Quote of the Day: Chivalry as “Art” Rather Than “Nature”

 

The medieval ideal brought together two things which have no natural tendency to gravitate towards one another.  It brought them together for that very reason.  It taught humility and forbearance to the great warrior because everyone knew by experience how much he usually needed that lesson.  It demanded valour of the urbane and modest man because everyone knew that he was as likely as not to be a milksop.

I can’t help thinking, when I read this passage from C.S. Lewis’s short essay, “The Necessity of Chivalry,” (now published as part of a collection titled Present Concerns), of a few of my favorite war movies, some of which feature heroes of extraordinary bravery and fortitude combined with a sense of “humility and forbearance,” and some of which feature everyday men and women engaging in, however small or local, acts of “valor.”  (The fact that these sorts of movies are my favorites probably explains why I’m not wild about movies that, start to finish, are nothing more than unremitting violent bloodbaths.)  As Lewis puts it:

If we cannot produce Launcelots, humanity falls into two sections–those who can deal in blood and iron but cannot be “meek in hall”, and those who are “meek in hall” but useless in battle–for the third class, who are both brutal in peace and cowardly in war, need not here be discussed. When this disassociation of the two halves of Launcelot occurs, history becomes a horribly simple affair. The ancient history of the Near East is like that. Hardy barbarians swarm down from their highlands and obliterate a civilization. Then they become civilized themselves and go soft. Then a new wave of barbarians comes down and obliterates them.  Then the cycle begins over again.  Modern machinery will not change this cycle; it will only enable the same thing to happen on a larger scale.  Indeed, nothing much else can ever happen if the ‘stern’ and the ‘meek’ fall into two mutually exclusive classes.  And never forget that this is their natural condition.  The man who combines both characters–the knight–is a work not of nature but of art; of that art which has human beings, instead of canvas or marble, for its medium.

Lewis’s essay hasn’t had an airing on Ricochet (at least according to our valiant search engine) for quite a while.  So perhaps it’s time for another look at the great man’s view of it which, in my estimation, is refreshing principally because it frames the matter, not in the narrow terms in which it’s often discussed, those of relations between the sexes and how men treat women–in which Launcelot may not be mentioned without Guinevere in the same breath, and we may not talk about the “knight” without his “lady.”  (I think Lewis is probably smart enough to spot both the snare for a twentieth-century Christian apologist there as well as what I’ll call “the feminist/patriarchy trap,” which is why he refers to it in the first sentence of his essay, apparently dismisses it, and never mentions it again):

The word chivalry has meant at different times a good many different things–from heavy cavalry to giving a woman a seat on a train.  But if we want to understand chivalry as an ideal distinct from other ideals–if we want to isolate that particular conception of the man comme if faut which was the special contribution of the Middle Ages to our culture…

Lewis’s concept of chivalry goes deeper, explores the dichotomy of human nature, and speaks of the complexities of reconciling them into an honorable and knightly whole.  He foreshadows the increasing difficulties of doing just that in the modern world.  And he gives us hope (I think), that if we can only continue/find our way back to doing so, we will not only find ourselves, but we will also treat each other more fairly, justly, and mercifully.  And perhaps we will find that there may be a little bit of chivalry in all of us.

I can’t find the entire essay in print anywhere on the web, but there’s a reading of it here.  It’s only about nine minutes:

What do you think?  Has Lewis hit the nail on the head?  Is he wandering off point?  Or have we, indeed, reached a place where we’ve reverted so far to the “natural” state that the “stern and the ‘meek’ fall into two mutually exclusive classes,” never to be reconciled in our psyches again? (If so, on that last point, I think Lewis thinks it’s the end.)

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  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Gee, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it much.

    • #1
  2. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gee, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it much.

    As if. 

    • #2
  3. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Must all get worse before it can get better or do we only dream of a state that will never come about in this earthly existence? I think Lewis does describe exactly the conditions upon which ultimately humanity’s survival or demise depends but the outcome is unclear. 

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    • #4
  5. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller
    • #5
  6. Raxxalan Member
    Raxxalan
    @Raxxalan

    She: who are both brutal in peace and cowardly in war

    Can’t help but thinking that we have an awful lot of this third class around right now.   At least I am fairly sure that is how I would classify the woke scolds who deal in microaggressions.  

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Gee, I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it much.

    […]

    By the way, Percy, the armourers’ called. They said they’ve managed to fix up the links in that mail shirt, but it’ll need a few more turns in the sand barrel to get the troll blood out.

    Soak it in vinegar, then twenty laps of the courtyard in the sand barrel. Then soak it in oil, and another twenty laps.

    (That is why Italian knights always smell like salad.)

    • #7
  8. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Behold the Man. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God, Son of David the sweet singer of Israel and a man of war who has shed blood. The medieval ideal points back to a much older concept.

    • #8
  9. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Well, Utred, from The Last Kingdom, was cruel in war but did not beat his women.

    • #9
  10. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well, Utred, from The Last Kingdom, was cruel in war but did not beat his women.

    That’s more important to this idea than perhaps it seems at first thought. Courage and meekness is one way to express this idea but the male/female wholeness is another.

    As an introvert myself, I think the family (my family) provides an opportunity to see individual variation in talent and inclination up close. Otherwise, I might never have the very personal experiences to understand what Lewis is saying.

    • #10
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    How refreshing to talk about chivalry! Whether we can hope for an emergence of those types in these times, I don’t know. But I can hope!

    • #11
  12. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    “I admit. . . that a desire to have all the fun is nine-tenths of the law of chivalry.”

    Dorothy L. Sayers. “Gaudy Night.” Apple Books.

    Lest you think I elided text significant to the meaning, here is more of the conversation between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. “Punting” has nothing to do with fourth down. In this context, a punt is a long narrow flat-bottomed boat with square ends. Usually propelled with a pole. This obviously demands some skill, and punting while wearing good clothes and keeping them looking good is showing off.

     

    P: “Is it your pleasure to go up or down?”
    H: “Well, going up there’s more riot but a better bottom; going down you’re all right as far as the fork, and then you choose between thick mud and the Corporation dump.”
    P: “It appears to be altogether a choice of evils. But you have only to command. My ear is open like a greedy shark to catch the tunings of a voice divine.”
    H: “Great heavens! Where did you find that?”
    P: “That, though you might not believe it, is the crashing conclusion of a sonnet by Keats. True, it is a youthful effort; but there are some things that even youth does not excuse.”
    H: “Let us go down-stream. I need solitude to recover from the shock.” He turned the punt out into the stream and shot the bridge accurately. Then:
    P: “Admirable woman! You have allowed me to spread the tail of vanity before that pair of deserted Ariadnes. Would you now prefer to be independent and take the pole? I admit it is better fun to punt than to be punted, and that a desire to have all the fun is nine-tenths of the law of chivalry.”
    H: “Is it possible that you have a just and generous mind? I will not be outdone in generosity. I will sit like a perfect lady and watch you do the work. It’s nice to see things well done.”

    P: “If you say that, I shall get conceited and do something silly.”

    Excerpt From: Dorothy L. Sayers. “Gaudy Night.” Apple Books.

     

     

    • #12
  13. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    The reason people talked about chivalry so much in our historical records is because the noble class was anything but chivalric.  They were brutal oppressors, for the most part, had contempt for the peasants, and in many places murdered and raped them without consequences.  I’m sure there were some nice nobles too.

    Why did southern states make laws keeping whites and blacks separate?  Because a lot of businesses had no problem mixing with blacks.  It took laws to keep them apart.

    Why did the medieval people talk about chivalry?  Because too many had no restraint and no consequences for those with no restraint.  

    My point is that anyone who thinks that chivalry was at all influential in any way except through sentiment among some people, is really misunderstanding reality.

    • #13
  14. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Behold the Man. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lamb of God, Son of David the sweet singer of Israel and a man of war who has shed blood. The medieval ideal points back to a much older concept.

    Yes, you’re right, of course.  And I think Lewis knew that as well.  What I think he’s observing here is that, as much as it ever did, the notion of chivalry as a noble goal and worthy cultural ideal, flourished among the elites during the Middle Ages and shortly thereafter to a greater extent than at any time before or since.

    • #14
  15. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Well, Utred, from The Last Kingdom, was cruel in war but did not beat his women.

    That’s more important to this idea than perhaps it seems at first thought. Courage and meekness is one way to express this idea but the male/female wholeness is another.

    Completely agree.  Civilized society, IMHO, isn’t about “survival of the fittest.” (I’m not talking about going to war, and winners and losers:  In that case, I always hope to be on the fitter, surviving side.  I’m talking about A. Civilized. Society.)  “Nature, red in tooth and claw” is about survival of the fittest.  Civilized society is about survival of the weakest.  About considering the fall of sparrows.  About “We [that] are strong bearing the infirmities of the weak and not just pleas[ing] ourselves.”

    Historically, I think that’s been boiled down, in the chivalric tradition, to stories of knights and ladies, and the unexceptional and unobjectionable view–for a very long time–that women are in need of the protection of a man in order to survive and overcome many of life’s basic challenges.  For many reasons, not all of them having to do with virulent feminism, that argument is problematic these days.  (I even have a tool to get the lids off the pickle jars all by myself!)  So I think it’s refreshing to see it Lewis frame it outside that particular context.

    • #15
  16. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    “I admit. . . that a desire to have all the fun is nine-tenths of the law of chivalry.”

    Dorothy L. Sayers. “Gaudy Night.” Apple Books.

    Lest you think I elided text significant to the meaning, here is more of the conversation between Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. “Punting” has nothing to do with fourth down. In this context, a punt is a long narrow flat-bottomed boat with square ends. Usually propelled with a pole. This obviously demands some skill, and punting while wearing good clothes and keeping them looking good is showing off.

     

    P: “Is it your pleasure to go up or down?”
    H: “Well, going up there’s more riot but a better bottom; going down you’re all right as far as the fork, and then you choose between thick mud and the Corporation dump.”
    P: “It appears to be altogether a choice of evils. But you have only to command. My ear is open like a greedy shark to catch the tunings of a voice divine.”
    H: “Great heavens! Where did you find that?”
    P: “That, though you might not believe it, is the crashing conclusion of a sonnet by Keats. True, it is a youthful effort; but there are some things that even youth does not excuse.”
    H: “Let us go down-stream. I need solitude to recover from the shock.” He turned the punt out into the stream and shot the bridge accurately. Then:
    P: “Admirable woman! You have allowed me to spread the tail of vanity before that pair of deserted Ariadnes. Would you now prefer to be independent and take the pole? I admit it is better fun to punt than to be punted, and that a desire to have all the fun is nine-tenths of the law of chivalry.”
    H: “Is it possible that you have a just and generous mind? I will not be outdone in generosity. I will sit like a perfect lady and watch you do the work. It’s nice to see things well done.”

    P: “If you say that, I shall get conceited and do something silly.”

    Excerpt From: Dorothy L. Sayers. “Gaudy Night.” Apple Books.

    Oh, marvelous.  Don’t forget that “punter” has other connotations in British English.

    P: “That, though you might not believe it, is the crashing conclusion of a sonnet by Keats. True, it is a youthful effort; but there are some things that even youth does not excuse.”

    Ah, Keats.  Perhaps my favorite among English poets.  I’ll excuse him anything, especially the excesses of youth, considering he died at the age of 25, having penned some of the most exquisite poetry on record, ever. 

    • #16
  17. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The reason people talked about chivalry so much in our historical records is because the noble class was anything but chivalric. They were brutal oppressors, for the most part, had contempt for the peasants, and in many places murdered and raped them without consequences. I’m sure there were some nice nobles too.

    Why did southern states make laws keeping whites and blacks separate? Because a lot of businesses had no problem mixing with blacks. It took laws to keep them apart.

    Why did the medieval people talk about chivalry? Because too many had no restraint and no consequences for those with no restraint.

    My point is that anyone who thinks that chivalry was at all influential in any way except through sentiment among some people, is really misunderstanding reality.

    It’s more of a guideline.

    • #17
  18. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The reason people talked about chivalry so much in our historical records is because the noble class was anything but chivalric. They were brutal oppressors, for the most part, had contempt for the peasants, and in many places murdered and raped them without consequences. I’m sure there were some nice nobles too.

    Agree on all counts. Can’t help thinking that that’s why it’s important to have visions, goals, and ideals.  (Also, I think, for better or for worse, that “chivalry” was mostly a concept for the elites, rather than inter-class. We may find that a repugnant idea, but I’m not willing to go full BLM and deplore it because it doesn’t fit our current stereotype of what societal relations should look like.)

    Why did southern states make laws keeping whites and blacks separate? Because a lot of businesses had no problem mixing with blacks. It took laws to keep them apart.

    I defer.

    Why did the medieval people talk about chivalry? Because too many had no restraint and no consequences for those with no restraint.

    Exactly.  Just as sinners talk about redemption, and as those who’ve done wrong hope for absolution.  I don’t think anything has changed in the last 1000 years.

    My point is that anyone who thinks that chivalry was at all influential in any way except through sentiment among some people, is really misunderstanding reality.

    Sorry, this is where we part company.  Because it doesn’t seem as if you want to chat about Lewis’s notion about chivalry, and whether or not his notion of it might be beneficial in civilized society.  As an aside, I’m pretty sure that Lewis who fought in the trenches and was wounded at the Somme at the age of 19, didn’t “misunderstand reality” all that much, and that his opinion in this regard, as in most others, is informed, rational, and worth considering.

     

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The reason people talked about chivalry so much in our historical records is because the noble class was anything but chivalric. They were brutal oppressors, for the most part, had contempt for the peasants, and in many places murdered and raped them without consequences. I’m sure there were some nice nobles too.

    Why did southern states make laws keeping whites and blacks separate? Because a lot of businesses had no problem mixing with blacks. It took laws to keep them apart.

    Why did the medieval people talk about chivalry? Because too many had no restraint and no consequences for those with no restraint.

    My point is that anyone who thinks that chivalry was at all influential in any way except through sentiment among some people, is really misunderstanding reality.

    • #19
  20. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    The blogger Grim, who has thought a great deal about these matters, has two relevant post:

    What Chivalry Is

    What Chivalry Is Not

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The reason people talked about chivalry so much in our historical records is because the noble class was anything but chivalric.  They were brutal oppressors, for the most part, had contempt for the peasants, and in many places murdered and raped them without consequences.  I’m sure there were some nice nobles too.

    Depends a lot on the neighborhood.

    Let’s deconstruct the bilge the 19th century versions of Howard Zinn so loved to spout.

    First of all, droit du seigneur was never a thing. Somebody is going to tell the deacon. The deacon will tell the priest. The priest will tell the bishop, and before you know it, the local lord is adjudged to be a knucklehead. This is not a judgement without consequences. Toss in a case or two of murder, and he might be excommunicated. To the lord they may be peasants, but to the Lords Spiritual, they are parishioners . He gets a stern talking-to from people he can’t bully. The reason he can’t bully them is because they have more friends than he does. He can’t treat his peasants any way he feels like. They’ll leave. Yeah, they’re not supposed to be able to, but if his reputation is bad enough, a lot of blind eyes will be turned. Trade will fall off. If his honor is besmirched, what is his word of honor worth? His neighbors start calculating. Maybe in his declining circumstance, there is both honor to be had and money to be made. If he kills enough of those peasants, they’re going to get cranky. You don’t want cranky peasants. Have you seen the size of some of those guys? They spend all day toting those barges and lifting those bales. Their armor may be crap, but some of the weapons they can come up with are pretty nasty. Put a pruning hook on the end of an extra-long pole, add a pointy bit of metal or two, and you have a guisarme. Any blacksmith can handle that. And it doesn’t have to be rape and murder to set them off. They’ve been known to riot over taxes on gruit. You’ve never heard of gruit? It is what the peasants used to use to flavor their beer. They switched to hops. Jack around with the price of a pint and see what happens. Now the townsmen are honked off too.

    So one day, you look out over the grounds leading up to your stronghold and see a few hundred of “your” people gathering, and you know full well that it isn’t Noble Appreciation Day.

    Have fun.

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The blogger Grim, who has thought a great deal about these matters, has two relevant post:

    What Chivalry Is

    What Chivalry Is Not

    Those are pretty good. I’d quibble about it being just the man-on-a-horse thing. That is how it started, but added onto it was determining what “honor” is.

    They talked about it a lot. The troubadours came in and sang songs about it, told stories about it. One of those stories was “The Song of Roland.” It had a list.

    • To fear God and maintain His Church
    • To serve the liege lord in valor and faith
    • To protect the weak and defenseless
    • To give succor to widows and orphans
    • To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
    • To live by honor and for glory
    • To despise pecuniary reward
    • To fight for the welfare of all
    • To obey those placed in authority
    • To guard the honor of fellow knights
    • To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
    • To keep faith
    • At all times to speak the truth
    • To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
    • To respect the honor of women
    • Never to refuse a challenge from an equal
    • Never to turn your back upon a foe

    Note that almost none of that has to do with fighting.

    Did they all live up to these ideals? No. If your ideals are easy to live up to, it’s time to ramp up your ideals.

     

    • #22
  23. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    This concept of true chivalry is massively needed among boys and men.  It has been said that one of the crippling problems of not having a father in the house is that there’s nobody there, capable of teaching boys how to be men.

    (I know full well the things that were done by people who claimed to be chivalrous.  That is NOT what I’m talking about.  There have been rotten people in all walks of life, going all the way back to Cain.)

    But it is just as important for girls to be taught about their relation to men within chivalry.  That’s the only way they learn how they should be treated and respected by men.

    Especially over the last 25 years, I have been constantly dealing with male adults who were never taught how to behave as men.  And just as many adult females who have no idea what to expect in the way they should be treated by men – in part because they may never have met a real man.

    • #23
  24. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    But it is just as important for girls to be taught about their relation to men within chivalry.  That’s the only way they learn how they should be treated and respected by men.

    It is equally important for them to learn about and consider their OWN responsibilities.

    • #24
  25. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Percival (View Comment):  First of all, droit du seigneur was never a thing. Somebody is going to tell the deacon. The deacon will tell the priest. The priest will tell the bishop, and before you know it, the local lord is adjudged to be a knucklehead. This is not a judgement without consequences. Toss in a case or two of murder, and he might be excommunicated. To the lord they may be peasants, but to the Lords Spiritual, they are parishioners . He gets a stern talking-to from people he can’t bully. The reason he can’t bully them is because they have more friends than he does. He can’t treat his peasants any way he feels like. They’ll leave. Yeah, they’re not supposed to be able to, but if his reputation is bad enough, a lot of blind eyes will be turned. Trade will fall off. If his honor is besmirched, what is his word of honor worth? His neighbors start calculating. Maybe in his declining circumstance, there is both honor to be had and money to be made. If he kills enough of those peasants, they’re going to get cranky. You don’t want cranky peasants. Have you seen the size of some of those guys? They spend all day toting those barges and lifting those bales. Their armor may be crap, but some of the weapons they can come up with are pretty nasty. Put a pruning hook on the end of an extra-long pole, add a pointy bit of metal or two, and you have a guisarme. Any blacksmith can handle that. And it doesn’t have to be rape and murder to set them off. They’ve been known to riot over taxes on gruit. You’ve never heard of gruit? It is what the peasants used to use to flavor their beer. They switched to hops. Jack around with the price of a pint and see what happens. Now the townsmen are honked off too.

    So one day, you look out over the grounds leading up to your stronghold and see a few hundred of “your” people gathering, and you know full well that it isn’t Noble Appreciation Day.

    Have fun.

    I’ll admit that I’m strongly influenced by Barbara Tuchman on this topic.  Maybe it’s a French thing.  The frogs are always pretty bad about almost everything.  To hear her view, all the nobles throughout the country were brutal oppressors.  Take the way they slaughtered so many in Paris.  I’m sure that even in France some of the aristocracy were good people, but the over all system was brutal and it’s well documented that many serial killers among them were tolerated.  There was no point in escaping because the next lord was just as bad, and the clergy knew which side their bread was buttered on.

    • #25
  26. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Quiet Pi:

    “This concept of true chivalry is massively needed among boys and men.  It has been said that one of the crippling problems of not having a father in the house is that there’s nobody there, capable of teaching boys how to be men.

    (I know full well the things that were done by people who claimed to be chivalrous.  That is NOT what I’m talking about.  There have been rotten people in all walks of life, going all the way back to Cain.)

    But it is just as important for girls to be taught about their relation to men within chivalry.  That’s the only way they learn how they should be treated and respected by men.

    Especially over the last 25 years, I have been constantly dealing with male adults who were never taught how to behave as men.  And just as many adult females who have no idea what to expect in the way they should be treated by men – in part because they may never have met a real man.”

    I agree with most of this but have a few concerns.

    Young women who do not have a close relationship to a father figure in my experience will have great difficulty relating to men. Period. 

    Not only will ” (young women) who have no idea what to expect in the way they should be treated by men” but very often due to their own emotional problems these young women will try to use men and use their sexuality to entice men  to do very inappropriate things.   To my Neanderthal way of thinking, female instincts in a women  not brought up with proper values and morals and not under the caring influence of a father figure will tend to aggressively pursue the Alpha Male-Bad Boy. Such a pursuit in todays society,  by my way of thinking,  due to the tens of  millions of young women who have been brought up in dysfunctional households has led many young men , in the millions,  who are also from dysfunctional households,  to strive to be that Alpha Male/BadBoy and becoming downright evil just to get young women.  This whole dynamic has led to a great coarsening and degradation of society. 

    • #26
  27. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    David Foster (View Comment):

    The blogger Grim, who has thought a great deal about these matters, has two relevant post:

    What Chivalry Is

    What Chivalry Is Not

    Those are excellent.  I particularly note this sentence in the “what chivalry is not” essay:

    In any case, chivalry is not chiefly or principally about relations between men and women at all. Those ideas fall out of it, but are not the core of it.

    Write on!

    • #27
  28. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’ll admit that I’m strongly influenced by Barbara Tuchman on this topic.  

    Nothing wrong with that. Wonderful writer whose greatest contribution as a historian is that, careerwise, she wasn’t one, and so was able to write with the fresh enthusiasm of a very-well-informed amateur who’d done her research, and without all the pressure and baggage of academia.  A Distant Mirror is a terrific book.

    • #28
  29. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Unsk (View Comment):

    Young women who do not have a close relationship to a father figure in my experience will have great difficulty relating to men. Period.

    Agree. I don’t discount the role of the mother though.  Seems to me that the best person in the world to teach a young girl how to behave appropriately around others–whether they be men or women–and what to expect in return, is another woman–her mother.  Every parent I’ve known, of either sex, who’s raising a child or children alone, has taken great pains to establish healthy relations for the children with someone of of the opposite sex–member of the family, close friend, someone from a social group, etc–in order to achieve that balance.  Unfortunately, many of the young girls and boys I might deem most at risk in a single-parent household, have a dysfunctional parent in the one that remains, which just makes things doubly difficult.  Ditto among those households with same-sex parents who are so busy celebrating their pride in themselves that they forget that ‘their’ child may not share their enthusiasms.

    Not only will ” (young women) who have no idea what to expect in the way they should be treated by men” but very often due to their own emotional problems these young women will try to use men and use their sexuality to entice men  to do very inappropriate things.   To my Neanderthal way of thinking, female instincts in a women  not brought up with proper values and morals and not under the caring influence of a father figure will tend to aggressively pursue the Alpha Male-Bad Boy. Such a pursuit in todays society,  by my way of thinking,  due to the tens of  millions of young women who have been brought up in dysfunctional households has led many young men , in the millions,  who are also from dysfunctional households,  to strive to be that Alpha Male/BadBoy and becoming downright evil just to get young women.

    Again, I include both parents, or at least authority/caring figures of both sexes, in this equation to formulate a successful outcome.  And I’m afraid I can’t sign on to the theory that so many of today’s problems stem from the fact that dysfunctionally-raised women are luring men down the primrose path and causing them to alter their behavior in order to ‘score.’  As you state, millions of men are also raised in dysfunctional households.  I think what you’re describing is more along the lines of emotionally unhealthy, isolated, confused and traumatized young people of both sexes seeking the attention, affection, and security they’ve missed out on in life, and essentially self-medicating by experimenting with drugs and/or sex and/or other transgressive behaviors in order to try to find oblivion and release. Very often (if they survive) they can overcome such behavior, and many (not nearly enough) do.

    This whole dynamic has led to a great coarsening and degradation of society.

    Cannot argue with that.

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  30. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Forgot to mention:

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