Critical Response Final Draft
Children should have a mind of their own when it comes to their entertainment.At an early age children are called to choose a toy from the isle of the toy store that is labeled and colored accordingly to fit the differences of their sex and not their entertainment needs.Children are not the ones to blame for the belief that every aspect of this world is categorized according to genders because this idea has been in our society for ages and there has always been a debate on this topic.
In Christina Hoff Somers’ article “You Can Give a Boy a Doll, But You Can’t Make Him Play With It” published on the 6th of December 201 2, in the newspaper The Atlantic she seems to be a firm believer that genders are different, each sex has separate needs and tendencies but remain equal.
This is the reason why she opposes to the Swedes who are aiming for uniformity through gender-free catalogues and new stereotype-free preschool called Agile. On the other hand, Peggy Orenstein in her article “Should the World of Toys Be Gender-Free? Published on the 29th of December 2011 in the newspaper The New York Times, she appears to support cross-sex toys and play activities. Orenstein believes that with cross-sex entertainment it would be easier and beneficial for the children to interact and communicate in the future, due to their shared experiences and that toys should not be separated according to sex. In response to Somers’ main argument I feel that I agree with the points the author is making.
Each individual is different by nature; genders have different needs and preferences. Not allowing children to play with toys that suit their personality but rather oblige them to play with something labeled as ender-neutral that will eventually lead into equality is absurd to me because then the children will not learn to have voice of their own but rather a false idea of who they are. To begin with, one point I agree with Somers is as she states it ” Men and woman can be different- but equal” (par. ). In other words the author does believe that although genders differ due to biology, as humans they remain equal. The reason agree with her is because the Swedes’ way of achieving a gender neutral environment is by ignoring the differences of the genders and trying to introduce a way of dealing with people as if they are one thing. To make it clearer, when I was young I played with boys as well with girls. We were a team, we played with dolls and with trucks and we learned each ones needs.
The boys helped us build things and as girls we learned them to take care of our baby dolls. This experience made me learn and inhabit that each gender provides something that lacks to the other. When we learn and accept each ones differences that is when we will become equal not by providing kids with a gender-neutral toy catalogue because then uniqueness will not exist. Another point agree that Somers has made is when she opposes to the new preschool Agile, which has removed gender specific items from their curriculum.
In Orenstein article she states that ” Every experience, every interaction, every activity-when they laugh, cry, learn, play-strengthens some neural circuits at the expense of others, and the younger the child the greater the effect” (par. 10). In other words if the children in Agile are offered an unhealthy, monitored schooling and are forced to get rid of their natural likings which benefits them while rowing up that will lead to ” undermine children’s healthy development” (Somers par. 1). Finally, another point which Somers could not have expressed better my opinion on the topic kids and entertainment is ” just leave him alone and let him play as he wants” (par. 16). In making this comment, the author says that the criteria on which the object of a child’s entertainment will be chosen by, will not have to do with what gender is the toy addressed to but with what the child’s entertainment needs are at that certain point.
For a child to make an unbiased choice about his entertainment, demands an environment which will has raised it up knowing that although toys differ according to gender there is nothing wrong in choosing a toy of your opposite sex and not raise him up in a person who believes otherwise. In other words, ” the environment in which children play and grow can encourage a range of aptitudes or foreclose them” (Orenstein par. 11). In conclusion, the reason why I am in favor of Somers is because she accepts that sexes are different but does not believe that creating uniformity will provide us with equality.
Accepting each ones differences and who we are is what will provide us with equality. Children should be let alone to explore their own likings without being obliged to be something they are not. Bottom line is that the differences of each human being are what make this world interesting. A world full of same people will lead us to routine.