To Andrew Tate Followers Who Feel Downtrodden by Society: Straight White Men Always Win | Zoya Patel
AAs for TikTok’s viral content, Flynn Martin’s controversial rant started out unassuming: a young white guy sitting in his car, baseball cap and gray t-shirt, talking conversationally. He meanders for the first few seconds with caveats and prevarications, but his next sentence sets the app on fire. “Is it really okay,” he drawls, “to be a straight white man? Because I was born that way. Cue thousands of points and duets tearing Martin to pieces .
I watched the original TikTok video — which has since been deleted, along with his original Phlinmartin account — with a kind of sick fascination. As he ranted about emasculated feminist men, whom he called fat and unfit, I wondered what made Martin snap and spit such nonsense on the internet.
While others mocked his opinions and pointed out obvious flaws in his logic, I couldn’t get past the naked insecurity of this young man who seemed to sincerely feel a sense of persecution simply for existing as a straight white male. that it is.
Having experienced real discrimination as a brown person and as a woman in the patriarchy, I could see an anger in Martin that was reflected in me – it’s just that his idea of oppression and my experience of it are worlds apart. Why? Because the frustration he’s reacting to is all about the social sphere, while the racism and sexism that I’m obsessed with is rooted in all systems of society – school, health, work.
Martin, who is Australian, is not the first of his kind to take to social media to vent his frustration at what he sees as the woke police ruining everything for straight white men. Online influencers like Andrew Tate, whom Martin refers to in the TikTok, make a living fueling the directionless rage of young men, and in some ways I have to hand it to them for owning the victim narrative so effectively. .
But what Martin and other young men of his ilk don’t seem to realize is that even as their social capital declines, heterosexual white men still win, when it comes to tangible indicators of well-being.
If you are white in Australia, you are already statistically ahead in terms of life expectancy, education and health compared to First Nations Australians. If you are a man, you are statistically more likely to rise to leadership positions, less likely to experience sexual violence, and will likely earn more than women in the same position as you. And if you’re straight, you won’t face the higher likelihood of experiencing discrimination, sexual harassment or workplace violence than LGBTQ+ Australians may.
Perhaps the only caveat I would add would be to add the words “middle class” to Martin’s long list of complaints, because class privilege intersects with other privileges and opportunities.
But while these inequalities remain entrenched, progress towards correcting these imbalances has stalled at the recognition stage. Those with the most social and political power (including those who ridiculed Martin’s original video and even Martin himself) are busy ranking who is most marginalized or most privileged, while people who face the tangible impacts of inequality struggle alone.
It would have been easy to join the hordes and laugh at Martin, shake his head at his supposed ignorance, and move on. But I actually felt a little tired that the message of understanding systemic inequality and privilege has become so distorted that we’re now focused on explaining to straight white men that they’re not somehow victims of the same system which was designed with their needs in mind, rather than advocating meaningful policy action to address the inequalities we have identified for minorities.
Would Martin and his friends really oppose, for example, making child care more accessible, or increasing the supply of affordable and social housing, or funding better health programs to reduce harm? tobacco use in low socioeconomic communities? I bet if they were asked these questions outside the context of identity politics, they would at least consider the merits of each solution.
Instead, it’s very likely that the backlash from his video only reinforced to Martin that easily offended snowflakes online unfairly hate straight white men. And we actually really need straight white men – the ones with the most power – to be on board if we’re going to change anything for the better.