Culture | Opinion

The Vulnerable Narcissism of Men’s Rights Activism

New research shows that narcissism is a common trait in anti-porn movements, and the “eye test” suggests it might drive men’s rights activism as well

Joe Duncan
10 min readMay 23


Joe Duncan | Source photo: Jordan Peterson by Gage Skidmore, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Of all the figures to arise from the chaotic muck of social media, Jordan Peterson seemed the least likely. The quirky, nasal-voiced former psychologist and psychology professor from Canada burst on the world scene seemingly out of nowhere.

He’s slightly arrogant, a bit too confident for his unimpressive and unassuming look. His style is modest, and his thin build borders on the impotent at best and the infirm at worst.

But, once he opens his mouth, listeners are immediately stricken by the mismatch between his appearance and his persona. Brooding maxims pour out of a tiny man with a tiny voice, and your mind can’t help but perk up and take notice.

There’s a living inferno inside of Peterson, a potent mixture of rage and sadness that he communicates with a ferocity few can match.

And it’s precisely this mixture that draws people to him. Peterson’s supporters praise his veracity. They revere the man for his willingness to speak uncomfortable truths.

At his best, Jordan Peterson is calm, collected, self-assured, and pointed. He was at his best during an interview with Britain’s Channel 4 News. He comes off as calm, respectful, sensible, and composed as host Cathy Newman continually tries to corner him and misinterprets what he’s saying in such a way that tries to make him look bad.

At his worst, he’s a flagrantly offensive bully who lies to his most devout supporters while seeking conflict for kicks, stirring up controversy to further his sociopolitical worldview.

In some ways, Peterson is like Canada’s answer to America’s Donald Trump — rude, unapologetic, and antagonistic toward liberals, feminists, and anyone else with a progressive social outlook; both men are weapons against perceived injustice.

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Joe Duncan

I’ve worked in politics for thirteen years and counting. Editor for Sexography: | The Science of Sex: