The Red Pill is detrimental to young men

Over the past year, the once little-known online “men’s rights” group The Red Pill received widespread public attention after self-identified “alpha males” on social media gained massive popularity. Many critics of these creators often acknowledge how this content is harmful to women, but few recognize how this community has harmed young men. 

The phrase “taking the Red Pill” stems from the movie “The Matrix.” Like in the movie, “taking the red pill” means discovering the truth or changing one’s perspective. This “truth” in the red pill community is essentially believing that women dominate the world—primarily sexually—and that men must face the consequences.

The Red Pill community is a part of the “manosphere,” which is a collection of online groups and forums that advocate for masculinity and misogyny. The “manosphere” is known to radicalize men towards extremist misogynistic views, which has led to the glorification of harassment and physical violence toward women.

These more extremist ideals typically have been ridiculed and mocked by many outside of the community. Thus, Red Pill ideology typically has remained concentrated within spaces on Reddit. However, TikTok and YouTube creators like Andrew Tate and Nico Kenn De Balinthazy, known as SNEAKO online, popularized this ideology by making it palatable and attractive to young men. Tate’s content is so popular that he was the third most searched person on Google in 2020, which put him above Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, according to Glimpse. 

Andrew Tate uses his carefree playboy personality and edgy humor to attract a teenage male audience. He jokes about dominating women, owning many different color Bugatti sports cars, and wearing watches worth thousands of dollars. He promotes a flashy lifestyle of women, cars and money, while straying away from more traditional relationship values. By creating an in-group of lifestyle contrarians, many young men feel acceptance and a sense of superiority in these spaces.

Before getting banned across social media platforms, Tate and his fans took advantage of TikTok and Instagram algorithms to reach these massive teenage audiences. Some of the most controversial takes were posted in a short, consumable clip to expand viewership. In some of these videos, he expresses his views that a woman’s body belongs to her boyfriend, that he would beat his girlfriend if she accused him of cheating, and that depression is not real.

Some of the more obvious problems with young men consuming content like this are that they warp their perspective of women to be nihilistic and inaccurate to reality. It can severely harm a young man’s confidence if he believes that all women are shallow and will never find him attractive. This can warp how they view their mothers, sisters and female friends and can lead to some becoming frustrated when people do not see the world in the way that they do. Additionally, relationship dissatisfaction can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when young men project their misogynistic preconceived notions onto the women they wish to pursue. 

Those who support and are involved in The Red Pill argue that these creators enrich young men by teaching them masculine values. However, these “values” are superficial as they promote a lifestyle of trivial vices to fill the void. A lifestyle of bodybuilding, fast cars, beautiful women, and making money through cryptocurrency is attractive, but in no way is this enriching to one’s character. Although they claim to be virtuous and educational, seldom do these creators teach how to find happiness in relationships and how to find genuine satisfaction in life.

Boys who may not have adult men in their lives cling to Tate, SNEAKO and others as role models. They are attracted to their unapologetic masculine personalities and seek out their validation as they lack that male validation elsewhere. However, “swallowing the red pill” is an unfulfilling and negative approach to manhood. 

Boys need male role models who enrich them and their masculinity, not creators who promote misogyny and abuse the algorithm to spread hate.