Jordan and the crazy harpies

Jordan Peterson has the solution to all this sexual harassment everywhere.

Ho yus, that will fix it. Women were never sexually harassed until…what year was it again? 1964? If only women could be permanently imprisoned by marriage, all would be well.

Rachel Giese is not quite convinced.

[C]onsider his recent conversation with fellow provocateur Camille Paglia. Expressing his frustrations with women who disagreed with him, Peterson said that men can’t control “crazy women” because men aren’t allowed to physically fight women. “I know how to stand up to a man who’s unfairly trespassed against me,” he said. “The parameters for my resistance are quite well-defined, which is: we talk, we argue, we push, and then it becomes physical. If we move beyond the boundaries of civil discourse, we know what the next step is.”

It’s like Peterson has been cribbing talking points from Fight Club’s Tyler Durden. He adds that men unwilling to throw a punch are contemptible. “If you’re talking to a man who wouldn’t fight with you under any circumstances whatsoever, then you’re talking to someone for whom you have absolutely no respect.”

So does that also mean if you [“you” are obviously a man here] are talking to a woman then you’re talking to someone for whom you have absolutely no respect? I think it can be safely assumed of most women that they won’t voluntarily “fight with” a man in the sense of throwing punches, so in Peterson’s world that must mean they’re contemptible, yes?

Peterson has said elsewhere that socialization has a role to play in addressing aggression among boys and men. But talking to [Camille] Paglia, he laments that his own socialization prevents him from taking a swing at a lady. Referring to a woman who accused him of being a Nazi, he said, “I’m defenceless against that kind of female insanity because the techniques that I would use against a man who was employing those tactics are forbidden to me.” It’s hard to decide which is creepier: Is it the suggestion, in Peterson’s rueful tone, that he’s kind of bummed out about the fact that he can’t hit women? Or is it the implication, if you were to follow his argument to its conclusion, that because women can’t be hit, they shouldn’t be allowed to participate in civil discourse with men at all?

But there’s also the creepiness of his casual assumption that it’s just normal to throw punches at men who accuse you of being a Nazi. People are supposed to grow out of that assumption in the course of childhood and adolescence. Peterson is an adult academic and he apparently clings to it.

But maybe it’s just something he says. Maybe he doesn’t mean it.

Just a few weeks after he posted his conversation with Paglia, however, there was a surprise retreat from his latest attention-grabbing escapade. Over the weekend, Peterson announced he was shelving his plans to create a website warning university students away from “corrupt” courses in programs like ethnic studies, sociology, anthropology, English literature and women’s studies. After a group of University of Toronto faculty released a statement saying that Peterson’s proposed site “created a climate of fear and intimidation,” he capitulated, tweeting the project was on hiatus: “I talked it over with others and decided it might add excessively to current polarization.”

Why didn’t he just punch them all instead?

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