“Hate preachers” like Andrew Tate are promoting the wrong type of masculinity, Humza Yousaf has said.
The First Minister told STV News that social media has encouraged “more and more toxic behaviours” from boys and men that “must be rooted out of society”.
He spoke following a roundtable with groups promoting positive masculinity in Scotland.
“With the advent of social media we have seen more and more toxic behaviours from men and people who I call frankly hate preachers,” he said.
“People like Andrew Tate, that frankly will thrive off those toxic behaviours, and say that’s what masculinity is about when actually it’s quite the opposite, that we know when we root out these toxic behaviours everyone benefits.”
A major report commissioned by the Scottish Government last year found staff and pupils in Scottish schools are dealing with rising incidents of sexist, physical and verbal abuse.
Teachers told the Behaviour in Scottish Schools Research (BISSR) that influencers like Tate were having “an overt impact on how [pupils] display misogyny”.
One added: “It’s really frightening how much he has reached out and infiltrated their world and he’s all over social media and it’s like a radicalisation of a lot of the young men in the school.”
Tate is an online influencer and former kickboxer who has previously argued that women should be held accountable for sexual assault.
He has described himself as the “king of toxic masculinity” and said he is “absolutely a misogynist”.
The 37-year-old, who is a UK-US citizen, has been charged alongside his brother Tristan with rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang in Romania. He denies the charges.
He has more than eight million X, formerly Twitter, followers and was previously banned from TikTok, YouTube and Facebook for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
Yousaf said rooting out toxic masculinity in Scotland would help deal with some of the “deepest rooted issues we face”.
He said: “We know that men and boys in particular can be impacted by health inequalities, by being overrepresented in the justice system.
“We know when it comes to violence men are often the perpetrators and the victims of violence.”
Toxic masculinity is usually defined as behaviours stereotypically associated with men or manliness that can cause harm to men or wider society.
The First Minister said dealing with these behaviours would help tackle “endemic issues” including sexism and violence against women.
He said despite his 12 years in Scottish politics, the idea of positive masculinity hadn’t been properly discussed.
He called for a safe space for men and boys to talk about the issue without being judged.
He added: “We know if we can root out these toxic behaviours everyone benefits. Men and boys benefit, we as a society benefits and women and girls definitely benefit because they are the ones who are often at the receiving end of violence, and sexual violence in particular, from men.”
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