrage against Tate and others is surprising. Although they are appreciated allies, it is nonetheless also their responsibility to check their own red flags, their own emotional maturity and their commitment. Because even if extreme misogynists like Tate are hopefully a minority, every woman I know, myself included, has suffered in relationships with emotionally unavailable, abusive, manipulative or immature men, who all claimed to be “nice guys.” So sisters, stay safe, choose your own happiness and protect those who might fall into the hands of predators.
1This terminology was used by user “New World Over” on YouTube in an anti-feminist context.
EDITED BY MACY RIPLEY W. LARA HELENA.
Mercy Ferrars is a MA graduate in philosophy and writes fiction, poetry and non-fiction essays. She is madly in love with Scotland, dogs and Bojack Horseman.