Girl pupils 'at risk' after rise in 'toxic masculinity' in schools
Girl pupils ‘at risk’ after an alarming rise in ‘toxic masculinity’ in schools
- Influencer Andrew Tate blamed as nine-year-olds show signs of misogyny
Female pupils and staff in Scotland’s schools are at risk from an alarming rise in ‘toxic masculinity’ which has sparked an urgent classroom crackdown.
Social media influencers such as Andrew Tate – whose hateful online rants have earned him millions of followers, especially among teenage boys – are blamed for fuelling misogyny among secondary and primary school pupils.
Staff report boys using catchphrases that belittle women, pulling at girls’ clothes, sending unwanted explicit photos to female classmates and harassing female teachers.
In one example, a group of boys refused to be taught by one teacher and then distributed a faked pornographic image of her.
Staff also report worrying signs of violence and coercive control in teenage relationships.
Andrew Tate is followed by millions on social media, especially teenage boys
Teenage boys are particularly susceptible to content on platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, as well as being increasingly influenced by violent porn. However, campaigners say toxic masculinity is spreading even in primary schools, with children as young as nine being influenced by Tate.
Now a group representing police, NHS, charities and local authority experts has issued guidance for Scottish schools on dealing with the issue.
The document by the Fife Violence Against Women Partnership (FVAWP) states: ‘FVAWP co-ordinators have received concerns that an increased rate of misogynistic behaviour is being seen among school pupils.
‘This is particularly, but not exclusively, among boys and is being seen in both primary and secondary schools. It is thought that this is linked to content from social media and influencers, including Andrew Tate.
‘This is not limited to Fife – we have been advised by colleagues that it is being seen across Scotland.’
It warns misogyny can lead to ‘rape, sexual offences, harassment and bullying, and domestic abuse’, putting female pupils and staff at a heightened risk of violence.
Group co-ordinator Laura Pearson said: ‘There was a period, probably before the summer, where Andrew Tate was at his absolute peak and that was when it really came to our attention that we were hearing boys speaking positively about Andrew Tate.’
One report concerned children as young as primary 5. Staff reported pupils using catchphrases popularised by Tate, including ‘make me a sandwich’ – issued as an order to belittle women.
Teachers are worried about behaviour in primaries
Female teachers were also reportedly harassed.
Ms Pearson added: ‘We did have a particularly distressing report of a female teacher being targeted. There was a group of boys that refused to be taught by her because she was a female teacher.
‘They imposed her photo onto the body of a porn star or a glamour model and were distributing that around the school and that was very degrading to her.’
She said it was important to talk about other behaviour such as ‘banter, pulling girls’ hair, pinging their bra strap, pulling at their skirts – it’s not just a joke to girls. It’s about a power imbalance.’
Staff have now been trained to talk to pupils about misogynistic comments and to encourage ‘critical thinking’ about online content.
Teachers said ‘sexist attitudes and a culture of misogyny’ in schools and wider society were concerning.
EIS union assistant secretary Anne Keenan said more than half of respondents in a survey believed boys were more likely to exhibit violent and aggressive behaviour towards women teachers.
She added: ‘In recognising the impact of misogyny on both pupil and teacher wellbeing, we urgently need the Scottish Government and Cosla to take action.’
A bad influence on boys’ minds
He has risen to notoriety as the unashamed poster boy for sexism and misogyny.
Despite his outrageous views on women and endless bragging about his wealth, Andrew Tate has a vast global reach, having amassed millions of followers on social media.
Many horrified parents are still finding out what their children have long known – that Tate believes women ‘belong in the home’ and are the ‘property’ of men.
He claims to want to be a positive force, and gives motivational speeches in which he claims to live a ‘righteous life’. But he also makes incendiary references to women as ‘hoes’, ‘bitches’ and ‘intrinsically lazy’.
Tate, 36, a former professional kick-boxer, came to wider public attention when he appeared on Big Brother in 2016.
He was booted off the show after a video of him appearing to assault a woman emerged – a clip which Tate later said merely depicted role play.
Tate has been banned from Facebook and Instagram for violating the platforms’ policies on ‘dangerous individuals’.
Describing how he would react if a woman accused him of cheating, he said: ‘It’s bang out the machete, boom her in the face and grip her up by the neck.’
He was also banned from Twitter for saying women should ‘bear responsibility’ for being sexually assaulted – although he was later permitted to continue posting.
In June, Tate, who was born in Washington D.C. and later moved to Luton after his parents split, was charged in Romania with rape, human trafficking and forming an organised crime group to sexually exploit women. He denies the charges.
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