Why Boys Don 't Play With Dolls

1672 Words7 Pages
The essay “Why Boys Don’t Play With Dolls” by Katha Pollitt, uses examples from scientific studies and hypothetical anecdotes in order to craft her primary argument. This argument appears to be that no matter what the case, parents will send messages to their children, and that they should simply pay attention to the messages that they send. Pollitt frequents broad statements regarding gender roles throughout the piece, that may be used as an attempt to relay to the reader what they may already know about gender stereotypes. Pollitt appears to be addressing future or current parents based on the examples she uses to support her claims, as many of them are related to the ways parents may indoctrinate certain ideals upon their children. Pollitt begins by plainly stating that even though the National Organization for Women was formed 28 years ago, “boys still like trucks and girls still like dolls” (Pollitt 1). The manner in which this introductory sentence is structured seems to simplify the importance of what children choose to play with in comparison to the issues that organizations like NOW attempt to address. This approach is unique as it lends itself to be perceived as the author poking fun at her subject matter. In the same paragraph, Pollitt brings forth another set of contrasting references. While Pollitt states “...we are told the source of these...preferences must lie outside society -- in prenatal hormonal influences, brain chemistry, genes -- and that feminism has reached its natural limits” (Pollitt 2) as a potential explanation for the differing behaviors, the behaviors that she is referencing are relatively modern and societally influenced. This is shown by the specific references she makes in the following sentence... ... middle of paper ... ...by emphasizing that parents will send messages to their children no matter what. She adds a sense of helplessness with her final sentence, claiming “We don 't have a choice, really, about whether we should give our children messages about what it means to be male and female -- they 're bombarded with them from morning till night.” (Pollitt 16) This further excruciates and embeds Pollitt’s primary argument into the final paragraph, especially with the use of words like “bombard” and “choice”. Pollitt finishes the essay asking a question of the reader. The question offers almost a solution to the lack of control parents have over sending messages to their children. Pollitt asks, “what do we want those messages to be?” (Pollitt 17), this question can be seen as a way to relay her primary argument’s cause. That parents must pay attention to the messages that they do send.
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