In her latest op-ed in the New York Times, before trashing Dr. Jordan Peterson, feminist author Jessica Valenti suggests the radical feminist movement should look for ways to ease the suffering of boys in America’s ‘patriarchal’ society. She opines:
Whether it’s misogynist terrorism, the rash of young men feeling sexually entitled to women or the persistent stereotype of “real men” as powerful and violent, it’s never been clearer that American boys are in desperate need of intervention.
She goes on to suggest that feminists need to create the same on-line and programatic opportunities for boys to escape our ‘sexist’ culture that they provided for girls. In her words:
Feminist ideas can help men — be it the rejection of expectations that men be strong and stoic or ending the silence around male victims of sexual violence. But boys also need the same kind of culture we created for girls.
I agree with recognizing the frequency and ending the taboo around male victims of sexual violence, a group radical feminists like Jessica rarely acknowledge. But the last thing we need is to replicate the p*ssy hat wearing, safe space, words are the equivalent of violence, show me my place in the victim hierarchy culture that has been adopted by many young women for boys. More importantly, we don’t need to be creating any more ‘male feminists’ like Harvey Weinstein or Joss Whedon.
Looking around my world, I see a bunch of men who are great fathers, loving husbands, good neighbors and successful in their careers. Every single one of them grew up when it was okay for ‘boys to be boys’ and play cops and robbers, learn to hunt, play rough and tumble games and even get into the occasional fisticuff. But I live in the real world, where I am not looking for ‘misogynist terrorism’ in every turn of phrase of behavior.
Where I am concerned is for the young men I know in their late teens and early twenties who seem to be more likely to be at loose ends. They have grown up in a time when their rambunctious, totally normal boy behavior was medicated as ADD or some other ‘disorder’ at unprecedented rates. Where they are shamed by the entertainment industry and other cultural outlets for their completely normal and largely benign male behavior when it is referred to as ‘toxic’.
This generation of boys are not as inclined to kill others as they are to kill themselves. Their high school and college graduation rates are declining. And if they go to college, their civil rights can be upended by a kangaroo court thanks to Title IX guidance radical feminists like Jessica fought for while pushing the debunked ‘1 in 4’ campus rape statistic. Someday I will write a book about what they face in professional careers after 15 in years in human resources with full knowledge of the preference given to women in hiring and promotion in every organization I ever worked for.
I think Valenti’s real point in writing this article was to smear Dr. Jordan Peterson as the ring leader of the shadowy ‘incel’ culture by using inflammatory terms and mischaracterizing his public statements, writing and lectures. According to Valenti:
This gap has made boys susceptible to misogynist hucksters peddling get-manly-quick platitudes and dangerous online extremist communities.
In the last year, for example, we’ve seen young Americans flock to the work of Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychology professor and YouTube philosopher who’s made his name refusing to call students by their preferred pronouns and suggesting that men are in charge because they’re just better suited for it.
Some of Mr. Peterson’s other claims include the idea that sexual harassment wouldn’t be such a problem if women didn’t wear makeup to work and that “enforced monogamy” would stop young men from committing mass murder.
In addition to these paragraphs being one of the most simplistic and disingenuous portrayals I have seen about Peterson’s work, she links to pieces that are similarly ridiculous and based on the most selective of quotes. Dr. Peterson is a college professor who is neither a huckster nor a speaker who offers ‘get manly quick’ platitudes. He speaks in depth and with a lot of scientific rigor, so I’ll try to dumb it down for Jessica and her ilk.
Dr. Peterson’s entire premise for the steps you need to take to live a full and productive life is predicated on the fact that life is extremely hard and full of suffering. He posits that the way to reduce suffering is to find purpose and meaning by assuming your specific place in the world and taking on responsibility to make the world a little better for yourself and those around you.
He makes no bones about how difficult and exhausting this can be. But also says you are remiss if you do not find the ‘you-shaped’ hole in society and do the absolute best job you can with it. Purpose, hard work and personal responsibility are not platitudes, nor are they quick fixes, nor does this advice just apply to men. As a 46 year old woman who had a life changing event in 2015, his perspective has been motivating to me and made me reconsider my path from the current situation.
The ‘preferred pronoun’ garbage is just that. Garbage. Dr. Peterson’s objection was that the provincial government was trying to compel speech under the guise of social justice. His contention was that this mandate is a very slippery slope and if you are a 1st Amendment champion he is not wrong. You can see his full commentary on the legislation and his position here.
Another theme Dr. Peterson talks about is hierarchies of competence. He explains how society is organized by hierarchies built on knowledge, skills and abilities. I have never heard him intimate women can not be on the top of these hierarchies.
Rather I have heard him speak extensively on the biological and preference differences between men and women giving robust scientific examples that prove his thesis statements. One of the most compelling is the evidence that shows these differences in preference are more apparent in the most egalitarian societies. He also is very clear that these concepts are vey complex and stresses the importance of the differences at the extremes of the bell curve while acknowledging the overlap. Traits and preferences exist on a distribution, like most things, and Dr. Peterson is explicit about that.
He is also clear that the objective of equality of outcomes is very destructive and dangerous. It destroys hierarchies built on competence and actually limits personal freedom and choice. He says equality of opportunity is a noble goal and that just hierarchies of competence should be the desired outcome. I think this fundamental position and the way that Dr. Peterson presents it is the most threatening to the radical Left, including radical feminists.
The most ridiculous simplifications of the lot of them are the ones about make-up and enforced monogamy. Dr. Peterson has said that the experiment of men and women in the workplace is relatively new in our culture and sharply increased in the 1970’s. He gave the example of women using make up and dressing attractively being naturally noticed by men. It’s biology. He asserts the impact of the biology of attraction on the workplace is only beginning to be understood and dealt with because in the grand scheme of humanity men and women have not been together in the workplace all that long.
Finally, “enforced monogamy” is an anthropological term. It refers to a society where monogamous relationships are the expectation and considered to be the ideal. Newsflash: If the United States did not still have some expectation of enforced monogamy, no one would be remotely disturbed by the President’s reported infidelities. Men would also not pay alimony in a divorce and likely not child support.
Having spent a significant amount of time viewing lectures and long form interviews around the “Intellectual Dark Web” and reading Dr. Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life, I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr. Peterson is a much more inspirational and scientifically grounded speaker for young men and just about anyone else than any radical feminist I have ever heard speak.
Purpose, meaning, hard work, rigorous science and responsibility in a world with equality of opportunity. I think Dr. Peterson has the prescription for what the world could use a little bit more of. Now go clean your room. *Wink*