The problem with TikTok alpha males
Self-professed “alphas” like Andrew Tate are racking up millions of views on the platform, as they dish out the worst dating advice, like, ever, while wearing terrible suits. Don’t listen to any of it.
“My female is taken care of and has a fantastic life. She does not need to go on holiday to be a hoe on some random table because her friend met some random dude on Tinder. Fuck no,” bellows Andrew Tate, as he explains why he wouldn’t let a girlfriend go on holiday with her friends – disrespectful behaviour, apparently. “Stay home!”
An ex-kickboxer and Big Brother contestant, this kind of flagrant misogyny is unsurprising from a man who once claimed that women “should bear some responsibility” for rape. But you know what makes it worse? The fact that he has almost a combined 5 million followers across TikTok and Instagram who agree with him. Tate, with his Bezos bald buzz cut and cigar smoking selfies, is part of a new breed of influencer that’s wreaking havoc on everyone’s feeds: the alpha males.
Whether it’s Tate or some other guy in a suit banging on about his ambiguous corporate job and his strange feelings about the world (mainly, that he hates women), these so-called alpha males are everywhere. They’ve been knocking around the podcast scene (shudder) for a while, but right now, it feels as though there’s a brand new, freshly-launched chauvinist hitting TikTok’s “for you” page every other day. For me? I’ll keep scrolling, thanks. Those utterly useless life hack videos are more helpful.
These alpha males have some pretty weird ideas about relationships. In one now-deleted video that went viral for all the wrong reasons, a self-described alpha recommends “not leaving a girl alone until she gives in and gives you your number”, if you get rejected. In another now-deleted video (sensing a theme here?), alpha male duo influencers Fresh n Fit, who are banned from TikTok but are still on YouTube with 813,000 subscribers, recommend that men should always respond to women asking to reschedule a date with a punishment, so they don’t “reinforce undesirable behaviour with positive treatment,” as though they’re Pavlov conditioning a bad dog.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “Monogamy goes against a man’s natural state, sexual fidelity is women’s natural state,” one of the Fresh n Fit hosts says in another video dedicated to explaining why fidelity in a relationship is only the woman’s responsibility. Even the kids are at it. Back on TikTok, a teenage alpha demonstrates how saving women from men who are harassing them can help you get their phone numbers. Yikes.
What’s rotting their brains, you ask? Well, alpha male “relationship advice” pretty much boils down to one thing: control. These men view women as pesky, obnoxious, elusive nightmares, who can only be good partners with the right amount of manipulation, scheming, strategy and rigid, archaic gender roles. And this mentality results in the tips that are just… not good. Terrible, actually. Any guy subscribing to this content (and paying for it in some cases – many alphas offer paid in-person workshops) will get absolutely nowhere with the alpha dating strategy.
Take, for example, one of the most popular alpha dating coaches on TikTok, Russell Hartley. Hartley has raked in 653.2k followers for his dating advice, where he describes what he thinks women bring to the table (not much), how women should be treated (like a prisoner), and how men should be acting in order to attract “high value” or “good women” (because, remember, these are rare objects).
In one of his videos, Hartley rakes in more than 100,000 likes and comments from mainly men, as he coaches them through how to bin small-talk and have a conversation that isn’t “snoozeville”. The advice? Treat her like a normal person by asking your date where she’s from, what she does for fun and what she does for a living. Revelatory! It’s a little worrying that Hartley’s advice, which earns him his fame and money, is literally just telling men to ask women questions. 100,000 men can’t really be that lost, can they?
It’s easy to watch alpha male content and burst out laughing. It’s hard to take them seriously when they almost verge on parody. But as UKCP Psychotherapist John-Paul Davies points out, there are real dangers to platforming some of the ideas they share. And with top-ranking alpha male videos gaining anywhere between 200,000 and 1,000,000 likes, this mentality is clearly spreading.
Davies explains that the theory that “alpha” and “beta” males get different sexual responses from women based on their behaviours comes from a yearning for survival. It’s convenient for men to believe that they are alpha, “so that they can dominate social situations and be the one in control.” But why, then, are so many self-professed alphas offering to help their inferior betas? John-Paul reckons they have ulterior motives. “It’s not in their interest to have more alpha males to compete with. I imagine there is some monetary gain [to “helping” betas date better].” Sounds about right.
In the most extreme alpha male content, men completely write off relationships with women, claiming love, sex and women in general are only sources of pain or regression. One popular TikTok alpha, Jay the King, spent the last couple of years documenting his restraint from women, before soft-launching his girlfriend a few weeks ago. His comments section was subsequently full of despair, with one loyal follower saying, “she’s going to break your heart, man.” He even calls himself a “fallen soldier” in the caption of one of his videos hanging out with her.
In cases like Jay the King’s, it seems that these men have been so hurt or rejected by relationships in the past, that they’ve built an online community based on avoiding them altogether. This reaction is totally understandable – people often move towards celibacy and vow to stop dating when they’ve been hurt. But the misogyny that breeds through rejection in these spaces? Creepy.
“There is this huge anger [coming from alpha males] towards beta males and towards women. A number of them will be wounded, frightened and hurt. Something has happened in their past to make themselves feel this way,” says Davies. “It’s not an excuse for anything, but some people overcompensate when they are hurt, rather than sitting in fear. They act superior [by talking down to their audience and offering “advice” coming from a place of power] and the follower count going up only feeds this ‘special worthlessness’ idea.”
And, at its core, that’s exactly what alpha male content is: overcompensation for rejection. When you strip back the bravado and cocksure advice, these alpha male communities are more akin to glammed-up incels than Will Smith in Hitch.
Davies adds that some alphas’ advice from TikTok could genuinely be harmful in the wrong hands. “Manipulating a partner to do what you want them to can fall under emotional abuse and cause a partner to undergo poor psychological wellbeing.” There’s no wonder TikTok has started flagging anything tagged “#alphamale” as “potentially hateful behaviour” and begun removing the worst culprits, like Fresh n Fit. As Davies says, alpha dating culture isn’t really about overcoming pain and finding love or connection. It’s establishing yourself as a “winner”.
“Most of these videos are about winning and displaying wealth, and sometimes the women are treated as that wealth acquired,” he says. “It’s no relationship.”
Alpha male rhetoric is more than a red flag. It’s a neon billboard that’s blinking “RUN!” At best, following this dating advice will get you a truly terrible relationship. At worst, it will turn you into a total monster. Why choose between those two terrible options when you could just, you know, be normal?