The Jennifer Lawrence nude pics highlight an ongoing struggle with chivalry

Chivalry was of course much more than about how men were to treat women. It was a rigorous code for knights that dealt with their relationships with all sorts of different people. We tend to have a negative view of chivalric codes as patriarchal and archaic, for good reason. (They’re patriarchal and archaic.) But the focus on behavior under these codes were how a certain class of men were to treat everyone who was weaker. And that’s a problem that’s not going away.

I know we’re all supposed to be yelling at each other all the time these days, but I wonder if there isn’t more opportunity for agreement on treatment of women than most of our rhetoric suggests. We all like to proclaim women as powerful and completely equivalent to men in every way. But reality keeps breaking in and forcing us to acknowledge that in many ways, men and women are different in deeply meaningful ways. Many of those ways are of course fantastic. But it’s also true that some men exploit women’s weaknesses and need to be held to better standards…

I think that many people who freak out over suggestions that women avoid putting nude pics on the cloud or wear rape-prevention polish or maybe not dress at junior high school like your older sis dresses to go to a cocktail party are actually people who are trying to say reasonable things. They’re acknowledging that male and female sexuality actually does need to be respected for its differences and that the average man is stronger than the average female, and as a result of all this, we need men to behave better for our civil society to keep functioning.

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