Jordan Peterson, one of the most prominent figureheads of the right-wing backlash against gender fluidity, is coming to Portland.
Peterson is a psychology professor turned YouTube phenomenon who has published two books, including this year's 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos, which has sold over 1 million copies.
At the basis of the philosophy is Peterson's belief is that gender is in fact binary, and that differences between men and women are due to biology, not social construction. He has often referred to "gender neutral" as a made-up and even harmful term. He was the first person to interview James Damore.
As part of his current book tour, he will give a talk at Keller Auditorium on June 25.
Peterson's visit is unlikely to occur without some rancor. In the past year, heated protests have erupted around similarly divisive figures: former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Damore, an engineer fired from Google for arguing the company's diversity efforts ignored biological differences.
His Portland talk has received little attention—perhaps because it was booked before a New York Times appeared last week highlighting his incendiary views on gender:
The left, he believes, refuses to admit that men might be in charge because they are better at it. “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,” he said.
The article later quotes Peterson's retort to the belief that hetero-normative marriage can be repressive:
“I read Betty Friedan’s book because I was very curious about it, and it’s so whiny, it’s just enough to drive a modern person mad to listen to these suburban housewives from the late ’50s ensconced in their comfortable secure lives complaining about the fact that they’re bored because they don’t have enough opportunity. It’s like, Jesus get a hobby. For Christ’s sake.”
The description for Peterson Portland appearance on the Keller's website, taken from Peterson's website bio, presents a much different picture, choosing words like "revolutionary" over "controversial" and omitting any mention of gender politics:
Dr. Peterson and his colleagues have also produced two online programs to help people understand their personalities and improve their lives. The newest, UnderstandMyself, provides its users with detailed information about their personalities, based on work he published with his students here. Tens of thousands have now used it to determine who they are, and to help others understand them, as well. His original self-analysis program, the Self Authoring Suite, (featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, CBC radio, and NPR’s national website), has helped over 200,000 people resolve the problems of their past, rectify their personality faults and enhance their virtues, and radically improve their future.