Jordan Peterson Is A Sexist Tool

Jordan Peterson gets quite upset when he is accused of being sexist and misogynist. Unfortunately, his latest response in the ongoing series of debates over whether he is the reincarnation of Nietzsche or merely the latest in a long line of privileged provocateurs claiming the mantle of ‘radical’ while committing themselves to defending conservative social orders suggests that he is definitely a sexist.¹

My evidence for this claim is exceedingly simple. Consider the following two brief excerpts, which bookend his response to Kate Manne‘s thoughtful critique of his work:

First,

On June 6, journalist Sean Illing…interviewed Assistant Professor of Philosophy (Cornell Philosophy Department) Dr. Kate Manne (the “feminist philosopher”) (Dr Kate Manne’s Website) about me and my work.

And then:

There is nothing the least bit controversial about any of this, unless you are a doctrinaire radical of the sort likely to characterize your ideological indoctrination and lack of familiarity with the relevant psychological and anthropological literature as “feminist philosophy.”

Here is a textbook definition of sexism in action, revealed quite simply, by the use of scare quotes above.

We use scare quotes around terms to indicate suspicion, skepticism, mockery, dismissal, and the like; to use a pair of these is to indicate that the term in question lacks validity or legitimacy of a certain kind–for instance, were I to want to puncture Peterson’s pretensions to be a serious thinker or an intellectual, I would write the following sentence: “The Canadian academic Jordan Peterson imagines he is a ‘serious thinker’; unfortunately, ‘intellectuals’ like him are frequently confused in such self-assessments.”

What has Peterson placed scare quotes around? Around a title that is quite clearly Manne’s to own: feminist philosopher, and around a field of study she has engaged with: feminist philosophy. Manne is a PhD from MIT, and is a tenured (or tenure-track) assistant professor of philosophy at a reputable institution; she has the professional qualifications in academia–of which Peterson is a member, and whose standards he is well aware of, and indeed acknowledges them above–to be called a philosopher. Moreover, she works in a well-established area of political and ethical philosophy; feminist philosophy is an academic field with practitioners, journals, conferences, and ongoing internal debates and external engagements. There is, in short, precisely no good reason to place scare quotes around either of the two terms above.

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, working in feminist philosophy (a field of study mostly by, about, and for, women.)

This is textbook sexism. Jordan Peterson is a sexist tool.

Note #1: The charge of misogyny will be far more ably laid by Kate Manne herself; but Peterson’s sneering mannerisms, his self-pity, his anger, all indicate to me this man is a misogynist, and a dangerous one at that.

7 comments on “Jordan Peterson Is A Sexist Tool

  1. It doesn’t follow that dissent of the ideology of feminism, as it usually manifests itself in eternal victimhood, mind-reading of some internalized nonsense, and false accusations for those who don’t conform (of which Dr. Manne’s article is a clear example of) to be an indication of contempt of all women, i.e. misogyny. No, anti-feminism is not anti-women’s rights or misogyny.

    And his use for scare quotes probably due to his public contempt of modern feminism and the fact that she, who is not a clinical psychologist, called his practice into question based on deliberate misrepresentation as he demonstrated. Maybe he was rude, fine. But anti-women? Come on!

    I’m sure you’re a feminist, good for you. But it is fallacious (and arrogant, if I may say) to assume that if someone doesn’t follow that particular ideology must be anti-women.

    • Taylor Carman says:

      Kate did not misrepresent Peterson, deliberately or otherwise. She very reasonably challenged his own flatly contradictory, implausible & grossly self-serving description of the way he treated his client. Read KM’s Twitter feed to get clear about this. Also, “contempt of all women” is not an tenable definition of misogyny, as Kate explains at great & convincing length in her book.

      • OK, I read Dr. Kate’s response. I now see where she’s coming from, so not deliberately, I take that back. (Unfortunately I can’t edit or delete my previous comment!).

        I’m sure “The logic of misogyny” is a convincing book, but I should have read it back to back first to understand how Dr. Kate redefines the word. Foolishly, I didn’t realize that the use of the word as it is communicated among English speakers before the book came to being is a naive conception that would be silencing for its victims and depriving them of ability to acquire justified beliefs for its manifestation.
        However, the hateful connotation for the one labelled is still communicated to those who haven’t read the book (for misos means hatred in Greek after all), but I presume he is guilty of a crime at least equivalent to misogyny in the English sense of the word deserving that shameful label.

        My apologies then. Thank you!

  2. landzek says:

    Peterson is a moron.
    I can’t believe someone is comparing him in a positive sense to Nietzsche.
    I have difficulty believing that Peterson even hold a degree, from what I’ve heard of him , beyond charlatanism.

    . It is plain to me and I even put a post about it a little while ago that he plane does not understand what he’s talking about and he’s promoting a sensibility of philosophy that is ultimately superficial but more just completely misunderstanding of the area.

    Damn. We got to stop giving this guy space free Publis city.

    • Samir Chopra says:

      I agree entirely. I’d ignored him for a very long time, and then this latest bout of exposure just seemed to demand some kind of response. I’ve a feeling he craves intellectual acceptance from the academy beyond his troll acolytes online, so I felt like administering a little cuffing about the ears. A well justified one, I may add.

  3. Jack says:

    Yes. it’s as clear as diamonds he is an misogynistic sexist and an extremely seethingly angry one. If you watch and compare his body language when men vs women challenge his statements it’s so blatantly visual. the anger is seething inside him.

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