Reproductions of Tate's chokehold
How outright and subliminal misogyny in mainstream “self-help” media is taking the fun out of casual dating
By Cassie Wong-Wylie, Contributor
Navigating sexual shame as a girl, teen and, now, a young woman is something that is a very much shared and lived experience for the gross majority of women. Personally, I remember feeling a lot of shame about my sexuality from other women. It was easy to feel less judgment from men who were drawn to sexual prowess.
Fast forward to today, when I now feel relatively secure in my embodied sexuality and work hard to omit shame from my sex life, I find fellowship and power when talking about sexuality with other women. This shift, however, has also come with newfound obstacles. I began to encounter men who view sex as a physical actualization of sexist societal values and their sexual pursuits sought to secure their place as the apex, “alpha”, sex.
I cannot tell if it was my aging that revealed these sorts of men or the landscape around me that caused them to emerge. A landscape that is directly regressive to gender equality and emphatically contributes to homophobia, transphobia, female subjugation and by extension, sexual subjugation. This is namely, the chokehold that right-winged, misogynistic, “personal-growth gurus” like Andrew Tate and Jordan Peterson seem to have on boys and young men via social media platforms.
Dating, sex, relationships and general social interactions have changed since the fanaticism, or even just subliminal influence, of the macho-hustle mentality and with it, a new wave of outright misogyny. I can say confidently I have met the men I once thought only existed as hyperbolized wisecracks and parodies of pathetically insecure men my friends and I would joke about. After having met these caricatures, I believe the sensationalized Tate brothers, Jordan Peterson and other men who nonchalantly front self-help through avenues of female subjugation have ruined dating.
This isn’t to say all men have been corrupted by this influence. However, with how influential this mentality has become, I see myself on a night out or a first date dreading that a guy might secretly revere a “boom in her face, grab her neck, shut her up” pseudo-mantra, just to quote one instance where Tate quite literally encourages sexual violence.
It's crazy to be talking to a man and suddenly, with just the slightest reference or name drop to the Tates, you realize he probably thinks you shouldn’t even be speaking when not spoken to. Additionally, having to psychoanalyze everything in a conversation and constantly trying to read between the lines has impeded playful banter. I also admit to the very embarrassing example of when a man says, “I love Jordan Peterson” and I agree, thinking we are being flirtatiously sarcastic, only to realize he is being totally serious when he asks me what the word ‘misogyny’ means.
Even beyond the sphere of conversation in dating, sex and sexual shame has also been impacted by masculinist gurus. The age-old conversation of how the porn industry normalizes and fetishizes aspects of sexual violence and female subjugation for the male gaze has now been superseded by Tate’s direct normalization and advocation for female sexual degradation and abuse.
Even men who do not ascribe to these channels and condemn the figureheads are not immune to the subliminal domination sex “commands”. Though it may not swing to the extremes, just ask the people in your life their thoughts about choking or a hand on her throat during foreplay and I bet you would be shocked by the number of people who say it’s so normal that it’s almost obligatory. Now, while that might not be directly oppressive, it still contributes to a culture focusing on male domination in the bedroom.
Although male domination during sex may simply be just a social symptom of millennia of patriarchy, celebrities who are deified based on upholding repressive values will have further impacts. Who's to say what the next version of the playful choke is? With pop culture becoming radicalized, I wouldn’t doubt overt, sexual and non-consensual male domination to follow suit, particularly as the young generations of TikTok kids become sexually active.
This isn’t to say that dating, men or sex need to be sworn off. Although the dating field has changed and new litmus tests for partners are required, I try not to allow advances from men who gain security in their lives by denigrating women’s autonomy as the oppressive force it aims to be. Instead, I hope to find renewed communion with women and establish strongholds of support as we are forced to fortify our status as equally alpha. Ultimately, I hope we all find refuge from sexual shame in each other, and not in a hollow, Tate-esc cult of personality.