This tweet came across my feed this morning, and after pondering how generous of a word “confused” was, I felt inspired to take some time to address some of the misinformation in detail.
The article in question, authored by Jessica Valenti, is entitled “What Feminists Can Do for Boys”, and can be found here (send clicks at your own discretion):….

This thread focuses on 4 claims that caught my attention in @RubinReport's initial screenshot:
Claim 1: “[Peterson] made his name refusing to call students by their preferred pronouns.”

With over 11M views, I’m surprised that anyone covering Jordan Peterson wouldn't have watched the Cathy Newman interview yet, but here’s the excerpt where this is addressed, nonetheless:
Claim 2: "[Peterson suggests] that men are in charge because they’re just better suited for it."

At best, this is a rather uncharitable reduction of what Peterson said. Let's compare Peterson's original quote, it's summary in the referenced NYT article, and finally this claim.
Here's Peterson’s original quote, provided without context, and plucked from a two-day tagalong session with the NYT author:

"The people who hold that our culture is an oppressive patriarchy, they don’t want to admit that the current hierarchy might be predicated on competence."
Now let's compare that with how Nellie Bowles introduces this quote in her NYT piece (…):

“The left, he believes, refuses to admit that men might be in charge because they are better at it.”
And now, we reach final form in Jessica Valenti's piece:

“[Men] are in charge because they’re just better suited for it.”

Even if this looks like a fair extrapolation to you (it's not - keep reading), at least note how it's been morphed into a new, absolutist statement.
So, if that isn't what Peterson is saying, that still leaves the question open regarding what Peterson IS saying.

And here I want to strike a balance between not glossing over a legitimate question, while also not writing a book. Let's begin with 2 foundational premises:
Premise 1: The existence of group-level norms (or “averages”) doesn’t preclude substantial deviation at the individual level.

Premise 2: Observing and describing these norms isn’t the same as the prescribing or safeguarding them.

Not to controversial yet, I hope.
Just to be explicit about this: these premises are far from outrageous givens to expect in a sociological (or any) discussion.

The first is an abstract truism for nearly any population, while the second is a basic differentiation between "is" and "ought".

On to an example, now:
Peterson has repeatedly drawn criticism for suggesting that the following has some explanatory power for the wage gap:

1. The psychological trait "agreeableness" is negatively correlated with success in competitive markets.

2. ON AVERAGE, women are more agreeable than men.
If you're following, it should be obvious that the previous points do NOT suggest that:

1. Women SHOULD be more agreeable than men.
2. Agreeableness SHOULD be negatively correlated with success.
3. Some women aren't LESS agreeable than some men.

They're only well-studied norms.
Lest this sound like fuzzy generalities for the sake of malleable argumentation, let's take note of the fact that agreeableness is one of the pillars of the "Big Five" personality traits, and as such is one of the most studied topics in all of psychology.…
So, not only is it unwarranted to treat these as adversarial observations, but it can be tangibly detrimental to do so.

If your aim is pay equality in the marketplace, shouldn't we endeavor to start with an honest assessment of how, in general, both it and we currently behave?
If you'd like to deepen your understanding of Peterson’s thinking here, the best option is clearly to just go straight to the source and listen to / read his long-form content.

At a minimum, however, don’t rely on 3rd-degree mutations of one-liners coming out of the NYT. Fair?
Claim 3: "[Peterson claims] that sexual harassment wouldn’t be such a problem if women didn’t wear makeup to work."

As we continue, let's inject a quick reminder: observing things about group behavior ISN'T defending or endorsing that behavior. It's just observing. Good? Good.
So let’s note a few things:

1. Some % of the population act like impulsive, highly evolved primates.
2. Some % of harassment stems from a failure to curb inappropriate sexual impulses.
3. Makeup generally increases attractiveness; it’s not called the Beauty Industry for nothing.
Let's also be explicit about what we're NOT saying:

1. Men are incapable of controlling their impulses.
2. Wearing makeup is "asking for it".
3. If women stop wearing makeup, harassment will stop.
4. This would actually be good office policy.
So, what's the point? Well, the workplace is home to people who

• are sexual
• variably engage their sexuality in that environment
• may (contextually) experience the same action as a welcome advance OR harassment

And within all that, some stuff is correlated to other stuff.
Now, you may be thinking "Woah, that’s a lot of generous reading between the lines! He didn't say half that stuff, why are you being such an apologizer?".

Yes. Guilty. And I honestly wish Peterson was more clear here. But please, keep reading. 🙏
I'll cop to taking some liberties here, but I'll still wager that my above handling is FAR more consistent with the millions of other readily available words he's thrown out into the ether than this least-charitable possible version that keeps getting peddled.

So, there's that.
Also (and last note on this one), Peterson is a CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, not the head of an HR department.

He routinely and publicly engages in thought experiments around human social behavior. He's not lobbying to expunge Urban Decay from the workplace. I mean, really?!
Claim 4: "[Peterson claims] that 'enforced monogamy' would stop young men from committing mass murder."

Of the four claims we've looked at, this is the one on which I have the hardest time imagining any possible sincerity. At best, this is a criminal lack of homework.
If you chained together all the words that have been written about "enforced monogamy" since Bowles' article in May, they would stretch to Alpha Centauri and back.

Conspicuously missing from Valenti's piece, however, are Peterson's OWN words describing what he actually meant.
To the initial misconstruations in the days following the "enforced monogamy" bomb, and before Peterson had provided his own clarification, perhaps we owe a measure of understanding.

But to write about it now, and completely fail to mention his clarifications, is irresponsible.
So let's just do that now.

You can read the whole thing here (…), but I've included his summary remarks below:
Seeing as Peterson has already addressed this claim on his own, I’m not going to belabor the point further. But suffice it to say, if you actually read the above and still think this is a proposal to forcibly assign women to male partners, then you’re lying about having read it.
So, this was long! Thanks for taking the time to read it. Let me close with a few points:

• It’s ok to disagree with Peterson on stuff.
• I personally disagree with Peterson on stuff.
• But where we are to disagree, let's aim to disagree with stuff he actually said.
There are a lot of great conversations going on if you know where to look, and you can be apart of those without agreeing with everything that’s being said.

In fact things tend to be notably better when multiple views are represented.
Maybe I’m wrong, but the piece I’m responding to doesn’t appear to be an honest attempt at participating in a real conversation.

I’m not here to bludgeon journalists into recanting their views, but I do hope this thread manages to act as a little counterbalance.

✌️ /thread
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