Jordan Peterson is obsessed with witches. And dragons and lobsters.
In a recent New York Times interview, Peterson explained why witches and dragons aren’t real, per se, but aren’t not real. “Dragon” can simply mean “predator, he explains. Witches too, are real enough that we see movies about them. Witches are also a metaphor for feminist women, making them as real as feminism itself.
Peterson and his followers live in a fantasy world of their own choosing — full of anthropomorphized animals and magical beasts — because it’s easier than fighting for space as male supremacists in an increasingly egalitarian society. We’re not nearly far enough on that front but we’re closer to gender equality than any Men’s Right’s dude would like.
As for the lobster: They have social hierarchies, says Peterson, and serotonin in their ganglia (the invertebrate version of a brain). They are also a very old species. For these reasons, Peterson has utilized the lobster in his thesis that patriarchy is the natural and correct order; male violence is a result of women trying to disrupt that order. “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.”
Marine biologists have pointed out the scientific inaccuracy and general shadiness of Peterson’s choice for patriarchal mascot. Of course, to Peterson’s follows, such factual corrections are merely part of the feminist conspiracy.
Peterson’s acolytes have latched onto the lobster motif in the same way beta males have wielded Pepe the Frog as a mascot for their online “uprising.” Or how incels have argued for forced marriage and sexual redistribution to appease sexually starved men. It tells just how deeply misogyny runs in Beta male, incel and Men’s Rights circles. Rather than ground their visions for a new social order of humanity in actual humans, they idealize invertebrates and mythological creatures because those can’t argue back.
Peterson compares feminists to witches because there is no way to prove a feminist isn’t a witch. You could say, as the Times reporter did, that witches simply aren’t real, but Peterson’s response was essentially “well they’re real because we tell stories about them.” There’s nowhere for the conversation to go from there.
Or, if you’re like You Know Who, women may not be witches but they are “fat pigs.”
When asked about his dated fashion (a brown three-piece suit with wide lapels, seemingly from a century ago), Peterson said “That’s what happens when you rescue your father from the belly of the whale. You rediscover your tradition.” Presumably the whale is feminism, or what Peterson sees as a disturbingly feminized society.
What’s funny about this call to return to the “natural” world is that the natural world isn’t the patriarchal paradise they would like.
Richard O. Prum is a professor of ornithology (birds) at Yale University. He argues that sexual choice is an evolutionary reality, not merely a modern political construct. He uses two examples in the bird kingdom: ducks and bowerbirds. Female ducks have evolved defenses against male sexual attack (their infamous corkscrew penis) while male bowerbirds create elaborate nests Prum calls “seduction theaters” to find a female mate. If she is unimpressed, she can escape out the back unscathed.
To sum, Dr. Prum once told BTRtoday, “Sexual autonomy, freedom of sexual choice, is not an abstract idea invented by suffragettes nor feminists in the 19th century. It’s an evolved feature of social sexual species in the wild.”
Or, if you ask Jordan Peterson, sexual freedom is just a witch’s hex.