Andrew Tate: Group trying a ‘different approach’ with teenagers

3 hours ago

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Natasha Eeles founded Bold Voices to fight against gender-based violence

One group says a “different approach” is needed to have conversations with teenagers about controversial influencer Andrew Tate.

Bold Voices goes to schools and colleges and offers workshops to combat gender inequality and violence.

Founder Natasha Eeles says her team noticed teenage boys struggled to identify positive male mentors.

She said simply calling Tate “bad” was unhelpful and could alienate young people.

Tate, a former kickboxer, has millions of followers online – despite being banned from sites like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for misogynistic comments.

He is currently being held in Romania alongside his brother Tristan as part of an investigation into allegations of human trafficking and rape – which both deny.

Ms Eeles said: “It is important not to put Andrew Tate in a ‘bad box’ because then you put any young person who believes what he says in that too. We need a different approach.”

Founded four years ago, Bold Voices has visited dozens of schools across the country, including many in the west of England, speaking to more than 20,000 students and 2,000 staff.

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Andrew Tate (left) and his brother Tristan Tate have been in prison since late 2022

Ms Eeles continued: “It’s not necessarily Andrew Tate as a person that is attractive, it’s the lack of other positive male role models. In this absence, he can step in and draw attention to himself.

“If you ask guys who their role models are, we either get fictional characters or they don’t.”

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Miss Eeles, a Wiltshire native who went to Bristol University, founded Bold Voices with the aim of “bringing critical conversations about gender into schools”.

“We’re focused on creating spaces for conversation and creating a common language between young people, parents and staff to have conversations that aren’t always easy to have but really matter,” she said.

Image source, BOLD VOICES

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Natasha Eeles holds a Master’s degree in Gender

Miss Eeles, who has a master’s degree in gender, said Andrew Tate had popped up in talks in schools since July 2022.

She said: “The picture of what gender issues are like in schools is complex, there is a lot going on in everyday life that we don’t always notice, stereotypes, attitudes and behavior that we dismiss as normal.

“Andrew Tate is just a symptom of that broader culture, he’s been a big talking point and young people have been talking about him for the last year – his narrative and ideology have surfaced a lot.”

She said students expressed a “full spectrum” of views, but the “most common” were teenagers, who said they liked some of what the influencer says – but not all.

Image source, BOLD VOICES

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The team discusses topics such as intersectionality and prepares students for university

“There’s definitely a trend of more boys supporting it – but that aside – we’ve met a lot of girls who think the same way,” said Miss Eeles.

She said some young people identified with Tate’s apparent success and his expression of stereotypes that her team was trying to break.

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“We’re trying to connect with young people to talk about very traditional notions of restrictive masculinity,” she said.

Bold Voices has created a toolkit for schools, parents and young people with tips on how to start conversations.

Miss Eeles said: “Our first tip is not to treat it as a one-off event. Don’t aim to change anyone’s mind—it’s about regular, ongoing conversations.

“Second tip is to move away from binaries like good and bad – don’t put Andrew Tate in a bad box. Once you do that you put every young person in that box and that just doesn’t help – you’ve settled in. We need to move to a critical thinking approach.

“Finally, you make a personal connection to the topic. Parents often find the issues young people engage with difficult to access as they happen through a digital lens that they themselves did not have growing up.

“What we are saying, however, is that all the problems young people face have their roots in the same problems we all experienced growing up – stereotypes, language use, it’s all connected to bedrock – so find this connection.”