Back in May, Sports Illustrated released one of their 2022 Swimsuit Edition covers, which featured plus size model Yumi Nu:
A New York Post tweet at the time described Nu’s reaction to seeing her photo, saying she was “shaking” from excitement.
Influential former professor and psychologist Jordan Peterson reacted negatively to the photo and tweet, saying “Sorry. Not beautiful. And no amount of authoritarian tolerance is going to change that:”
Peterson inevitably and immediately received a tremendous amount of criticism for his tweet and the sentiment behind it.
Soon afterward, Peterson announced he would be leaving Twitter, although he did return and has been fairly active on the site as of late.
Now, even after the criticism and controversy, according to the Post, Peterson remains unapologetic.
In an emailed statement to another news outlet, the Telegraph, he maintained that his tweet “was not a mistake, nor was it the reason I left Twitter.”
Peterson continued, further explaining the rationale behind his sentiments:
“The use of that model, who was not athletic (remember: SPORTS Illustrated) was manipulative economically and in relation to the model herself (although she participated in her own exploitation).”
“Beauty is an ideal. Almost all of us fall short of an ideal. I am not willing to sacrifice any ideal to faux compassion. Period. And certainly not the ideal of athletic beauty.”
You can agree or disagree with his assessment of Yumi Nu’s beauty, but he certainly has a point that “athletic beauty” is generally associated with a different bodily ideal. Although there are obviously many significant exceptions, and an argument to be made that Sports Illustrated has long since abandoned any pretense of the swimsuit edition being about conceptions of athletic beauty.
Peterson’s broader point that he is not “willing to sacrifice any ideal to faux compassion” is especially profound and important in the modern era of endless virtue signaling.
Corporations, which for years existed mostly to generate profits to shareholders, are now required to have “values” that result in policing their employee’s thoughts and words to ensure compliance.
Pandering to specific identity groups has become a near full time job for social media managers, and unnecessary apologizing is an incessant feature of puritan progressivism.
No matter what you think of Peterson’s sentiments towards Yumi Nu and society’s beauty ideals, it’s inarguably important that he remains free to share his own thoughts without being forced into what he describes as “faux compassion.”