In the video below, Jordan Peterson is posed with the following question by a woman in the audience, ‘what is the antidote to toxic masculinity?’ To which he responds, ‘the antidote is responsible masculinity.’
He goes on to describe what it means to be responsible. In his own words, being responsible means firstly, being honest. Which translates to being ‘careful with your speech and your actions.’ Being careful with your speech means not saying things which you know to be untrue and being careful with your actions means behaving in such a way that you don’t have to lie about what you do.
He elaborates on the idea of responsibility by stating that you should be able to take responsibility for yourself. This translates to being able to take care of yourself so that no one has to ‘bend over backwards’ to ensure that you don’t have to unduly suffer. Once you have achieved this mode of being, you can voluntarily take on additional responsibility such as looking after your family and being a valued contributor in your community.
He states that ‘toxic masculinity’ is not a phrase that he would ordinarily use. He would rather term the idea of ‘toxic masculinity’ as sinful behavior. He speaks about Kant’s Categorical Imperative, ‘it is our duty to act in such a manner that we would want everyone else to act in a similar manner in similar circumstances towards all other people.’ Upon self-refection this means that if everyone acted in the way you currently are, would this be beneficial in the world.
His response did not satisfy the woman asking the question as she had a predetermined answer in her mind, and he did not give her the satisfaction of acknowledging the existence of ‘toxic masculinity.’ He then poses the question of what precisely is ‘toxic masculinity’ as opposed to say, ‘toxic femineity’ or ‘toxic humanity’? She becomes flustered and is unable to give a coherent definition as the idea is extremely difficult to define.
Jordan Peterson takes on a slightly hostile tone when describing his views as to why ‘toxic masculinity’ is not a meaningful phrase. When pushed, it is extremely arduous to define and ‘definitions actually matter.’ The people who push the idea that it is prevalent in society completely dismiss the idea that other forms toxicity can exist and if one exists and it is bad, then the other exist and they are equally bad. If this is in fact the case, then it cannot be described as ‘toxic masculinity.’
The last few minutes of the discussion cover the topic of political correctness. Where Jordan Peterson describes where the idea was derived and how it has manifested in the world.
The idea of regulating speech closes the video, where he gives his view that if speech were to be regulated, as big tech is trying to do, it would be the last people in the world that you would want to regulate it.