Sean Plunket: Toxic masculinity isn't the problem - toxic feminism is

Opinion 25/02/2019

By Sean Plunket, host of Magic Afternoons.

Dr Jordan B Peterson has left the building which you will notice is still standing and might indeed be a little more solid than when he touched down a week ago.

Reaction to his curious mix of evangelical conservatism and psychological self help has been overwhelmingly positive.  Thousands gave him standing ovations at four sold out lectures where he extolled the virtues of, among other things, self-responsibility, respectful monogamy and active fathering.  In social media men and women from all walks of life and ethnicities reflected that mood, defending Peterson against criticism and sharing their stories of self-improvement and hope.

But he did expose a dark and disturbing aspect of New Zealand society that most of us have been aware of but too cowed by a prevailing climate of political correctness to openly discuss or address, toxic feminism.

You know what I’m talking about, those endless columns written by clearly biased journalists that use phrases like “mansplaining” and “stale pale male” to mock anyone who might challenge their misandry and moral superiority.  If a woman dares question the high priestesses of this hateful cabal, they are pitied for being subjugated by the utterly fictitious “tyrannical patriarchy”.

If you try engaging with the toxic feminists, they will inevitably retreat to their social media silos screaming “bully” or “misogynist” or launch an online petition and campaign to have you fired and ostracised.  Their latest wacky idea is to do away with jury trials in our criminal justice system.

The toxic feminists can’t tolerate any criticism because their particular brand of outrage and hatred simply doesn’t stand up to any rational scrutiny. That is why they see Peterson as such a threat. He arrived in New Zealand as a campaign to shame a young cricketer out of his career was waning and the ridiculous notion that a political ad with sausages and a young man talking to a young woman was sexist was being seriously debated.

Like the boy who cried “the emperor has no clothes” Peterson has given many New Zealanders the courage to speak out against the craziness that saw a leader of one of our main political parties claim he was “sorry for being a man”.

We, that’s men and woman, have some serious challenges to deal with in this country.  Domestic violence, primarily against woman and suicide, increasingly by men being just two of them.

I can’t for the life of me see how the continued hot takes of toxic feminists online and in the news media will lead to any improvement but I guess it’s not meant to.

What will help? Well why not look for a screening of Amanda Millar’s movie “Celia” about the late Celia Lashlie or check out the work of New Zealander of the year Mike King.

Men and women might also consider calling out instances of casual toxic feminism at work or school or university to reinforce the truth that the empress’s cloak of virtue is non-existent. We can also talk and listen to each other without throwing insults and epithets around like confetti or buying into the polarising hate speech that toxic feminism encourages.

Who knows one day Gillette might make an ad about it?

Sean Plunket is the host of Magic Afternoons on Magic Talk.