Jordan Peterson Critiques and Commentary – He’s the Secular Complementarian
When anyone disagrees with anything Jordan Peterson says or writes, his fan boys – his advocates, his supporters, whatever you wish to call them (some of them are touchy about this!) – tend to react in the same way that supporters of James Damore, of Google Memo infamy react.
The moment you say on Twitter or a blog post that you disagreed with Damore’s memo about women in tech fields, invariably, you get one of these reactions:
“I bet you didn’t read the memo!”
And you reply,
“Why, yes, actually, I did read the memo.”
Then you get the next comment:
“Well, you didn’t understand it! I understood it! Stop mischaracterizing Damore or his memo!”
And you say, why yes, you understood the memo just fine, and you’re not misrepresenting it, but you still disagree with Damore’s assumptions, his use of gender stereotypes, and his premises.
And so it is with disciples of Lobster-loving Peterson.
Jordan Peterson sycophants play at the same game.
First, they will ask if you have read EVERY book or article he’s ever written.
If you have not, some of them will dismiss you out of hand.
Some will start pasting in 456,334 links to very long articles (that would take days to read) explaining Peterson or his views and expect you to read all of them.
Even if you have read Peterson’s works, or have read some material he’s written, read interviews with him in magazines, watched interviews he’s given, and so forth, the Peterson acolyte will insist you do not understand Peterson, and so, you are misrepresenting Peterson or his views (even though you are not).
This comic sums up Jordan Peterson fan boys succinctly (and it’s accurate):
I am right wing, a moderate conservative. I am not a liberal.
I’ve seen Peterson in television interviews, I’ve read some of his interviews online, I watched a video or two of him on You Tube, and I’ve read articles about him and his views.
About one of the only areas of agreement I have with Peterson is that many staff, faculty, and student bodies of many university campuses are very liberal, and they try to silence the views of conservatives who dissent from whatever the liberal talking points are.
I agree with him that this problem or situation exists, and it’s not a good thing.
I’m familiar enough with Peterson’s work and his view points on some issues to say his views strike me as sexist (I can say the same thing about Damore, but as I’ve written about Damore in the past, I’ll try to stick more to discussing Peterson here).
Here is what I’ve concluded about Peterson after reading some of his articles, comments, or listening to him in video or televised interviews:
Peterson is the secular equivalent of Christian gender complementarians.
I am an ex-complementarian, and I have no intention of jumping back into that mindset or world of ideas.
Christian gender complementarianism is nothing but sexism with a religious or biblical-sounding veneer applied to it, to make it sound as though it is God-approved and that it’s not immoral or insulting.
Based upon what I’ve been exposed to so far, here’s my understanding of Peterson’s views in regards to the biological sexes and gender roles:
Peterson seems to think that men and women are biologically programmed, since the dawn of time or the start of civilization, to want to prefer and to live out traditional gender roles, and he feels this is a good thing, that it provides structure for a culture, and women would be at their happiest and most fulfilled if they would abide by traditional gender roles.
Peterson may point to archetypes in literature to “prove” these points.
In some ancient mythologies, women (or the feminine) are presented as wild, unruly, irrational, savage, emotional, and uncontrollable, while men (or the masculine) are portrayed as orderly, stoic, rational, noble, heroic, intelligent, and calm. (And does that not sound like contemporary sexist gender stereotypes of women and men? Why yes, it does.)
Referring to my list right above, Peterson thinks this is an absolutely accurate or wonderful way to view real-life women and men through history and today.
So, he may point to ancient literature, mythologies, or fairy tales – which often depict women as stay at home wives and mothers who look to a brave, strong man for protection – as proof that women are biologically “wired” to want to fulfill a traditional gender role, and that this sort of thing is best for any given society.
You see, he is arguing, life was like this for centuries (just look at all the stories from thousands of years ago that show many cultures were like this!), it’s only been in the last X number of years that those feisty feminists have thrown a wrench into things, because they try to convince women today they’d be happier if they remained childless and threw themselves into a career, and ditched all that traditional gender role malarky.
Peterson has yet to prove what he’s assuming.
Pointing to reams of ancient literature filled with stories of men being stoic and women being emotional doesn’t prove his assumptions that all men and women are built to want these things, to be this way, or to prefer them.
It only goes to show that patriarchal culture and assumptions have been the norm for centuries.
Did all women always enjoy living under such cultures, or having to abide by sexist stereotypes? No. (And hence, present day feminism. If most to all women were always truly more fulfilled and happy under traditional gender roles, they wouldn’t be rebelling against them, hello.)
My understanding of the book of Genesis in the Bible is that God said he created both man and woman to rule the earth together, and there was no hierarchy in their relationship.
Only after “the fall,” when the man and women disobeyed God and sin entered into the world and humanity, did God predict to Eve, the first woman, what one result would be: God told Eve that women would desire their husbands, and that the husbands would rule over women. (Remember, this was a result of sin, not God’s intent or design.)
And what happened? God’s prediction came true: instead of looking to God for protection, stability, a sense of identity, and security, many women have a fear of being alone, and they turn to a human man for those things.
And many man see this codependent tendency, vulnerability, or weakness in women, and they use it to their advantage and exploit women, to rule over them.
We see Christian men today perversely using the Bible to justify male hierarchy of women, by cherry-picking and misapplying a small number of verses, while ignoring the overall theme of the Bible, that God created the genders to be interdependent, male and female were to rule together (not male ruling over female).
Christian complementarians look at the sin of male hierarchy, and the male lust for power over women, and they deem this “good” – they deem a sin a virtue. It’s very twisted and demonic.
Appeal To Tradition: It’s Always Been This Way, So It Must Be Good or Right
The fact that many cultures from time immemorial have been patriarchal, or have produced literature about men acting like tough, stoic John Wayne characters, with men ruling women, and women seeking protection from a male partner, does not automatically mean any or all of this is a good thing, or that all women prefer this, or that all women seek it out or want it.
Many cultures for many centuries have practiced human slavery. The Bible mentions slavery. Most people today would regard slavery as immoral.
Just because something has been widely believed or practiced for centuries does not mean that it is a good thing that people should emulate, nor does it mean that humans were designed to desire or gravitate towards that practice or attitude.
It appears to me that much of Jordan Peterson’s views on gender roles comes from, and where he points to archtypes and mythology to bolster his position, and advocates that today’s society revert back to those gender roles, is nothing but a variety of a fallacious appeal to tradition.
Here’s how one site explains it (source):
Appeal to Tradition is a type of logical fallacy in which something is accepted as true or better because it’s the “way it’s always been done.” There is no evidence that a specific belief or course of action actually is better. It is just believed to be better because it is the traditional belief or course of action.
Examples of Appeal to Tradition:
1. Church should begin at 11am because that’s the time that we have always begun the church service.
4. Everyone in our family has gone to the University of Tennessee, so you need to apply to UT.
So, Peterson is suggesting, because many cultures in the past have been patriarchal, and the literature produced under such cultures obviously produced patriarchal situations, or endorsements of patriarchal values, such as having men leading and women being subservient to men, ergo, this must mean that this is how all men and women want life to be, we’re biologically programmed to prefer this way of life, it’s best to structure culture along these lines, and women today would be happier going back to those constructs.
And I do believe such a view point is making an awful lot of unfounded assumptions about men and women and what women want, or what would make women happy.
A feminist philosopher makes the case against Jordan Peterson– by Sean Illing, June 2018
Peterson has stirred up a ton of controversy, particularly on the left. But I find him oddly fascinating, even though I think he gets some important things terribly wrong.
For example, he seems to think that because social hierarchies are natural, they must therefore be desirable or just. That’s an old fallacy in the philosophical world, and Peterson appears to commit it regularly.
…So I reached out to Kate Manne, a professor of philosophy at Cornell University and the author of Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. Manne recently reviewed Peterson’s book, 12 Rules for Life, and, unlike many Peterson critics, actively engaged with his ideas.
Peterson has this recurring interest in identifying social hierarchies, which resonates with people who think they’re in danger of losing their privileged position or are resentful about having lost it. This is something you really home in on in your review of his book.
Yeah. I mean, it’s striking. There’s an interesting moment in the book where Peterson talks about resentment as a “revelatory” emotion that can mean one of two things.
One, you feel it because you’re immature, in which case you just need to buck up.
Two, you feel resentment because you really are being oppressed or taken advantage of somehow. Your resentment shows you that something needs to change or that you need to assert yourself in relation to other people.
But there is clearly a third possibility. People often feel resentful because they appear, based on historically entrenched social norms, to be getting a bad bargain, when what’s actually happening is that others are getting a somewhat fairer deal. When you’re accustomed to unjust privilege, equality feels like oppression, as the saying goes.
…I also think the way Peterson cherry-picked the few more dignified-sounding sentences from the diary of one of the Columbine killers, Eric Harris, was downright dishonest.
As I wrote in my review, he failed to mention the fact that the majority of Harris’s diary was a virulently racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and ableist screed.
Harris, like many other mass killers, was obsessed with the very hierarchies whose importance or validity Peterson never really challenges or offers an alternative to.
[Is Peterson sexist or misogynist?]
As we’ve chatted about before, I draw a theoretical distinction in my own work between sexism and misogyny (though they are often tangled up in practice). Peterson’s book has numerous sections which I would characterize as sexist because they naturalize and rationalize a patriarchal social order.
Can you cite specific passages as evidence of this?
Sure. Here’s a passage [from Peterson’s work] that conveys what I’m talking about:
Boys are suffering, in the modern world. They are more disobedient — negatively — or more independent — positively — than girls, and they suffer for this, throughout their pre-university educational career.
They are less agreeable (agreeableness being a personality trait associated with compassion, empathy and avoidance of conflict) and less susceptible to anxiety and depression, at least after both sexes hit puberty.
Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people.
Strikingly, these differences, strongly influenced by biological factors, are most pronounced in the Scandinavian societies where gender-equality has been pushed hardest: this is the opposite of what would be expected by those who insist, ever more loudly, that gender is a social construct.
It isn’t. This isn’t a debate. The data are in.
/// end Peterson excerpt ///
This is based more on sexist stereotypes than compelling scientific evidence.
And even in the gender progressive environment of Scandinavia that Peterson mentions, it’s not as if all sexism and misogyny has been eradicated overnight; many patriarchal norms linger and are sometimes enforced, or whose breakdown has led to backlash.
As a result, there is currently no control group of people raised in a truly non-patriarchal culture, which is what we’d need to investigate claims that men “naturally” prefer masculine-coded activities and women “naturally” prefer feminine-coded ones.
I also suspect that for many of Peterson’s readers, the sexism on display above is one tool among many to make forceful, domineering moves that are typical of misogyny. And I define misogyny as hostility certain women face because they are women in a man’s world, rather than the hatred men harbor in their hearts toward all or even most women.
Misogyny, to me, is more about policing and controlling women’s behavior. Belittling her intellect or acumen in competitive domains is certainly one way of doing that — especially when backed by the sense that it’s in her womanly nature to be oriented to people rather than abstractions. But that’s a false contrast: You can be both.
[Regarding Peterson’s comment that some “incel” men murder people and that the solution to this is what he refers to as “enforced monogamy”]
He said that subsequently, in a New York Times piece, I believe, in response to the point that school shooters are often sexually, romantically, and socially frustrated young men. This suggestion is classic, straight-up misogyny, according to my definition of it.
Peterson has since waffled about what he meant, but I’m mostly interested in how the proposal would naturally be understood by ordinary readers, which leaves little room for charitable interpretation or plausible deniability in this case.
Peterson is very close-mouthed about the prevalence of domestic violence, marital rape, and intimate partner homicide in the context of the idea of enforced monogamy.
So if you’re trying to prevent male violence, enforcing heterosexual monogamy seems a remarkably poor way to go about it — as well as obviously infringing on women’s entitlement to orient themselves toward whatever and whomever they wish (other women, multiple partners, and their own projects and ambitions).
Monogamous relationships are just one potentially valid option among many, all of which have risks and rewards, costs and benefits.
… Now, the charge of sexism: Peterson does not even place scare quotes around the academic fields and academics he despises: Marxism, postmodernists, doctrinaire radicals.
He does not place scare quotes around Sean Illing’s title above. He does not place scare quotes around titles and fields when referring to male academics or the fields they work in.
His special animus is reserved for a woman philosopher [Kate Manne], working in feminist philosophy (a field of study mostly by, about, and for, women.)
This is textbook sexism. Jordan Peterson is a sexist tool.
More Critiques (and some coverage) of Peterson By Others
Here are some links which either critique Peterson’s views or actions, or other works that show his views are really no different from the sexist views of Christian gender complementarians (please note that I am not necessarily in agreement with all views on these pages I am linking to here):
The Intellectual We Deserve – by Nathan J. Robinson
Jordan Peterson’s popularity is the sign of a deeply impoverished political and intellectual landscape…
..But, having examined Peterson’s work closely, I think the “misinterpretation” of Peterson is only partially a result of leftists reading him through an ideological prism.
A more important reason why Peterson is “misinterpreted” is that he is so consistently vague and vacillating that it’s impossible to tell what he is “actually saying.”
People can have such angry arguments about Peterson, seeing him as everything from a fascist apologist to an Enlightenment liberal, because his vacuous words are a kind of Rorschach test onto which countless interpretations can be projected.
…Obscurantism is more than a desperate attempt to feign novelty, though. It’s also a tactic for badgering readers into deference to the writer’s authority.
Nobody can be sure they are comprehending the author’s meaning, which has the effect of making the reader feel deeply inferior and in awe of the writer’s towering knowledge, knowledge that must exist on a level so much higher than that of ordinary mortals that we are incapable of even beginning to appreciate it.
In fact, Peterson is quite open in insisting that he has achieved revelations beyond the comprehension of ordinary persons.
The book’s epigraph is comically grandiose (“I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” — Matthew 13:35) and Peterson even includes in the book a letter to his father in which he tries to convey the gravity of his discovery:
I don’t know, Dad, but I think I have discovered something that no one else has any idea about, and I’m not sure I can do it justice. Its scope is so broad that I can see only parts of it clearly at one time, and it is exceedingly difficult to set down comprehensibly in writing…. Anyways, I’m glad you and Mom are doing well. Thank you for doing my income tax returns.
(end Peterson quotes)
(It’s fun to read the letter for yourself and imagine being Peterson’s dad trying to figure out what his son is doing with his life.)
….Peterson makes ominous-sounding (and seemingly false) generalizations and yet builds in caveats so that nobody can accuse him of endorsing the thing it sounds like he’s endorsing.
…Peterson is at his murkiest when he is talking about nature. Half the time he seems to be committing the naturalistic fallacy: he’ll describe tendencies that exist, and imply that these things are therefore good.
So he’ll talk about dominance hierarchies among lobsters, and exhort young men to “Look for your inspiration to the victorious lobster.”
Of course, the animal kingdom is also a place of mutual aid, and for a man to emulate a lobster is like a woman treating the existence of the praying mantis as a license to eat her husband.
But Peterson will vacillate between seeming to claim that nature implies a clear and virtuous hierarchical order of things and insisting that he is not precluding criticism of the existing order of things.
When he seems to be saying something fallacious (e.g. hierarchies are okay because natural) he will qualify it with a caveat that means he is saying nothing at all (e.g. natural things are sometimes okay but not always).
…There’s no good reason for turning to evolution and the animal kingdom for moral advice, yet this is what Peterson recommends. Or doesn’t. I am dreading the inevitable emails insisting that I just don’t understand Peterson, containing copious quotes in which he insists he is saying the opposite of things he seems to be saying elsewhere.
…I don’t mean to say that all of what Peterson says is in the category of the “not even wrong.” Some of it is actually just wrong.
He is an unreliable guide to the facts (e.g. “there are far more female physicians than there are male physicians,” which is false for the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., or his promotion of a bizarre conspiracy theory that Google is manipulating the search results for “bikini” to include plus-sized models for politically-correct reasons, which they aren’t.)
Peterson’s claims about morality, reality, and the meaning of life are dubious.
I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous by Bernard Schiff
Jordan found his pulpit on YouTube and his congregation on social media. His followers have a Bible — 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — which has sold more than one million copies around the world since it was published in January. He lectures to sold-out crowds, at home and abroad, more like a rock star than a middle-aged academic.
…Jordan’s first high-profile public battle, and for many people their introduction to the man, followed his declaration that he would not comply with Bill C-16, an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act extending its protections to include gender identity and expression.
He would refuse to refer to students using gender neutral pronouns.
He then upped the stakes by claiming that, for this transgression, he could be sent to jail.
I have a trans daughter, but that was hardly an issue compared to what I felt was a betrayal of my trust and confidence in him.
It was an abuse of the trust that comes with his professorial position, which I had fought for, to have misrepresented gender science by dismissing the evidence that the relationship of gender to biology is not absolute and to have made the claim that he could be jailed when, at worst, he could be fined.
In his defence, Jordan told me if he refused to pay the fine he could go to jail. That is not the same as being jailed for what you say, but it did ennoble him as a would-be martyr in the defence of free speech.
He was a true free speech “warrior” who was willing to sacrifice and run roughshod over his students to make a point. He could have spared his students and chosen to sidestep the issue and refer to them by their names.
And if this was truly a matter of free speech he could have challenged the Human Rights Act, off-campus and much earlier, by openly using language offensive to any of the already-protected groups on that list.
Perhaps this was not just about free speech.
Not long afterwards the following message was sent from his wife’s email address exhorting recipients to sign a petition opposing Ontario’s Bill 28.
That bill proposed changing the language in legislation about families from “mother” and “father” to the gender-neutral “parents.”
“A new bill, introduced in Ontario on September 29th, subjugates the natural family to the transgender agenda. The bill — misleadingly called the ‘All Families Are Equal Act’ — is moving extremely fast. We must ACT NOW to stop this bill from passing into law.”
This is not a free-speech issue so Jordan is wearing a different political hat. And what does a “transgender agenda” have to do with a bill protecting same-sex parents? What is this all about?
The crowd roared the first time Jordan opposed the so-called “transgender agenda.” Perhaps they would roar again, whether it made sense or not.
But why “transgender” in the first place? In that same interview, Jordan cites Carl Jung, who talked about the effectiveness of powerful emotional oratorical skills to tap into the collective unconscious of a people, and into their anger, resentment, fear of chaos and need for order. He talked about how those demagogic leaders led by acting out the dark desires of the mob.
If we have a “collective unconscious” there is a good chance that it would include our primitive assumptions about gender and biology. Transgender people violate those assumptions.
There is an historical example of how upset our species gets about gender ambiguity in other species. The female spotted hyena is larger than, and dominant over, the male and has a clitoris so enlarged as to have the external appearance of a penis.
In the bestiaries of the Middle Ages they were reviled, described as “neither faithful or pagan,” “brutal thugs,” “sexual deviants” and “not to be trusted.”
Sir Walter Raleigh excluded the hyena from Noah’s Ark in his History of the World (written in 1614) because he believed that God had saved only the purely bred. That historical lesson tells us how deeply disturbed many of us might be in response to gender ambiguity in human beings.
Transgender people appear early in human history but in these socially progressive times, which worry Jordan so much, they have become more visible.
Consciously or not, Jordan may have understood that transgender people tap into society’s “collective unconscious” and would become a lightning rod for attention loaded with anger and resentment. And it did.
…Following his opposition to Bill C-16, Jordan again sought to establish himself as a “warrior” and attacked identity politics and political correctness as threats to free speech.
He characterized them as left-wing conspiracies rooted in a “murderous” ideology — Marxism. Calling Marxism, a respectable political and philosophical tradition, “murderous” conflates it with the perversion of those ideas in Stalinist Russia and elsewhere where they were.
That is like calling Christianity a murderous ideology because of the blood that was shed in its name during the Inquisition, the Crusades and the great wars of Europe. That is ridiculous.
In Jordan’s hands, a claim which is merely ridiculous became dangerous.
Jordan, our “free speech warrior,” decided to launch a website that listed “postmodern neo-Marxist” professors and “corrupt” academic disciplines, warning students and their parents to avoid them.
Those disciplines, postmodern or not, included women’s, ethnic and racial studies. Those “left-wing” professors were trying to “indoctrinate their students into a cult” and, worse, create “anarchical social revolutionaries.”
I do think Jordan believes what he says, but it’s not clear from the language he uses whether he is being manipulative and trying to induce fear, or whether he is walking a fine line between concern and paranoia.
…Jordan has a complex relationship to freedom of speech. He wants to effectively silence those left-wing professors by keeping students away from their courses because the students may one day become “anarchical social revolutionaries” who may bring upon us disruption and violence.
At the same time he was advocating cutting funds to universities that did not protect free speech on their campuses.
He defended the rights of “alt right” voices to speak at universities even though their presence has given rise to disruption and violence. For Jordan, it appears, not all speech is equal, and not all disruption and violence are equal, either.
If Jordan is not a true free speech warrior, then what is he? The email sent through his wife’s account described Bill 28, the parenting bill, as part of the “transgender agenda” and claimed it was “misleadingly” called “All Families are Equal.”
Misleading? What same-sex families and transgender people have in common is their upset of the social order.
In Maps of Meaning, Jordan’s first book, he is exercised by the breakdown of the social order and the chaos that he believes would result. Jordan is fighting to maintain the status quo to keep chaos at bay, or so he believes.
He is not a free speech warrior. He is a social order warrior.
…I have been asked by some if I regret my role in bringing Jordan to the University of Toronto. I did not for many years, but I do now.
He has done disservice to the professoriate. He cheapens the intellectual life with self-serving misrepresentations of important ideas and scientific findings. He has also done disservice to the institutions which have supported him. He plays to “victimhood” but also plays the victim.
When he caused a stir objecting to gender neutral pronouns, he thanked his YouTube followers who had supported his work financially, claiming he might need that money because he could lose his job. That resulted in a significant increase in monthly donations. There was no reason to think he would lose his job. He was on a sabbatical, and had not even been in the classroom.
He says there’s a crisis in masculinity. Why won’t women — all these wives and witches — just behave?
TORONTO — Jordan Peterson fills huge lecture halls and tells his audiences there’s no shame in looking backward to a model of how the world should be arranged. Look back to the 1950s, he says — and back even further.
He tells his audiences that they are smart. He is bringing them knowledge, yes, but it is knowledge that they already know and feel in their bones.
He casts this as ancient wisdom, delivered through religious allegories and fairy tales which contain truth, he says, that modern society has forgotten.
Most of his ideas stem from a gnawing anxiety around gender. “The masculine spirit is under assault,” he told me. “It’s obvious.”
In Mr. Peterson’s world, order is masculine. Chaos is feminine. And if an overdose of femininity is our new poison, Mr. Peterson knows the cure. Hence his new book’s subtitle: “An Antidote to Chaos.”
“We have to rediscover the eternal values and then live them out,” he says.
..He is the stately looking, pedigreed voice for a group of culture warriors who are working diligently to undermine mainstream and liberal efforts to promote equality.
…He is also very successful. His book, “12 Rules for Life,” which was published in January, has sold more than 1.1 million copies. [He also has a You Tube channel]
…So he was radicalized, he says, because the “radical left” wants to eliminate hierarchies, which he says are the natural order of the world. In his book he illustrates this idea with the social behavior of lobsters. He chose lobsters because they have hierarchies and are a very ancient species, and are also invertebrates with serotonin. This lobster hierarchy has become a rallying cry for his fans; they put images of the crustacean on T-shirts and mugs.
The left, he believes, refuses to admit that men might be in charge because they are better at it. “The people who hold that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don’t want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence,” he said.
Mr. Peterson illustrates his arguments with copious references to ancient myths — bringing up stories of witches, biblical allegories and ancient traditions. I ask why these old stories should guide us today.
…Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr. Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married.
“He [the incel who murdered people] was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”
Mr. Peterson does not pause when he says this. Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.
“Half the men fail,” he says, meaning that they don’t procreate. “And no one cares about the men who fail.”
I laugh, because it is absurd.
“You’re laughing about them,” he says, giving me a disappointed look. “That’s because you’re female.”
But aside from interventions that would redistribute sex, Mr. Peterson is staunchly against what he calls “equality of outcomes,” or efforts to equalize society. He usually calls them pathological or evil.
He agrees that this is inconsistent. But preventing hordes of single men from violence, he believes, is necessary for the stability of society. Enforced monogamy helps neutralize that.
…Mr. Peterson is a celebrity in the men’s rights community, a loose collection of activists who feel men have been subjugated or betrayed by social progress. Some of these supporters pay $200 a month for a 45-minute Skype conversation with Mr. Peterson to discuss their problems. (Mr. Peterson says this service has since been discontinued.)
…When Mr. Peterson talks about good women — the sort a man would want to marry — he often uses these words: conscientious and agreeable.
…Andrew McVicar, 45, a waiter, says it was good to hear someone finally talk about how hierarchies were O.K. He says current politics are pushing for everyone to be the same, promoting women and minorities into unearned positions.
…To Naureen Shameem, who works at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, which is based in Canada, Mr. Peterson’s philosophies are part of a bigger global backlash to gender equality progress.
“It’s an old story, really,” she said. “In a lot of nationalistic projects, women’s bodies and sexualities become important sites of focus and control.”
Jordan Peterson may be a ‘public intellectual’, but his latest theory isn’t very clever – by Hadley Freeman, May 2018
The academic [Peterson] believes violent men can be cured by the love of a good woman through enforced monogamy. And he can’t understand why people are laughing at him?
…With such taste in art [in Peterson’s home hangs a hyper-realistic painting of two nude women with swords], it will perhaps not come as a surprise to learn that Peterson, who is married to a woman who is presumably very good at compartmentalising, has some sympathetic thoughts about men who blame their misogyny on women who don’t want to have sex with them.
“Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married. ‘The cure for that is monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges,’ [he says.] Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise, women will only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.
“‘Half the men fail,’ he says, meaning they don’t procreate. ‘And no one cares about the men who fail.’
“I laugh, because it is absurd.
“‘You’re laughing about them,’ he says, giving me a disappointed look. ‘That’s because you’re female.’”
Bowles was soon not the only person to be laughing at Peterson.
Such was the reaction to her interview that Peterson felt compelled to blog about it, explaining in his usual “Look, you may not like it, but I’m just stating the scientific truth, guys” tone, that he wasn’t advocating the “arbitrary dealing out of damsels to incels”, just that scientific facts show that “socially enforced monogamous conventions decrease male violence”.
How any of this explains his theory that feminine is chaos and masculine is order was left unexplored.
So too were certain other scientific facts, such as that up to 70% of women globally have been abused by their partner, and two women a week in England and Wales alone are killed by former partners. No, we’re just told we should cure violent men with our magical vaginas, and if we fail to do so, our vaginas were presumably insufficiently magical.
Since his confrontation with Cathy Newman, the Canadian academic’s book has become a bestseller. But his arguments are riddled with ‘pseudo-facts’ and conspiracy theories
A Peterson supporter (yes, I said a supporter, someone who agrees with Peterson), once directed me to this web page, in defense of Peterson:
Jordan Peterson & Fascist Mysticism by Pankaj Mishra
This Peterson fan kept linking me to pages like that, partly in defense of his idol, and because the fan was convinced I just did not understand Peterson, but if I did understand, I would fall in love with Peterson and agree with him.
The fan denied that Peterson was sexist.
The funny thing is, the material this fan kept linking me to actually served to make some of my very points I had been trying to get across to the fan – like the fact that Peterson is not a gender egalitarian and really favors traditional gender roles (which can be limiting for women in some contexts) and sexist stereotypes.
Here are some excerpts from the page by Mishra as examples – this is the page that the Peterson supporter linked me to in order to demonstrate that Peterson is not sexist, but it shows that Peterson is sexist:
“…[Jordan Peterson] insists that gender and class hierarchies are ordained by nature and validated by science”
“Culture,” one of his typical arguments goes, “is symbolically, archetypally, mythically male”—and this is why resistance to male dominance is unnatural.
“Men represent order, and “Chaos—the unknown—is symbolically associated with the feminine.”
In other words, men resisting the perennially fixed archetypes of male and female, and failing to toughen up, are pathetic losers.”
“…Such evidently eternal truths are not on offer anymore at a modern university; Jung’s speculations have been largely discredited.”
…Closer examination, however, reveals Peterson’s ageless insights as a typical, if not archetypal, product of our own times: right-wing pieties seductively mythologized for our current lost generations.
…This is a common intellectual trajectory among Western right-wingers who swear by Solzhenitsyn and tend to imply that belief in egalitarianism leads straight to the guillotine or the Gulag.
A recent example is the English polemicist Douglas Murray who deplores the attraction of the young to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and wishes that the idea of equality was “tainted by an ideological ordure equivalent to that heaped on the concept of borders.”
Peterson confirms his membership of this far-right sect by never identifying the evils caused by belief in profit, or Mammon: slavery, genocide, and imperialism.
… Reactionary white men will surely be thrilled by Peterson’s loathing for “social justice warriors” and his claim that divorce laws should not have been liberalized in the 1960s.
Those embattled against political correctness on university campuses will heartily endorse Peterson’s claim that “there are whole disciplines in universities forthrightly hostile towards men.
….”Islamophobes [Peterson claims] will take heart from his speculation that “feminists avoid criticizing Islam because they unconsciously long for masculine dominance.”
I see nothing in Peterson’s views, as stated there, that convinces me he supports the equality of women or that he is not sexist.
Christian gender complementarians also argue that there is, or should be, hierarchies in church, within marriages, and some promote that this belief should be applicable to the wider culture as well – specifically, they believe there should be a male hierarchy where men rule over women, and they believe that the Judeo-Christian God designed men and women to be this way.
The only difference is that Peterson largely points to any and all literature, or science, to try to defend this position, while complementarians point to the Bible alone – the same small number of Bible verses, taken out of their cultural context.
Complementarian pastor Mark Driscoll was known to yell and scream at his male congregants that by resisting the supposedly God-designed male hierarchy, that they were losers who were failing to live up to their potential and what God intended for them. Peterson sounds no different.
That most feminists do not criticize Islam for its sexism against women (and its other shortfalls) has nothing to do with them “secretly desiring to be dominated by males” and more to do with identity politics, political correctness, and wanting to defend anything and any group that is anti-Western.
Jordan Peterson’s Tired Old Myths by Jeet Herr
(emphasis added in bold face by blogger)
The Canadian psychologist [Peterson] is stuck in an outmoded intellectual tradition.
…He had abandoned the Christian faith of his mother while still a teen but found no adequate replacement to give meaning to life.
…Myths are not mere stories to Peterson; they’re formative archetypes that shape human perception, teaching us how to move from the chaos of raw existence to the order of productive individualism.
…As his obsession with myths suggests, Peterson has an old-fashioned worldview. He’s a forceful advocate of traditional gender norms, which he sees as rooted in both the objective world of nature and the cultural truths of mythology. For his followers, this makes him a heroic St. George fending off the dragons of Political Correctness and Social Justice
“The messages he delivers,” Bowles wrote, “range from hoary self-help empowerment talk (clean your room, stand up straight) to the more retrograde and political (a society run as a patriarchy makes sense and stems mostly from men’s competence; the notion of white privilege is a farce). He is the stately looking, pedigreed voice for a group of culture warriors who are working diligently to undermine mainstream and liberal efforts to promote equality.”
…But evaluating Peterson on his own terms, as a mythologist, helps explain why he’s so popular, why his political views so reactionary, and why, ultimately, his ideas are so outdated.
…It was no accident that these leading mythologists [Jung, Campbell, and Eliade – who Peterson admired] were men of the political right. They were trying to use comparative mythology to replace natural theology (which had been undermined by the rise of science).
Showing that there was a common set of myths underlying all human cultures was a way of shoring up the claims of tradition, which were under siege by political challenges from the left and by social changes fostered by modernity.
…Ellwood also notes that “the profoundest flaw of mythological thinking” was “a tendency to think in generic terms of peoples, races, religions, or parties.”
In Peterson, this tendency is manifest in his deeply polarized view of gender. He believes that the divide between men and women is absolute in the mythological realm (which, he believes, should guide all well functioning societies). “Order and chaos are the yang and yin of the famous Taoist symbol: two serpents head to tail,” Peterson argues in 12 Rules of Life. “Order is the white, masculine serpent; Chaos, its black, feminine counterpart.”
What makes Peterson a reactionary thinker is not just that he sees the world in such stark categories, but that he believes these categories are invariable.
Peterson extolls classic Disney movies like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as upholding primordial gender roles, but objects to Frozen for violating those norms. “It might be objected (as it was, with Disney’s more recent and deeply propagandistic Frozen) that a woman does not need a man to rescue her,” Peterson writes in 12 Rules of Life.
“That may be true, and it may not. It may be that only the woman who wants (or has) a child needs a man to rescue her—or at least to support and aid her. In any case, it is certain that a woman needs consciousness to be rescued, and, as noted above, consciousness is symbolically masculine and has been since the beginning of time (in the guise of both order and of the Logos, the mediating principle).”
The argument here is that Frozen is propaganda because it violates mythical tropes that have existed since “the beginning of time.” But are myths really so unwavering and static? [No, they are not, as the article goes on to demonstrate]
by Jared Yates Sexton
Canadian psychologist peddling pop-culture patriarchy is suddenly a superstar. But he’s no intellectual rebel
Nellie Bowles’ May 18 New York Times profile of academic-turned-patriarchal self-help guru Jordan Peterson has made waves in the past three days as readers have pondered Peterson’s answer to a question about the April 23 killings in Toronto, apparently perpetrated by a young man named Alek Minassian.
That attack, which killed 10 people and injured 16, may have stemmed from Minassian’s self-identified status as an “incel,” or an involuntarily celibate man. In the Times interview, Peterson described “the cure” that could prevent future incidents as “enforced monogamy,” a phrasing that has led many to paint him as a proponent of dystopian, fascistic methods that would infringe on the civil liberties of women everywhere.
Since the article’s publication, Peterson has fervently claimed he was misrepresented and that his answer referred more to the societal values that might promote monogamous behaviors, whether those be pressures or rewards. Others have cited the resulting controversy as further proof of “liberal hysteria.”
…Peterson is easily one of the most sought-after personalities in this sphere and has garnered considerable controversy for his frequent criticisms of liberal politics and his insistence that the patriarchy — the invisible construction of society by which men are granted privilege over women — is a hierarchy of competence, while referring to feminists as “crazy, harpy sisters” who are “undermining the masculine power of culture.”
…Now, in a time of unrest and anxiety, many are flocking to “thought leaders” to tell them what’s happening and give them direction. Insecure men log onto Reddit’s infamous “Red Pill” forum and read articles on how to pick up women and manipulate them.
…They buy Mike Cernovich’s book “Gorilla Mindset,” which mixes self-help idioms with tips on better posture and observations that “while American women suck in general, there are plenty of guys pulling hot ass.”
Rollo Tomassi, who gives lectures with charts and graphs of dubious construction and origin, advises men to beware the possibility that their female partners, when ovulating, will go out with their friends for drinks in order to find secret breeding opportunities with other men.
At least that’s what “studies” say.
Those who buy into these mindsets are overwhelmingly insecure white men who feel they are failing for some reason and are in desperate need of professional help in turning their lives around.
Instead of seeking out assistance, they spend their time and money on products designed to “scientifically” get them laid and change their lives.
This is where Jordan Peterson comes in.
When viewing one of his many videos online you might receive a pop-up ad from “pickup artists” who promise they can sell you the means to find a woman to have sex with, or gloat that they’ve discovered the secret to success, love and all the women you can handle.
…Peterson’s philosophies seem to fall within those boundaries. His view is a synthesis of Jungian psychology with traces of evolutionary biology, the two combining for new meaning in his lectures and rants at breakneck pace.
… But his attention, more often than not, focuses on the Bible, a book he imbues with great mythological power that can be used to shape the world and one’s life.
This perspective amounts to a new brand of secular Christianity that appeals to men who question literal interpretation but still thirst for the benefits of orthodoxy.
Peterson appeals to that thirst by parsing archetypes and suggesting that they hold knowledge of how the world should work, or that the world we know is in chaos because it has deviated from the world of ancient mythologies and, thus, its natural path.
In this philosophy, which Peterson likens to the symbol of the yin and yang, men represent the order of society and women the chaos of nature.
The “hero” archetype we’ve all come to know is decidedly masculine, and he brings knowledge by braving the feminine chaos and returning it to order. If that sounds misogynistic, that’s only because it is.
The traditions Peterson appeals to are decidedly patriarchal – it bears stating that women, in these texts, are often the downfall of men and are responsible for great falls of individuals and societies – a fact never addressed in his “studies.”
What he [Peterson] is doing, essentially, is examining the construction of the patriarchy and justifying its existence by pointing out that it was built in the first place.
Frustrated men are being assured, by a credentialed academic no less, that their failures are not their own faults.
It’s the chaos of a society unmoored from tradition or common sense. It’s “crazy, harpy sisters” and their “terrible femininity.” It’s Peterson lamenting that men can use violence to deal with men who don’t make sense, but, since we’re not allowed to hit women, it’s up to “non-crazy” women to deal with their sisters by stepping in and saying “enough with the man-hating.”
by Jonathan Foiles
Therapists are supposed to empower their clients, not use them to support their own worldview.
Jordan Peterson embodies this betrayal, for in his two books, Maps of Meaning (1999) and 12 Rules for Life, he seeks to undermine Christianity. In the popular mind, he may be a conservative, ready to slay the doctrines of social justice warriors. But his books show the typical liberal university professor.
…. He goes on to assert that the Bible is not Scripture, but a code-book of archetypes, where everything stands for something hidden, and its message boils down to his Rule 4: “Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.” Peterson’s chief guru is Carl Jung.
God is not real, either, but an archetype that comes in two versions – the angry tyrant of the Old Testament, who mellows into the nice guy (like Gepetto in the film, Pinocchio) of the New Testament.
…Jesus too is not real but an archetype, another dying-god (a fallacy long debunked), whose “archetypal story [is that] of the man who gives his all for the sake of the better.” And the banal life-lesson of the Jesus-archetype? If you give it your all, and try really hard, you too can be Jesus. That’s also the hidden meaning of the New Testament, for Peterson.
I disagree with one or two points in this page:
In this interview, Peterson admits he doesn’t believe in anything the Bible teaches in a literal sense, including the fall of man in the garden.
For him, it’s all just a symbolic or visual representation of man’s search for meaning.
He says Christianity is man’s attempt to depict ideas that we’re not yet smart enough to understand. But that’s the opposite of what it is. Christianity is based on God’s revelation of Himself in the form of the Eternal Word to man.
…At one point Peterson simply explains morality as a product of natural selection. But he doesn’t follow the logic of his own conclusion.
If that’s the case, why does morality matter? He’s making the same argument the atheists make about morality, only he’s saying the ideas that Christianity gave rise to are better for society than any others.
But if those ideas are still nothing more than the product of evolution, then who cares if they’re better for society? Why should we care what’s best for society if life has no meaning?
It seems, then, that Peterson uses “postmodern” as an intellectual fudge to simply call and subsequently disregard people for being “Marxists.”
His accusations of Marxism in universities are not restricted to postmodernists: he has gone after ethnic studies departments, English departments, women’s studies departments and more for being “culturally Marxist,” a dubious term that has been used by members of the alt-right as a more dressed-up, negatively charged word for “multicultural.”
It is no secret that Peterson is critical, if not hostile to, identity politics. But if he had bothered to truly engage with postmodernism, he might have found that most postmodernists are against identity politics, too.
After all, another founding principle of postmodernism is that identities are unstable, so to believe that one holds an undeniable, incontrovertible identity is laughable. Peterson, however, does not have an interest in parsing these fault lines. He is fiercely committed to his own slipshod vision of what postmodernists are like.
And this brings up a very crucial point: Jordan Peterson is not a philosopher. He is a psychologist who is marginally interested in philosophy, but passes himself off as a sort of intellectual Übermensch who has been sent down from above to introduce the world to the Enlightenment virtues Reason and Logic once more.
Unfortunately, Peterson has only a tenuous grasp on the values of the Enlightenment as well. What Peterson is interested in is reinstating a Judeo-Christian ethic in the world, in addition to a redoubled emphasis on masculinity.
Men, he argues, have become too “soft” and must learn to be men again; in doing so, he promulgates regressive gender stereotypes and even goes so far as to claim compassion is a vice. I think there is something to be said about turning to religion for guidance. There are lessons about becoming a better human being one can glean from all sorts of systems of belief.
Alt-right darling Jordan Peterson is a big fan of hierarchies, which he says are innate to the human condition, something he knows because lobsters have social hierarchies.
That caught Bailey Steinworth’s attention; she’s a PhD candidate in evolutionary development who studies jellyfish, and she noticed that Jordan Peterson was being pretty selective about which of humanity’s marine invertebrate cousins were the inevitable evolutionary role models for our behavior.
(This is par for the course with “evolutionary psychology,” a mix of evidence-free fairy tales about the social organization of early hominids and cherry-picked examples of animal behavior).
For the benefit of Peterson and his disciples (who like wearing lobster t-shirts and other tat to display their own loyalty to hierarchy), Steinworth has enumerated some of the socio-sexual strategies of other marine invertebrates we might be evolutionarily determined to follow. [click here to read the rest of that]
A controversial New York Times article describes several popular white intellectuals as marginalized “renegades.”
In a recent interview with Vice the ‘Stupid man’s smart person’ Jordan Peterson claimed that women were hypocrites to complain about sexual harassment when they wear make up and high heels. He claims no one understands the rules anymore.
Comment left under that video:
Big Jordan Peterson fan here, And I agree with Kavernacle 100%. As a woman who follows JP for his “classical liberal” beliefs, his perspective is a betrayal to women and a 180-degree departure from his former ideas of self-accountability.
He is in essence claiming men are triggered and don’t have full control of their actions.
He sounds like a radical leftist in suggesting that we consider making safe spaces for men where they don’t have to be exposed to make-up and high heels He sounds like he went off the rails.
Suggests we ought to discuss these things, but then he completely goes dark on the subject and does not appear open to follow up discussion.
Make-up is NOT a “sexual display”.
Blush and lipstick gives a healthy appearance indicating healthy circulation. A display of health is attractive for many, many reasons and same with added height of heels.
Studies indicate that taller people are paid more and command more authority. I have never ever worn flats to work, it looks frumpy and I prefer to look my male counterparts more directly in the eye when dealing in business.
He is also wrong about hip tilt caused by heels.
That is also categorically false. Stand in your toes, it doesn’t impact hip tilt in the least. He’s just plain foolish here.
Anyway, thanks for this video.
Jordan Peterson Revealed As A Men’s Rights Activist – by James Fell
Of course, the Peterson faithful will say he’s been quoted out of context and you need to watch 500 hours of YouTube videos in order to truly realize his genius.
…Of course, there are plenty in the media who laud the man. But as James Hamblin, a physician and senior editor for The Atlantic, recently tweeted, “The safest route to popularity in media is telling powerful people they’re oppressed.”
…In this video interview, Peterson provides additional insight into his archaic thoughts:
“Things are deteriorating very rapidly at the moment in terms of relationships between men and women. We don’t know if men and women can work together successfully.” (at 0:13).
// end Peterson quotes
Oh, for f_ck’s sake. Someone needs to watch the first couple of seasons of Mad Men if he thinks things are deteriorating.
My mother worked in a bank in the early 60s. I asked her if that show was how things were. She said that’s exactly how they were.
He just can’t handle that it’s becoming more difficult for men to act like total horndogs at work. To him, that’s “deteriorating.”
…At 9:30 the interviewer asked if a woman doesn’t want to be sexually harassed in the workplace, is she being a hypocrite if she wears makeup. Peterson replied with, “Yeah. I do think that.”
…Do you know how many women, including my wife, have told me how hot they think a man looks in a nice suit? Do we also ban men from wearing suits in the workplace because it’s a “sexual display”?
…For the group [white men] who has always been on top, movements towards equality can seem like oppression. Peterson has milked those feelings for a fortune in book sales, speaking engagements, and a high revenue stream via Patreon.
Not everyone who loves Peterson is a bigot, an idiot, or desperate. But there is no denying such people make up a considerable part of his fan base. As was pointed out in the Current Affairs piece, the commenters on Peterson’s videos often say horrible, violent things about women, and these get hundreds of upvotes.
If you are a fan of Jordan Peterson, and don’t hold bigoted or sexist beliefs, then does it not concern you that so many people who adore him have these beliefs?
…Did Peterson really help you, or did he implant or affirm some prejudices?
There is a reason why one reviewer of Peterson’s 12 Rules referred to it as “a self-help book for assholes.”
Don’t be an asshole.
You don’t need him. There are better people to seek life advice from.
This is interesting if accurate:
He constantly references literature that doesn’t even exist, and made a fake profile on ResearchGate, claiming to have published over 120 research papers and cited 6000 times. How can such a con artist keep gaining fame?
About this next link, a comment by me below it:
(Aw, don’t snark on “Flowers for Algernon” lady)
Snippets from that page:
There is no polite way to put this, but since Peterson claims that “If you worry about hurting people’s feelings and disturbing the social structure, you’re not going to put your ideas forward,” I’m just going to say it:
Spend half an hour on his website, sit through a few of his interminable videos, and you realize that what he has going for him, the niche he has found— he never seems to say “know” where he could instead say “cognizant of”— is that Jordan Peterson is the stupid man’s smart person.
A friend of mine, who is gay, just made an excellent point.
How would Jordan Peterson feel about the idea of “enforced monogamy” for gay men?
Should he be required to provide sex to gay men who have trouble finding sexual partners so they don’t feel bad and go kill people? Of course not.
Jordan Peterson Does Not Support ‘Equality of Opportunity’– by Eric Levitz
… The reason (most) progressives posit the gender-wage gap — or racial disparities in incarceration, or income inequality — as self-evident testaments to injustice is not that they are committed to “equality of outcomes.”
Rather, it is that they believe that in a society as racist, sexist, and economically stratified as our own, it is safe to assume that such inequalities are not solely rooted in meritocracy or social utility.
Jordan Peterson’s default assumption is that in “Western societies” such inequalities primarily reflect “hierarchies of competence” that redound to benefit of the public as a whole.
The left, by contrast, assumes that the gender-wage gap (at least partially) reflects the fact that women have been so thoroughly and durably subordinated in the United States, men in Oklahoma and North Carolina still had the legal right to rape their wives as recently as 1993.
Progressives also feel it safe to say that the economic chasm between black and white households might have something to do with the fact that, for most of American history, chattel slavery, Jim Crow laws, and discriminatory housing policies barred the vast majority of African-Americans from the opportunity to accrue wealth.
And liberals are also fairly confident that “hierarchies of competence” do not fully explain the disparate market incomes of the one percent and middle class, in a nation where beloved public school teachers live on the edge of poverty, and Donald Trump lives in the White House.
Is it plausible that, in conditions of total social equality, human beings with lower testosterone levels would be disproportionately interested in “care work” and child-rearing — while those with higher levels would be overrepresented among mechanical engineers? Sure.
But that hypothetical isn’t terribly relevant to questions of social policy in a nation where women are still routinely subjected to domestic violence in their homes, sexual harassment in their workplaces, and gender bias at their schools.
Nor would such disparate preferences necessarily justify pay disparities, even in the absence of such social disadvantages. There is nothing natural about the price that markets place on different kinds of labor.
Our entire economic system relies on women performing incalculable hours of reproductive work without receiving any formal compensation at all.
The fact that the market delivers enormous rewards to people who design collateralized debt obligations — and piddling ones to those who care for the elderly — is a reflection of government policy, not metaphysical truth.
…A single mother raising four children — whose labor will one day help subsidize Peterson’s Old Age Security pension — receives no compensation for her efforts, because policy makers have chosen not to make a similar “intervention” in the market on her behalf.
Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro would be well within their rights to contest these premises. But instead of engaging in an honest debate about whether equality of opportunity exists in the United States, they chose to misconstrue their point-of-contention with “SJWs” — and proceed to delegitimize concerns over structural inequality by equating them with a totalitarian ideology (i.e. “cultural Marxism”).
Jesus of Nazareth
So Peterson likes appealing to archetypes, ancient literature, and cultures long before our own to make some point about gender roles.
One of the things I like about Jesus of Nazareth – who walked this earth 2,000 years ago in Israel – is that He went against the patriarchal (sexist) culture of His day, the archetypes, and the accepted mythologies, to treat women with respect, and as equals – Jesus was not condescending to women nor did He compare them to being representatives of “chaos” (as if to suggest women are irrational and need to be ruled by men) nor did He depict women as being incompetent.
Jesus of Nazareth actually went against those long-standing, recorded- in- ancient- literature- and- passed- down- in- oral- mythology, gender stereotypes against women that described the patriarchal status quo.
The religious leaders of His day and his own followers, the twelve disciples, were constantly shocked at how Jesus did not follow the social and religious customs of his day and culture and He instead reached out to women, to teach them, to dialog with them.
In light of everything I’ve read and seen about Peterson, I do believe he’s a sexist, and he’s attempting to justify sexism in his books, tweets, videos, and television appearances.
Peterson seems identical to Christian gender complementarians, who are also sexist, only he makes appeals to extra-biblical sources to justify his sexism, where-as complementarians generally attempt to consulting the Bible only.
Though complementarians, too, at times, make appeals to what they perceive as the deterioration of the culture to make their case of supporting their view of gender roles, so maybe the two – complementarians and Peterson – are completely identical after all.
I wanted to edit this post to add a few more thoughts.
I’ve read that Peterson does not react well if he’s accused of being sexist. Some of his advocates dispute that he is sexist (a few have tried to convince me that Peterson supports women and that he’s some sort of gender egalitarian).
What I write next is also largely applicable to Peterson or his supporters, because I see similarities between them and complementarians.
Christian gender complementarians will also deny being sexist, and they attempt to get around this accusation by saying their support of male control of women, their support of male hierarchy, is not sexist, because they believe “women are equal in worth to men, just not equal in role.” Which is yes, still sexist.
Complementarians still insist on doing things like limiting women based on women’s biological sex alone, not due to women’s educational level, intelligence, or skill set.
Complementarians believe and teach that a husband in a marriage gets final say-so in a martial dispute, and that this should be based on his biological sex alone – even if the wife is more intelligent, experienced, or knowledgeable about whatever topic she and her husband may be in a dispute about.
No matter how gifted, skilled, talented and educated a woman is, complementarians will still not permit a woman to be a preacher, or work in other leadership capacities in a church, all due to her biological sex alone, not due to other factors.
Such practices are not indicative of treating another person as though they are “equal in worth” – quite the opposite. It comes across as favoritism, pettiness, and inequality.
Further, the complementarian analogies about generals and privates in the army do not work in rationalizing male hierarchies within churches and marriages, as I’ve written of here.
But that is another topic for another post, and a topic I’ve somewhat addressed in previous posts on this blog, and which others have addressed on other sites.
If it looks like a duck, sounds like duck, and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.
If it looks like sexism, sounds like sexism… it’s sexism, no matter how much one denies it or insists it’s not so.
If you’re arguing for a male hierarchy of women, and you attempt to justify it in part by saying men are “more competent” (at what, has Peterson even specified at how or what men are supposedly all more competent at?) than women (and no, not all men are more competent than all women, and not even more so than women generally speaking), you’re supporting sexism.
No amount of white-washing it or rationalization makes that view acceptable or changes the fact that it’s sexism.