"Leave the boys in peace."
Prof. Jordan Peterson, the controversial Canadian public intellectual known for his self-help advice for young men, tweeted a wry reprimand on Thursday of a feminist author who misrepresented his views.
Jessica Valenti wrote a piece for The New York Times Wednesday titled 'What Feminists Can Do for Boys?"
In it, she argues that while Feminism as a movement has successfully empowered women in Western culture, it has developed a blindspot for the plight of young, white men.
Rather than making sure these men are on board, Feminism ignored their plight and allowed them to be "radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women’s progress."
The new enemy of Feminism, she says, should be the troglodytes who pull the forgotten young men into an abyss of toxic masculinity. "Misogynic Terrorism," Valenti calls is.
And who, according to Valenti, is the poster boy of this "misogynic Terrorism" if not Prof. Peterson.
How about you and your ilk (1) just leave the boys in peace (none of your damned "interventions" are necessary) and (2) stop distributing near-libellous lies, while you pat yourself on the back for your compassion? That would be a good start: https://t.co/XAAoWemD11— Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) July 26, 2018
"How about you and your ilk," he wrote, referencing the article's headline, "just leave the boys in peace?"
Peterson, according to Valenti, has "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."
Of course, time after time, Peterson has said that he has no problem with calling people by their preferred gendered pronoun. His pushback has always been against the attempt to criminalize the misuse of pronouns, as the Ontario government did.
And of course, his argument about leadership isn't that men are "better suited" for it because they're nobler creatures. His argument is that the males of many species -- including homo sapiens -- tend to exhibit an affinity to combativeness and ruthlessness, qualities that Peterson believes make for valuable traits in people at the top faced with difficult decisions.
Don't worry, the misrepresentation didn't end there.
Like many before her, she accused Peterson of saying that "'enforced monogamy' would stop young men from committing mass murder." Well, yes, one could say he did, in that he was parroting an old anthropological argument that societies have developed "enforced monogamy" as a means to "regulate socially" male aggression.
He was being descriptive, not proscriptive, as Valenti failed to note.
"No recommendation of police-state assignation of woman to man (or, for that matter, man to woman). No arbitrary dealing out of damsels to inches. Nothing scandalous," Peterson wrote months ago.
In his response tweet, Peterson, who has lambasted The Times on multiple occasions in the past, blamed Valenti for "distributing near-libelous lies, while you pat yourself on the back for your compassion."
But Valenti shot back, arguing that if Peterson -- a best-selling author who prides himself on his "precision of speech" -- feels he's consistently being misrepresented in public, maybe the fault is with him, after all.
Peterson grift is fascinating. Instead of defending his own words, he expects female writers EXPLAIN THEMSELVES for quoting him and linking to sources for context. pic.twitter.com/ZzrgCPAl35— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) July 26, 2018
And she concluded:
Here's the thing: If your ideas are not being accurately represented *by your own words*, you are not a very good writer or public thinker.— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) July 26, 2018
Conservative YouTube host Dave Rubin tried and failed to bring Peterson and Valenti together to debate each other. After Valenti refused the invitation, Peterson scoffed.
I expect writers, female or not, to be honest and brave. You already failed on the first count, and bt rejecting Dave's invitation, you are about to fail on the second. https://t.co/PL63C6uVt2— Jordan B Peterson (@jordanbpeterson) July 27, 2018
Adaam James is a senior editor at Pluralist.