I hate to be that guy, but I think it’s time that someone said it: Andrew Tate is incredibly gay.
Yes, gay accusations are drably cliché at this point … while serving as a status symbol proving a celebrity has finally “made it.” But allow me to clarify. I don’t intend to imply that Andrew Tate would secretly like to engage in intercourse with other men. The whole Andrew Tate affair — and the broader red-pilled manosphere phenomenon in general — is gay in a cosmic sense, meaning its reverence for “heroic” masculinity has developed a kind of fetishistic aura around it, an aura that inevitably carries an erotic charge.
From the alphas and Chads who devote countless hours in the gym, post thirst traps, engage in combat sports, and brag about sleeping with women to the ideological incels who spend their days on the internet praising heroic masculine virtue and owning the libs while functionally being Wojaks and soy boys, the impulse itself to talk about masculinity is categorically pretty “sus” to begin with.
In Western neoliberal societies, the solipsistic subjectivism with which we think about the various attributes of our identities turns them into commodities. Identity for us is artifice, it’s invention, rather than being born organically from the concrete realities handed to us in life. We look to categories like masculinity and femininity as costumes with which we spice up our performance of selfhood. In this regard, Tate’s performance of hypermasculinity and a drag queen’s performance of artificial, fetishized hyperfemininity may as well be two sides of the same coin.
The series of videos featuring Tate and Twitch gaming star Adin Ross only serve to further this point. The dialogues between the two are reminiscent of Socrates and Alcibiades — the wise, elder master and his precocious young disciple. Like in ancient times, Ross’ desire to drink from the fountain of Tate’s wisdom seems to be mixed with erotic longing, which is anything but shocking to Ross’ fans, who are already familiar with his reputation for making thinly veiled homoerotic comments toward other men (for shock value, of course [?]).
In one video, Ross fawns sycophantically over Tate, who welcomes him to his house in Dubai wearing only tight, low-cut kickboxing shorts. Over the course of the discussion, Ross indulges in the sus antics he’s known for. He asks if he can also remove his own shirt and proceeds to do so despite Tate expressing that he has no interest in looking at his “pudgy” body. After doing so, Ross insists on flexing the few noticeable muscles that he has and then goes on to challenge Tate to arm wrestle him.
After losing five matches, he begs Tate to let him smoke one of his cigars, right before Tate starts bragging about the size of his genitals. He intends to prove to all of their viewers that his member is the “largest in the world,” only for Ross to beg him not to — out of the fear of getting banned for breaking Twitch’s censorship policy. Ross continues to shower Tate with compliments, reminding him that he flew halfway across the world just to see him, as Tate repeatedly hurls insults at him — which Ross seems to enjoy in a masochistic kind of way. Ross, who envies Tate’s physique (despite being, as some would argue, a butterface), begs Tate to teach him how to get a six-pack.
Workout trends that focus on developing an aesthetically appealing physique — rather than developing virtue or the strength to carry out one’s duties — have called some to question the extent to which even macho gym bros are being feminized. As art critic John Berger once observed, men look at women, and women look at men looking at them. The slew of men getting dolled up in chic, revealing outfits to go to the gym, carrying tripods so that they can record and later post their workouts — or worse, the men who gaze upon themselves in the mirror and take pictures of themselves flexing — speak to the homoerotic energy within today’s gym culture. There’s a reason some people consider homosexuality to be a narcissism of the soul.
Unlike the old days of “physical culture clubs” where “close knit groups of friends [worked out] together,” at most corporate gyms, says Joe Enabnit, the founder of a small privately owned gym in Minnesota, we are likely to find “sad masses of people” there “alone, headphones in, avoiding eye contact, looking at themselves in the mirror. With Instagram filters, good lighting, and the right angle, [men] can get a lot of likes on their page (which come mostly from gay men).”
“But even if they don’t desire the attention of men,” he continues, “it feels good. They get a sense of validation and a hit of dopamine when they get a click, and they secretly enjoy when a gay man comments an eggplant emoji … instead of men gazing at women, it is men putting themselves on display. But unlike a woman who puts herself on display to attract a man, these men are doing it in hopes of feeling like they matter. They want someone to acknowledge that they exist, and that they are doing a good job.”
Drag queen Zach Langley “Chi Chi” insists that thirst traps betray the traditional image of masculine beauty, which consisted of “a particular balance between a withholding privacy and cultivated manly strength … Self consciously imagining yourself as beautiful and visually presenting yourself that way suggests a homosexual and archetypal approach to masculinity that’s too knowing, too showy, too theatrical…” Langley, who identifies as a gay man, points to the Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, whose “most desirable male images were almost always the ones untainted by self-cognizance. A thirst trap is the negative impression of that unspoken, luxurious maleness.”
The Bronze Age Pervert’s diagnosis of male homosexuality becoming a widespread phenomenon (as well as his own homoerotic tendencies) sheds light on the Tate fandom. BAP contends that contemporary homosexuality is born of the fact that masculinity has been made largely inaccessible to more and more men due to the proliferation of bureaucracies and technocratic power (or “bugmen”). In a Freudian way, the “otherization” of masculinity generates erotic tension toward it as an ideal. We see this in BAP’s fixation with (and frequent Twitter posts of) classical depictions of strong, muscular men.
Within this view, one could also consider Nietzsche (upon whom BAP bases his philosophy) to be “gay” (I’m not the only one to have pointed this out). BAP, Nietzsche, (to a lesser extent) Jordan Peterson, and their red-pilled incel followers valorize masculine strength while remaining rather gaunt and cloying themselves. This tension between the red-pilled Wojack and the Chad who embodies the ideals they idolize is rife with erotic tension.
Many attribute this “feminization” in part to the shift toward service-sector jobs and away from the nuclear family mode as normative. In a recent study, Richard Reeves found that these shifts have left “less powerful men … adrift and disconnected.” Similarly, Sean Thor Conroe, whose novel Fuccboi “charts a reckoning within societal conceptions of masculinity under late-stage capitalism,” notices that “there’s a certain type of young boy, often fatherless, and without an inclination towards certain intellectual or scientific modes, and their outlets for applying their libidinal, productive energy seems to be disappearing more and more in America … men need tasks. They need to find a use for themselves, or else, they take it out on someone else.”
“The old Platonic ideal of capitalism,” he continues, “doesn’t work clearly, but it can in microcosms — like in what role people have, and what tasks they do for the group … Ideas of honour and chivalry aren’t even in the lexicon anymore.” While he has no interest in reverting to “medieval times,” he insists that there’s “something interesting about” those ideals. “Sometimes people want clear direction or instruction.”
At the end of the day, I have a hard time taking the Tate debacle seriously. On my off [my meds] days, I wonder if it’s all just a government psyop designed to radicalize the members of the red-pilled manosphere so that they start behaving in morally depraved ways, thus making it much easier to stigmatize anyone (even the more mild Peterson and Rogan types) who advocates for heroic masculine virtue … or even who believe that there is indeed such a thing as a gender binary. Maybe it is … maybe it isn’t. All I know is that this video that surfaced last week does little to refute my case.
Stephen G. Adubato studied moral theology at Seton Hall University and currently teaches religion and philosophy in N.J. He also is the host of the “Cracks in Postmodernity” blog on Substack and podcast. Follow him on Twitter @stephengadubato.