Why Boys Don’t Play With Dolls by Katha Pollitt – Article Review


The article, “Why Boys Don’t Play With Dolls” was first published in The New York Times Magazine. It was written by Katha Pollitt, reflecting her views on gender stereotyping among children.

About the Author:

Katha Pollitt is a contemporary American feminist essayist, poet, and critic. She is well known for her ridiculous and sublime textual works. She has authored two books of poetry and four essay collections. She published Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism in 1994. Her first book on poetry was published in 1982, titled Antarctic Traveler. Her second poetry volume was published in 2009, titled as The Mind-Body Problem. Her writings mostly focus on social and political, particularly about feminism, abortion rights, welfare reform, racism, and poverty.

About the article:

Pollitt explains how gender stereotyping among children can shape their future behavior. She stresses on the role of parents to be more influential on the attitude of the children, as well as their societal norms and gender bias. As the name states, the author disapproves the common social concept of boys playing with guns and girls playing with dolls. She states that these kind of conceptions are purely society and parents influenced and not from a child’s inborn traits. The genetics, hormonal influences, and the brain chemistry have nothing to do with such an attitude.

The gender biased society of today forces a sort of gender stereotyping on children. This is why parents need to have a radical approach with children, and allow them to grow up without any social ‘agenda’. Moreover, today’s parents embrace the social gender stereotypes in their everyday life and instill the same on their child. This attitude is sure to affect the child’s behavior and thoughts in the future.

Today’s children are however, fewer stereotypes and exhibit an out-of-the-box thinking. They neither conform to the social standards not feminist mentality. Pollitt insists today’s parents to take responsibility for their children’s social attitude. She also asks the parents to stop encouraging or imposing any kind of gender stereotyping into the minds of children. While the male dominant society instills such stereotyping both consciously and unconsciously, it is important to raise a child with a broad perception towards gender views.

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