Male Influencers

Types of dreams

Types of Dreams Every dream is as unique as the dreamer, but there are specific types of dreamsthat most commonly find their way into my consulting room. These are daydreams, vivid dreams, recurring dreams, lucid dreams, nightmares and night terrors. This month, I...

Dream Journaling

How To Remember Your Dreams I often work with people who dream frequently and are interested in their dreams. Many suffer from nightmares and night terrors which they remember vividly.  I will be exploring these in a later post. But a lot of people don’t remember...

Dreaming

Photography by Gregory Pappas on UnsplashPsychotherapy and Dreams During an initial consultation with a potential client, I often ask about their dreams. Do they dream regularly? Do they have significant dreams from childhood? Do they have recurring dreams? This is...

Time for a Mindset Spring Clean

March is a hopeful month. Officially the first month of spring with emerging colour, bulbs bravely shooting through the ground and trees starting to sprout buds. A couple of years ago in the UK we had a mini heatwave in March. With the unpredictability of the climate,...

Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying When researching this subject, I was shocked to see the number of people who had taken their lives due to cyber bullying and sextortion. Between March 2019 and March 2020 19% or one in five children between the age of 10 and 15 in England and Wales...

What’s Your Online Persona?

Who Do You Think You Are? How Do You Want To Come Across Online? We all know someone who exaggerates their life online – we see the ‘official’ glitzy positive image they put on social media. For example, posts of holiday snaps look amazing but, when we meet to hear...

Striking the Balance – Parenting Children on Social Media

Children and social media: It can be a thorny issue for many parents. There is a common conflict. On the one hand, if you let your child engage in social media they can feel part of their friendship group and won’t feel left out or left behind, whilst on the other...

Social Media Anxiety and How To Manage It

Social media can be a fantastic way of keeping in touch with people and a source of inspiration, support, and connection to wider conversations online. It can also link us to people we would otherwise not have access to, for example, brides and grooms who’ve invited...

Social Media Anxiety

This is the first in a series I’m writing about social media. Over recent years, and especially since the pandemic social media has become more prevalent in our lives. Benefits of Social Media There are fantastic sides to social media like the ability to keep in touch...

The MeToo movement has been wonderful for women’s rights and furthering awareness of sexual harassment and abuse. I know very few women who haven’t experienced sexual harassment at some point in their life and there is now an ability for women to have a voice, be believed and taken seriously which of course is well overdue and right. 

Simultaneously, some young men seem increasingly confused about who they are and how to be these days. What’s ok and what’s not ok. Young men and boys head online and especially to social media for information and guidance and find many influences and influencers.

As we know, the internet is so vast that all places along the male spectrum have space, from Andrew Tate, Ultimate Alpha to Robert Crampton’s Beta Male column in the Times. There is room for all. Caitlin Moran feels so strongly about men’s issues that her latest book focuses solely on them.

Whilst attempting not to turn this into an historical study of masculinity, I will sum up by briefly saying that influencers today, it seems, have moved from alpha to metro to beta and back again to alpha. 

So, what can we make of it?

It’s confusing. Especially as an adolescent. The choice is overwhelming. It’s no wonder that someone offering guidance and a structured lifestyle becomes popular quickly. Tate and his manosphere offered clear lifestyle rules and financial benefits as well as misogyny and violence. In a cult like method his way became the only way for his tribe. The appeal of a charismatic male leader of men for men was understandably appealing – but at a cost.

As the story developed, the darker side of Tate’s movement became apparent. Accusations emerged of rape, human trafficking and organised crime. Threatening to sue his accusers for exponential amounts of money, Tate and his brother enlisted support from their followers. Time will tell if his contacts and wealth will clear his name.

Whatever the outcome, Tate’s ideology feeds into a void which many young men experience. Many of them feel lost and emasculated today. Someone who offers confidence, glamour and wealth alongside the violence and sexism can easily step into this empty space for them.

Unfortunately, like the news, happy role models don’t make the limelight often enough. What social media needs are more confident men to be positive role models, willing to confront the toxic ones and call them out on what they are doing. 

As we know, peers are vital in young people’s lives, and it’s helpful to know who they are spending time with, both on and offline. We need to be able to talk with our boys and young men about their social media activity and influencers and become well-adjusted role models for them ourselves.

So, what is a well-adjusted confident role model?

Someone who believes in themself. Someone who can tune into themselves to find out their own answers. Someone who can say no when something doesn’t feel right. Someone who can think of others as well as themselves, who isn’t afraid to be honest and vulnerable. Someone who can trust another.

Once we are more confident in our own ability and self-belief, we become more attractive and of value to others. The one overspills organically into the other. As the saying goes, we need to be able to love ourselves before we can love others.

So, if you find yourself or anyone you know giving inordinate time and attention to a questionable social media influencer, ask them if they can explain exactly what they gain from them. Then ask them how that need is fulfilled by the influencer. If they are still willing to listen to you (!) could you help them think about how they could fill that need in more healthier ways?

Failing that, maybe recommend they find a therapist who could explore it with them.