Real Men Treat Women With Respect

I started my Act Like Men series a little over a month ago. You can read part one, “Act Like Men: What It Means to Fight Like a Man,” and part two, “Act Like Men: Serving in Singleness,” by clicking the links below. I also wrote a little response to critics here.

Part 1—Act Like Men: What It Means to Fight Like a Man

Part 2—Act Like Men: Serving in Singleness

Below is part three, which takes a look at some recent comments from a well-known actress, Jennifer Lawrence.

Since I’m a bit behind on other projects, I have planned to return to this “Act Like Men” series in December. However, a recent article in Vanity Fair caught my attention and brought me back to the series.

Earlier this week, Vanity Fair published the first public interview with actress Jennifer Lawrence since the leak and circulation of a number of nude photos of her and other celebrities.

Obviously, there are a number of disturbing parts to this ordeal—that hackers can get our pictures, that people violated Lawrence’s (and others’) privacy and that there is such an appetite for this sort of thing. And make no mistake, what happened to Jennifer Lawrence is wrong and evil. It is illegal, and we should be disturbed and angered that she or any other woman is ever violated and exploited.

Yet, in addition, one of the most deflating parts about Lawrence’s interview with Vanity Fair was her explanation about why she was taking and sending nude photos in the first place:

“Either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he is going to look at you.”

That sentence hit me like a boulder to the gut. It’s weighty. It hurts.

Jennifer Lawrence was exploited by hackers who stole, posted and distributed nude photos of her, but she, and so many other women, are exploited by a society that is convinced and comfortable that men should treat women as sexual commodities, online or in a relationship.

And that’s another reason that men need to act like men.

In this installment of our Act Like Men series, we’re going to take a look at how men—acting like men—relate to women. Simply put, men acting like men don’t fit Lawrence’s description.

Men—and from this point forward I refer to men as those acting like men, and the rest as childish boys—don’t resort to pornography when they are unsatisfied and don’t turn their girlfriends or wives into porn objects.

Childish boys do that.

Boys seek their own fulfillment, no matter the cost to the objectified woman. To a boy, a nude picture of his girlfriend is no different than the porn he regularly scans online. Boys see women’s bodies as currency to be acquired and traded. To a boy, a woman is no different than a baseball card that ends up in his wheel spokes, damaged and discarded.

And, the males searching and sharing such pictures are just boys.

Here are a few ways real men think about and treat women:

1. Men don’t buy into the notion that women are objects.

We live in a world in which women have been devalued to the point that they must wield their bodies as objects, making themselves vulnerable, for the sake of acquiring power or influence. Yes, it’s Jennifer Lawrence to her boyfriend. But it’s also Miley Cyrus to the whole world.

There is a market for this because too many boys think they are men. Too many boys treat women as if they are objects—which shows they are really just selfish boys.

Men don’t treat women like objects. A woman’s body does not define her worth. Men value women for far more than simply their bodies.

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Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books.