Violent Misogynistic Extremism in the Skin of “Lonely, Single Men”


Pho­to: Dani­il Onis­chenko/Unsplash


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. 


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.