Laken Sutton March 20, 2013 English 102 Gompf Revised Paper Women vs. “Love is a Fallacy” “Love is a Fallacy” is often viewed as an anti-women story. To many this piece exploits females by insulting women using stereotypes that have been around for a long time. The female sex, as a whole, has been fighting to overcome these degrading assumptions. This story uses a girl named Polly to display all women. She depicts them as ignorant and gullible individuals. During the Story, Polly is treated like an object or mere possession, rather than a human being with emotions, ideas, and thoughts of her own.
The men focus mainly on her physical beauty. They also suggest that she could be trained, in the same way wild animals are usually trained, to think and act for herself. The end of the story leads you to believe that Polly, still representing women, is only interested in shallow material items when choosing relationships. The men in this story are shown in a way that makes them seem superior to women using intelligence, wittiness, and patience along with physical and material attractiveness. In the beginning of “Love is a Fallacy”, the two men make a deal to trade Polly as if they owned or had rights to her.
What is even worse than the act itself is the object she is being traded for, a fur coat. This implies that Polly is only worth a useless, stinky, old fur coat. When evaluating her worth, the man judges her physical beauty and how useful she could be to him. He then decides to take her on as a project for him to improve. Then to show Polly’s ignorance, the writer has her follow the man to be “trained” or taught to think. As he instructs her and becomes increasingly rude and impatient with Polly, she continues to use ignorant phrases and gestures to comply with the man’s commands and to please him.
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In the end, even though Polly stands up for herself and uses his teachings against him, she still is only speaking from what he had taught her and not from her own thoughts. This gives the illusion that women can be taught, by men, to think and act a particular way. Polly then chooses to date one of the men who treated her as a mindless objected because he owns a popular coat (the fur coat that he traded for her in the beginning). This leads the audience to believe that Polly, still representing women, is only interested in material things and doesn’t mind how she is valued or treated.
Women should find this story very insulting. For so long, women have fought to overcome these stereotypes. The female sex has always been judged based solely on their gender. A woman was taught to attract a man and begin a family. Once you had a husband, as a woman, your only priorities should have been to cook, clean, and care-give. Woman were also seen as ignorant pieces of property. Woman had to fight to work, get good jobs, vote, and so much more to prove their equality to men. Men were always seen in the same way as the two men in this story. The two in this tale are extremely shallow, egotistical, and ride.
This is not true for all men, but the older stereotypes set men and women as opposites. Women should be meek, stupid, kind, and proper. Men should be opinionated, intelligent, stern, and in control. These are almost complete opposites. Now it is accepted that woman and men are all different and yet equal. This story is rude to both sexes, but is harsher on the role of women. The women are seen in this story as objects that can be trained, traded, or owned. This could be avoided using a clearly satire atmosphere, or less extreme depictions of the female sex.
This story was, however, very informative (for a student such as myself) learning to construct arguments correctly. Regardless of the anti-female message, “Love is a Fallacy” is perfect to teach fallacies. Shulman’s story gives a very blunt and clear understanding to the definition and purpose of fallacies. It also gives very good examples of how to, or not to, use them in an argument. These tips can help a learning audience identify and avoid fallacies that would weaken their argument. This being true does not excuse the rude insulting projection of women.
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