One might think that current social norms should make young people more open about gender equality and feminist ideas.
According to a new survey by The Policy Institute at King's College London and the Global Institute for Women's Leadership, 25% of male respondents aged 16 to 29 said it is more difficult to be a man than to be a woman.
More worryingly, The Independent reports, is that 20% of respondents say they like social media influencer Andrew Tate.
Andrew Tate, a self-proclaimed “success coach” and “artist of conquest“, is accused of harassing women to convince them to have intimate relations.
He is currently facing charges of human trafficking and rape in Romania (charges he denies).
Her popularity among Gen Z, with an estimated 8 million followers on the X platform, indicates a worrying step backwards for those in the said age group, says Rosie Campbell of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership.
“Of course, the internet does not excuse misogyny: men who absorb toxic content must be held accountable too“, columnist Ellie Muir writes for The Independent.
It blames social media algorithms that operate on extremes: if people tend to click and engage with the most sensational, hyperbolic content, that's also the content that the algorithm delivers.
The Internet is to blame for the perception of young people
Professor Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at King's College London which coordinated the survey, told The Guardian he was seeing an “unusual” generational pattern when it came to views of feminism among Gen Z.
Younger generations are typically more comfortable with emerging social norms, but the survey suggests the opposite is happening here. “This indicates a real danger of division among this coming generationDuffy said.
“It is an image rooted in patriarchy and gender inequality, a paradox in which men are simultaneously the dominant sex, entitled to power and influence over women, while also being the victims of unruly and oppressive so-called feministsMuir protested.
Henry Mance of the Financial Times wrote that Tate's message “resonated with some boys, perhaps especially those who felt society looked down on masculinity and, by extension, themselves“.
Muir believes platforms like Twitter/X or TikTok need to do more to suppress harmful and misogynistic content. Or, failing that, changes in legislation could be a way for improvement, she says.