On being a man: Andrew Tate and Donald Trump are the worst possible examples

We're in a bad place if millions of men think these two whiny babies are actually masculine role models

By Nathaniel Manderson

Contributing writer

Published October 29, 2023 6:00AM (EDT)

Andrew Tate and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Andrew Tate and Donald Trump (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

The current panic about masculinity and what it means to be a man, I have to say, is perhaps the dumbest problem ever discussed in the public arena. And we're in a very unhealthy place if any significant number of young men look to people like Donald Trump or Andrew Tate as role models.

It's certainly true that there's a traditional idea in American culture about what it means to be a man, and that this is backed wholeheartedly by my brethren evangelical church. You know what I mean: A man is supposed to protect, provide for and control his household. He is the general and he needs to be tough. To be honest, this is something I have simply never understood. If you want to be all those things, then go ahead and be them. But no one should need to check off items on a list in order to define themselves as a man.  

I must admit that as a man, I am different from that model. I certainly do some "manly" things. I drive an American-made pickup truck. I can fix things around the house, carry heavy objects and kill spiders on demand. I know the names of most tools that I own. On the other hand, my daughters, who label themselves as sexually fluid, gay and various other things I do not entirely understand, tell me I have suppressed my gayness. They may have a point: I obsessively watch "The Crown," I'm extremely neat, I appreciate women's fashion and I enjoy mopping up in the kitchen more than going on dates with women. I have no problem with any of that: I think mopping is plenty manly. And who doesn’t love "The Crown"?

Most men of my generation and older were never permitted to be fluid in their sexuality or their gender identity. We suppressed any and all feelings about that stuff. We signed up for the football team and slapped each other on the butt to express affection for our friends. Nowadays we just show this through our love of Tom Brady, or our obsession with MMA fighting and WWE wrestling. I'm not sure if you ever watch those things, but both MMA and WWE generally involve two men in their underwear putting each other in various suggestive positions, while an audience largely consisting of "straight" men cheer in approval.  

I drive an American-made pickup. I can fix things and kill spiders. But my daughters claim I'm suppressing my gayness, and maybe they have a point: I watch "The Crown," I'm obsessively neat and I appreciate women's fashion.

With all that in mind, maybe the current debate over masculinity makes a bit more sense. I've heard it preached loudly by Josh Hawley, the Republican senator from Missouri who went running out of the Capitol on Jan. 6 when he saw scary people coming. The world has heard too much of Donald Trump's phony tough talk, usually from his exclusive private club where he never has to encounter gross working-class people, unless they're cleaning his room or delivering his nachos.  

More recently I have heard the dumbest possible version of this masculine energy coming from Andrew Tate, a mysteriously popular podcaster and "manfluencer." Tate is so desperate to control the women in his life that he uses religion to do so. Even as a believing Christian, I must admit that if you want to convince a woman to submit to your control, religion can be a valuable weapon. First, Tate tried the Christian faith. Although the Bible has verses about submission, apparently that wasn't strong enough language for him. Now he has converted to Islam, I suppose because he feels that faith really places men over women in authority, value and strength.  His main point of view, as I perceive it, is that a man should have a car, a house, lots of money and a submissive woman, preferably posed naked on a bearskin rug.  

I am somewhat familiar with the teachings of Jesus, who is a prophet in the Islamic faith and the messiah of the Christian faith. But I must have missed or overlooked the part where Jesus says, "Love yourself, worship money, and own and control women." Maybe Tate can point me to those verses? After all my research on Andrew Tate, I have reached a clear conclusion: He is quite simply an idiot.

I've watched a couple of Tate's interviews and he strongly reminds me of a certain segment of the population that I've dealt with quite a bit: 16-year-old boys. Like him, they are full of anger, empty of thought, low on education and experience, completely self-absorbed and almost entirely driven by insecurity.  

I find that intriguing in a man like Tate. He's a talented athlete who has made lots of money and has clearly been with a lot of women, but none of those stereotypically masculine qualities make him feel secure in his masculinity. Is it that weak chin or his bald head or the fact that he avoids any real fight? I have seen him suggest that if women under the oppressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan want freedom, then feminists should go their to fight for that freedom. In his view, the oppression of women is only the responsibility of women. At any rate, don't see him willing to put his life on the line for any of his supposed beliefs. 

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To be fair, like Andrew Tate (and like Donald Trump too) I am losing my hair, I've never served in the military and I have never been in a fight. Who cares? I've always thought that only the most insecure men felt they needed to be seen as tough and strong. Truly tough and strong people, whatever their gender, never talk about it. They certainly feel no need to brag about it or show off constantly. 

As a former pastor in New England churches, I have come across many military veterans, and I don't remember any of them ever bragging about anything they did when they were fighting overseas. In fact, most preferred not to be recognized, although I tried to do that on the Sunday service leading into Veterans Day. I don't remember my grandfather, a World War II vet, ever discussing the war. He put his uniform away after he got home and it was never seen again. He went to work every day, took care of his family and never required anyone to see him as hard or tough. That's a man to me, a thousand times more than pretenders like Tate and Trump. Neither of them has any understanding of what a man is, and I find it deeply unfortunate that so many millions still listen to these phony, simple-minded idiots.  

My advice as a pastor, a man and a human being is simple: Stop trying so hard to be a man. Being a man is a lot like being a woman. Try to be honest, work hard, love your neighbor as yourself and have integrity. Stop worrying about how you are defined. Grow up; quit whining like a two-year-old or, more to the point, like Andrew Tate and Donald Trump. Whatever it means to be a real man, those guys do not represent it in any way, shape or form. 


By Nathaniel Manderson

Nathaniel Manderson was educated at a conservative seminary, trained as a minister, ordained through the American Baptist Churches USA and guided by liberal ideals. Throughout his career he has been a pastor, a career counselor, an academic adviser, a high school teacher and an advocate for first-generation and low-income students, along with a paper delivery man, a construction worker, a FedEx package handler and whatever else he could do to take care of his family. Contact him at

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Andrew Tate Commentary Donald Trump Masculinity Men Misogyny