Peterson’s views on the gender binary outdated and unwelcome

By in Opinions

A University of Toronto psychology professor is facing pushback after challenging the concepts of gender fluidity and political correctness. Despite his confidence, Peterson’s views are nothing short of ignorant and sensational.

On Sept. 27, 2016 Jordan Peterson of the U of T released a YouTube video lecture expressing his denial of gender fluidity and the existence of non-binary genders.

“I don’t think that that’s a valid idea. I don’t think there’s any evidence for it,” Peterson said regarding non-binary identities, going as far as to add, “I don’t recognize another person’s right to determine what pronouns I used to address them. I won’t do it.”

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Petersons war on political correctness if off to a rough start.

It is clear that this man is acting out of fear — fear of change, of his view point being challenged, of being made uncomfortable and of the inconvenience of changing his teaching style.

 

In his first of three videos on political correctness, Peterson brings up a conversation he had with an American colleague in which they explained they’re forced to self-censor themselves due to the fear for persecution, which inevitably led to them feeling like they’re not able to teach to their full capacities.

Censorship by the state, institutions and the individual are common ways to argue against political correctness. These are extraordinarily weak arguments for three reasons.

First off, if there is a word that is deemed unacceptable there is probably a better word to use or a better context to use it in without jeopardizing the point you are making and still being politically correct.

Secondly, if you’re scared that what you’re teaching in your lectures may constitute hate speech, perhaps it’s a good thing that you are forced to mull over its validity before saying it.

Lastly, it comes down to privilege. The chances are that, as a man — especially one who will not even acknowledge the realness of gender fluidity — Peterson has never had the experience of being misgendered. As a seemingly cisgendered straight man, he has never had his identity denied, invalidated or challenged rather than merely accepted.

Peterson also seems to be acting out of ignorance with the way he talks about those who are most affected by “politically incorrect” people like him. He’s not very sophisticated in his rhetoric surrounding non-binary issues.

When reading policy and legislation from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Peterson is thrown off by the use of “their” in a singular context, expressing that the author either was either unintelligent or careless.

In reality, it’s Peterson who didn’t do his homework, or he would have recognized that the Oxford English Dictionary has added they/their onto their list for singular pronouns.

He also claims that he does not understand how someone can identify as neither gender and that he is confused on how you can be both as they are the antithesis of one another. Peterson even goes as far as to say that there are and have only ever been two biological sexes.

Peterson’s claim that the binary exists is factually wrong. According to the Intersex Society of North America, one out of every 1,666 people are neither XX nor XY and one in 1,000 people are XXY intersex.

When Peterson is confused about what a person that is neither genders could be, the word he was looking for is agendered. Conversely, bi-gendered is when someone’s gender identity contains both male and female.

It seems pretty blatant that ignorance and fear are what are driving Peterson’s perspective. Like most people who cry out about — as he puts it — the Marxist left’s political correctness and censorship, he avoids showing that he is actually just scared of change, leading him to scapegoat the blame for his concerns to the false erosion of free speech.

Just because Peterson doesn’t think he’s a bigoted person doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t either.

Logan Huard

Photo: Gratisography.com / Supplied

  • The Oatmeal Savage

    More politically correct bullying.
    If you don’t agree with his views rebut them instead of all the spewing all this bullying BS about ignorance and fear.

  • FleurDeLibre

    So what is Logan Huard’s solution? Would he like this professor to be fired from his teaching position? Would he like to ban all people from speaking out with their own opinions about topics of the day?

    Free speech is king, I’m fine with an article outlining arguments, because debate in the spirit of free speech is what western democracy is all about.

    But this article does nothing but whine, and makes only a few cliché points interspersed among frequent fallacious ad hominem attacks against Dr. Peterson himself.

    I would suggest next time that Mr. Huard attempt to take more of an objective, non-emotional stance when trying to put himself in the position of objective factholder.

  • yeahyeah

    “Peterson’s claim that the binary exists is factually wrong. According to the Intersex Society of North America, one out of every 1,666 people are neither XX nor XY and one in 1,000 people are XXY intersex.” Peterson acknowledges the exceptions at that scale. ‘Binary exists is factually wrong’ – because of exceptions of that magnitude? Are you kidding?

    • AreYouCrazy

      So you agree gender is determined by biology.
      Your argument would have some merit but it’s not genotype that defines gender, it’s phenotype.
      XXY phenotype is not intersex. XXY is expressed as biological males with a chromosomal abnormality. In mammals with more than one X chromosome, the genes on all but one X chromosome are barred from being expressed – a phenomenon known as X inactivation.
      This happens in XXY males as well as XX females. A few genes, however, have corresponding genes on the Y chromosome and are not barred.

    • yeahyeah

      Are you responding to me?

  • cockmuncher

    Logan, you open with, “Peterson’s views are nothing short of ignorant and sensational, ” why are they either of these things? For one, likely 90% or more Canadians agree with him with a far fewer proportion of the country’s citizens following a radical feminist idea of PCness, so his views are ordinary with articles like yours being sensational. Also, it is clear he is not speaking out of ignorance but a thought-out counter position. Your inability to intuit basic human motivation is the only ignorance here presently.

    Later in the article you remark, “Censorship by the state, institutions and the individual are common ways to argue against political correctness.These are extraordinarily weak arguments for three reasons.”
    First, your argument is a viciously circular by way of an obfuscate premise. You’re clearly and unconsciously starting from the position “arguments against my view based on censorship are wrong, Peterson’s argument is based on the former, therefore it is a weak argument.” rather than properly concluding with “arguments based on censorship are wrong.” You never showed anything, only assumed your conclusion as your first premise, then subversively inserted it into your conclusion as well. This is faulty argumentation and I disagree with pretty much all of your reasoning throughout the article because if its not explicitly wrong such as the above, its so similar to the above its not worth parsing out the valid parts as the rest is so hopelessly flawed anyway.

    There are already well defined and oft exercised limits on free speech in Canada (hate speech, slader/libel, assault [verbal], threats, as well as other things like yelling fire in a crowded place, and more) why not fault him on one of those if what he is doing is actually harmful, rather than working yourselves (you ultra PC feminist SJW types) into a frenzy over some perceived injustice which is really just someone refusing to tow your ideological line to its ridiculous logical conclusion. Go back to making collages in your gender studies class, you’ve got to be better at it because you cant be worse at argumentation or basic thinking skills.

  • Geoff

    I’m just here to pile on to the thus-far consensus that this article is more emotional than reasonable, and add that while intersex individuals do exist, they’re the exception rather than the rule. To call intersex people proof that there are more than two genders is tantamount to saying that babies born with their organs on the outside of their bodies are proof that our organs don’t “belong” beneath our skin.

    Also, don’t try to sound like you know better about this subject than a PhD psychologist and former Harvard professor. You’re only going to embarrass yourself.

  • It’s funny because when going through Dr. Peterson’s argument point by point to showcase the undercurrent of irrationality, as you have, there is such a strong backlash — not toward what you are actually saying, but toward your ideology. Dr. Peterson is a large supporter of civil discourse, but his supporters have very little regard for the importance of conversing about these issues. Instead, they simply call people names and write off everything you have to say because you come to the table with a viewpoint that is different from them.

    • yeahyeah

      How did this article go through Peterson’s points and showcase irrationality? Give one example. The only attempted (but feeble) rebuttal of an actual point I could find is ‘Peterson’s claim that the binary exists is factually wrong. According to the Intersex Society of North America, one out of every 1,666 people are neither XX nor XY and one in 1,000 people are XXY intersex.” This doesn’t disprove the binary. This argument is irrational, not his. Finding an exception to a rule prevalent to the level of 1665 out of 1666 does not disprove the rule, not in biological systems which have exceptions to every rule.