Have you ever wondered why you’re in your 20s and still don’t own a Lamborghini? Or why you haven’t made millions through passive income yet? I haven’t. But if you have, your YouTube recommendations are probably littered with videos from white, 20-something men who talk about why you aren’t making all the money you could be making.
Sebastian Ghiorghiu, for example, believes $200,000 is “chump change”. An alleged self-made millionaire at 24, he says there’s so much money out there that one can make – if only they followed his lifestyle. These influencers usually vouch for dropshipping, affiliate marketing and earning through YouTube ad revenue. They run crash courses to teach other young men how to do the same. A lot can be said for why these are great ways to make passive income and get rich, but there’s a sinister theme running through their content that has little to do with just making money.
At it’s core, such content is a ‘return’ to traditional masculinity. We don’t see gender roles and their representation the way we once did. Men aren’t the breadwinners anymore, women don’t stay at home with the kids and the harsh divide between what’s masculine and feminine has long eroded. Such influencers see this as a threat to society. They advocate for the traditional breadwinner and protector figure of the man. Andrew Tate was the most influential internet personality to talk about bringing back “manly men” in recent years. Now, these significantly younger men are following suit.
First and foremost comes the classic “if I can do it, what’s your excuse?” mindset. It fails to take into consideration most factors that affect a person’s ability to make money. They phrase their passive income techniques in ways that sound incredibly easy – as if you’ve been stupid not to do it this whole time. But in reality, it’s hardly that easy and requires way more research and investment than watching YouTube video.
“It’s certainly attractive and catchy when you first get into self-development,” Virat Bhaskar said. “But later you realise it’s just a loop and they are selling it with different titles and phrases to get your attention.” More importantly, though, influencers use it to perpetuate the belief that young men whose income is below a certain level are failing at fulfilling their role in society.
Second, the advice doesn’t limit itself to just career and money. After all, the ‘role’ of the man encompasses interactions with every facet of life. Entrepreneur Iman Gadzhi believes a woman with a high body count is like a person being fat. “I don’t judge it, but it’s not good. And I’m not going to pretend it’s good.” He justifies his beliefs by saying he was raised by a single Russian mother who would not be okay if his wife or girlfriend “disobeyed” him in a major life decision. These are views that dehumanise women, reducing them only to girlfriends or wives of these high-powered, eight-figure-earning men.
Such opinions seem to go hand-in-hand with the kind of hustle culture that they promote. Despite how influencers advertise their content, it’s not just about changing how you earn money, it’s an entire lifestyle shift.
“Knowing where your money goes and how to spend it wisely – that’s a valuable lesson,” Aadyan Sonawne admits. “But they can’t sell it without dangling the promise of wealth in front of impressionable young men who are told that they must have some sort of masculine currency, like cars, women and so on, to be real men.”
So, it’s a package deal. With great money comes great misogyny, apparently. It’s extremely concerning when you think about teenagers who watch such videos in hopes of becoming millionaires in their 20s.
Moreover, it also has implications for people associated with those who consume this content. An anonymous person told Springtide they had to eventually stop associating with a group of friends that followed Andrew Tate. “At a certain point, it starts to impact compatibility. I didn’t want to be around people who are misogynists. And yes, if you support a misogynist, that makes you a misogynist too. People forget that to try and excuse themselves.”
The rising popularity of the alpha male content creator will affect an entire generation of young men – and with it, all the other identities that bear the brunt of their beliefs. The extent to which their followers not just support, but worship them, only adds to that concern. It is a growing community with unbridled access to like-minded and impressionable people online that’s going to become difficult to tackle as it continues to gain a cult-like following.