Dr. Jordan Peterson, bestselling author of 12 Rules for Life, University of Toronto psychology professor, and influential public speaker, has taken the media by storm. To the dismay of feminists and the radical left, the number of his supporters keeps skyrocketing. Both, men and women like Peterson, but you would never guess from reading most articles about him. Whether it’s The New York Times, The Chronicle, or The Guardian, they all make sure to highlight the maleness of Peterson’s followers.
It’s not just that an objective observation about the genitalia of his supporters is being made, however. The media just can’t stop rubbing, scratching, and clawing. It’s as if the aforementioned genitalia are infested with crabs. In the now infamous Channel 4 News interview, journalist Cathy Newman asked Peterson, “Does it bother you that your audience is predominately male?” While at first this question may not appear unusual or even critical, it certainly is. Has anyone ever asked Oprah a similar question about her female audience? Of course not.
So, what’s wrong with men supporting Jordan Peterson? Well, I believe it’s not just the male sex that bothers his opponents, but the message that men hear through Jordan Peterson. He appeals to their goodness, potential, and their manhood. He leaves his audience feeling empowered.
Empowerment is good, right? Not really. Unless it focuses on women, empowerment is presented as oppressive, patriarchal, sexist, or simply a joke. Consider New York Times’ description of Peterson’s followers: “Mr. Peterson is a celebrity in the men’s rights community, a loose collection of activists who feel [emphasis added] men have been subjugated or betrayed by social progress.”
What if, instead of empowering his male supporters, he would shame them about their supposedly toxic masculinity and privilege? What if, instead of telling them to grow up, he would urge them to accept their fate? And what if, instead of pointing out the dangers of political correctness, he would argue against offensive speech? Well, then no one would have a problem with an auditorium filled with mostly men.
But wait, there’s more. Feminists don’t really like female empowerment, either. They like female victimhood. While they claim that they fight for women’s empowerment, it is Jordan Peterson who actually empowers them. He doesn’t accept that women are mere victims of oppression or innocent bystanders of their fate. He treats them as accountable individuals who possess agency, aka adults. This is also the reason why the women at Jordan Peterson’s talks are presented as some kind of groupies with crushes on him. It’s as if his female followers couldn’t possibly be reasonable or intelligent. That would destroy the leftist and feminist narrative that Jordan Peterson’s message is oppressing women.
Well, I don’t have a crush on Jordan Peterson. I am a supporter of him because of his positive influence on men, and because of his influence on me, a reasonable and intelligent woman. Peterson has a far greater understanding of my struggles as a mother and wife than any feminist that marches against “mansplaining” or the cost of tampons. Yes, I understand that he doesn’t support the women’s movement, but neither do I. The “women’s” movement is not representative of the average woman, but representative of the average feminist. That’s quite a difference.
And here’s what his opponents don’t understand (or maybe just don’t want to admit): I’m not the only one. I’m just one of many women who identifies herself with Peterson’s message. We are women who are coming to understand our capacity for both good and evil, who are ready to take responsibility for our lives, and who don’t feel threatened by empowered men.
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