We see a scene in Enies Lobby that has been the subject of infinite speculation regarding Sanji: his “policy” with regard to fighting women. Later, in an SBS by Oda, we find out that Sanji cannot hurt women—not that he won’t, but that he physically cannot.

D: Here’s my question: on p. 80 of Volume 42, Sanji says “I was raised to never kick a woman.” Would that have been a lesson from Zeff the Chef? Would that mean Zeff is very soft on women, as well? Tell me. from Ariga-san

O: Oops, this one’s from the same person as the last one. This is a good question though, so I’ll answer it. When I drew Sanji vs Kalifa (Chapter 403), some people lauded Sanji’s stance, and some people felt sorry for him. The truth is, I didn’t really want to write those lines. Sanji doesn’t have a “policy” of not kicking women; the truth is that he actually CAN’T kick them. He is a very proud man. I think he was really frustrated at that. think Nami recognized that, and chose to praise him for once. It’s a scene that I hope will resonate with male readers, but everyone’s free to take it as they wish. Also, Zeff is just a man among men.

A lot of fans still criticize Sanji for not fighting Kalifa in Enies Lobby, potentially endangering Robin and everyone. But according to the SBS he didn’t choose not to, he literally just can’t. It’s like no matter how hard he tries, his body just physically refrains from it.

We already know he got this from Zeff, who said he’d castrate Sanji and then kill himself if Sanji ever hurt a woman.

He was probably just using tough love as usual – or maybe he has a personal reason for despising women beaters so much, who knows – but those words left a huge impact on Sanji who was abused and abandoned by his first dad. It scared him so bad that he would rather die than hitting a woman, aka becoming someone that Zeff hates.