Andrew Tate converted to Islam. My faith was always taught to celebrate when someone joined our ranks. “More of us:” That was the rationale behind the joy that people exhibit whenever someone decided to become a Muslim. The us versus them narrative obviates any inconvenient questions arising and muddying the contrived sense of solidarity. So, we always welcome new brothers entering our midst, with no questions asked.
Although I genuinely believe that no one should have the authority to judge a person’s intentions when joining a new faith, I think by considering Tate’s words we have clues as to why he chose Islam.
Perhaps first, I should admit that prior to researching this piece, I had no idea who Andrew Tate was. A fact that I don’t know whether I should be proud or ashamed of. Yet, as I watched videos of Tate and read other’s opinions about him, I saw the inherent danger of his conversion, along with his appeal. Before we can wag our fingers to dismiss Tate’s narrative as misogynistic garbage, we should firstly examine it.
Andrew Tate, a former Kickboxing champion who rose to fame, briefly becoming the most Googled person by posting controversial videos about his beliefs, mostly relating to masculine-feminine dynamics. His complete disregard for any form of political correctness granted him the position of being the anti-woke hero par excellence. His views include, but not limited to, his belief that women are men’s property. The reason is that women are given away by their fathers to their future husband, relinquishing their maiden names to take their husband’s family name.
He also believes that an 18-year-old woman is more beautiful than a 25-year-old. This is because an 18-year-old has less, or preferably no sexual experience in comparison to a 25-year-old woman. He also believes that a man should have an authority over “his” woman since he has a duty to protect her and can’t fulfil that duty unless she submits to him.
These points of view allude to why feminists are furious with. However, on closer inspection one could claim that Tate merely articulates entrenched and existing biases against women. Also, we may be offered clues to why Tate chose Islam.
The issue of property seems the most offensive. Should a woman be considered man’s property? Ideally, of course not. Women are sovereign individuals who should not be owned by another. But one can’t help to see that there’s a tragic truth in this statement when in Afghanistan girls are sold by their parents to much older men under the guise of marriage. Or when in the UK underage girls are unofficially married in Nikah ceremonies. Can a female married under these circumstances claim that she is equal to her husband? I don’t think so.
The second claim that an 18-year-old is more beautiful than a 25-year-old woman is sadly exhibited not only within dysfunctional relationships but by the wider populace. Modelling agencies that represent the pinnacle of female beauty explicitly mention that a 16- or 18-year-old model is more prized than a 25-year-old. One could argue that the modelling milieu is equally misogynistic, and I would agree. Yet, this toxicity doesn’t invalidate the fact that when commercial brands want to sell more, they almost always choose the younger “more beautiful” model. That their consumers, us, always are more inclined to purchase their products when we see a younger, fresher face. Does that mean that we are all implicated in this horrendous belief? Yes, I’m afraid it does.
Authority for Tate is a consequence of rigid masculine/feminine roles. A man has a duty to provide and protect, while a woman’s duty is to obey. Perhaps this formulation doesn’t match up to the ideal of gender equality. Yet, if we were to look at a widespread phenomenon among young, beautiful Western women, namely having a “sugar daddy,” we would find Tate’s repulsive words manifest in all their glory. The issue isn’t with the blatant misogyny within the sugar daddy arrangement, it is the fact that it is camouflaged, and sugar coated under the guise of female empowerment.
In the end I found myself wondering what I should be more indignant about. Should I be infuriated that Tate aligned his hateful narrative about women with Islam? Or should I be more infuriated by Tate merely expressed the existing inequalities that most societies subject their women to? Should I be furious that a pervasive understanding of Islam, one that obsessively concerns itself with a woman’s body, has made Tate feel at home? I don’t know. Since I can’t judge Tate’s faith, I can only hope that in studying Islam he can discover beauty and mercy that extend far beyond his existing beliefs.