OPINION: TikToker Lukas Pakter on newfound internet fame and what it means to ‘be a man’

*Editor’s Notice: This opinions piece was initially revealed Sept. 19, 2022, however after a miscorrection within the copy modifying course of, not due to any fault of reporter Olivia Krupp, the piece was despatched via a second spherical of copy modifying earlier than publishing once more.

Lukas Pakter, a College of Arizona senior, former Zeta Beta Tau fraternity president and mid-range TikTok star, at all times knew he’d have a platform sometime. Sitting down in Starbucks, he advised me every little thing there’s to learn about criticism and controversy. Basically, he advised me every little thing there’s to learn about him.

“One of my friends said, ‘This is embarrassing dude, what are you doing? This is dumb,’ and I said, ‘Watch, I’ll be at 80k by the time school starts,’” Pakter stated. “I hit 87k the day school started.”


Pakter has no problem with confidence. His content material, which he distributes every day to greater than 100,000 followers, runs the gamut from health to motivational talking. Sooner or later he’s dispersing bite-sized classes he’s discovered in school and one other day he’s flexing in entrance of a mirror, espousing the sins of being fats. 

“Some people get upset when I say that I don’t really have that much respect for people who are morbidly obese,” Pakter stated in a current video, “and I don’t.”

At first look, his platform is predictable and incorporates each stereotype you’ve ever heard about somebody like Pakter (or Chad, or Kyle). Nonetheless, Pakter described himself to me as each controversial and cocky, which begs the query, what might be so controversial and distinctive about a fraternity boy being cocky?

In some methods, that relies upon on who you ask. For one clarification, flip to the feedback part on his TikTok web page, which frequently feels extra like a shrine to his loyal followers. A lot of his remark sections are overflowing with reward that jogs my memory of giddy fangirls, however most of those feedback will not be from women — in reality, virtually none of them are.

His remark part is flooded predominantly with younger males displaying their timeless adoration and assist for Pakter within the type of feedback like, “Common Lukas W,” calling him a winner. Different frequent feedback embody, “This guy pulls hot chicks left and right,” “Bro I wanna be just like you” and “This kid is the man.”

Such a hero worship started when Pakter posted a viral video on how he spent half of his internet value on a fitness center membership as a broke school pupil. He described that because the video that acquired him began. 

“I thought maybe I should just post life advice. People really liked that,” Pakter advised me. 

There’s a related theme of adoration in Pakter’s Q&A movies, which encompass nameless direct messages he receives on the app asking for a myriad of recommendation, from questions on breakups, to how to take care of social nervousness and even what to do when you’ve substance abuse issues. 

These inquiries hardly lack depth or vulnerability. With the commenters’ identities stored nameless by Pakter, it appears that no topic is off the desk.

These messages and feedback are straightforward to dismiss as foolish — cringeworthy, even. It appears tough to perceive why these younger guys would search for to somebody they don’t even know for recommendation on topics so private. Why would not they only save these questions for his or her associates or higher but their therapists? Why do they see Pakter as this certified god of information who is aware of all?

“It’s very hard for a lot of guys to come out and ask for certain advice,” Pakter stated throughout his interview. “I think we’ve grown up in a time where there’s really not a lot of good role models for men.”

In some ways, Pakter’s proper. It’s onerous for guys to come out and ask for recommendation, and tougher nonetheless to discover constructive function fashions. Typically within the feedback of his movies, a few of Pakter’s followers have in contrast him to Andrew Tate, a well-known right-wing podcaster, who infamously stated that, “women are men’s property.” Related to Pakter scenario, lots of Tate’s feedback are stuffed with related devotion and fondness, lots of which come from males — younger males. They’re additionally those behind the massive like counts of TikToks Pakter has posted, describing ladies when it comes to “untouched,” “untapped” and “recent.” The great function fashions that Pakter mentions do appear few and far between. It’s unclear whether or not or not he believes he’s considered one of them.

Whereas Pakter doesn’t evaluate himself to Tate, in a few of his movies, he has addressed the comparisons that another individuals have made between him and Tate. He prefaces calmly that what he’s about to say goes to piss a lot of individuals off, however he doesn’t care — it’s his web page.

“[Tate] has made a lot of people a lot of Money. … Even if it is degrading to these women, he is making these girls hundreds of thousands of dollars off his OnlyFans Business,” Pakter stated in considered one of his TikToks from August. “But he does say a lot of stuff that motivates people. Go look at his comments and see what people think of him. It’s a lot of appreciation, and ‘thank you’ and ‘you’ve changed my perspective.’”

Tate does have an OnlyFans Business that he runs out of Romania. It might be value noting that Romanian police raided his house as a part of a human-trafficking investigation. It’s conceivable that one thing like that might be seen as degrading to ladies.

“I’ve got nothing against Tate. Yeah he’s a misogynist, and he’s sexist and stuff and that’s really unfortunate,” Pakter stated in one other considered one of his TikToks from July, “but I do respect that he’s really honest in what he says.”

Some feedback on the video of Pakter talking on Tate are in favor of each Pakter and Tate reminiscent of, “Andrew Tate is my role model,” “Tate is a win for society” or “Lukas is the blueprint.” It will be significant to perceive what it means for younger males to view a majority of these statements and figures as “the blueprint.” It’s also necessary to perceive why so many of those younger males are left confessing their issues to lower than splendid function fashions on the internet.

“A lot of guys won’t admit their problems because they don’t wanna come off as having a weakness and so I think by me doing that it shows that everybody is normal,” Pakter advised me. 

That is true. Whereas a lot of those messages appear cringeworthy or foolish, the implications behind them are extra unhappy than the rest. It’s plain that a lot of younger males have a tougher time talking about their issues or reaching out for recommendation. A survey commissioned by the Psychological Well being Basis discovered that males are statistically much less doubtless to search skilled assist or disclose a psychological well being drawback to associates and household. 

From this, it could be assumed that a lot of the discussions seen on Pakter’s platform aren’t being had inside male good friend teams or with a constructive mentor, therefore the idolization of individuals like Pakter. Whereas it is tough to disagree with giving an outlet to speak about varied points younger males face, like Pakter does, it is value noting that a few of his factors, and the assist that follows them, could be troublesome. 

“As a man, I think one of your primary roles is to be a protector. There’s a reason why, if the ship is sinking, the men are the last one to get off. I personally think it would be extremely unlike that of a man to say ‘let me get the lifeboat first.’ I think that’s something guys should be proud of,” Pakter stated.

Throughout his interview, Pakter described his youthful self as a loser and troubled. He stated he had no associates and despair and that nobody preferred him. One might solely assume what number of of his younger viewers share that very same actuality. Naturally, they don’t need to be a loser. They don’t need to get within the lifeboat first, they need to be “a man.” They see Pakter as not just a few man, however reasonably a picture of who they might be. The social implications behind this are limitless: What does it imply to be a man? What does it imply to be an alpha man? The underdog turns into the hero, and the loser turns into the person. 

It appears that evidently Pakter feels he has mastered this metamorphosis. 

“If you think about any animal kingdom, there are alpha males or alpha females in that group dynamic. If I met someone, I could probably tell within 90 seconds what their personality is. It doesn’t have to do with looks or how tall you are. It’s simply the energy you put out and how you hold yourself,” Pakter stated.

Anybody might admire Pakter for letting younger males know they need to take satisfaction of their masculinity, simply as they might admire him for his open vulnerability Online. Each are commendable and a platform like his could be progressive. Sadly, the concept of being “the man” or the “alpha” is usually not the grand finale within the transformation of a “loser.” The obsession with being the hyper-masculine fitness center bro, the man who “gets hot chicks left and right,” is nothing however a futile chase and an empty promise for a lot of those younger males. 

If solely their function fashions had been telling them that.

Observe Olivia Krupp on Twitter 

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Olivia Krupp

Olivia is a freshman who has but to declare her main. She enjoys studying, international movies and poetry in her free time. 

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