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Boys Vs. Girls

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An Analysis of Katha Pollitt's "Girls Against Boys?"

The article titled "Girls Against Boys," published in the 30 January issue of The Nation magazine by author Katha Pollitt, brings to light pressing issues of gender discrimination and how this nation's education system has changed over the past forty years but still isn't up to par with where it needs to be with issues of gender equality. Pollitt exposes the views of conservatives toward feminism in the school systems of today. This article describes how changes in society are taking place, and what the future may hold for men and women in the world of employment and education.

Pollitt begins with the mention of equal-access admissions instituted in 1975 which leads into how the undergraduate gender gap has changed over the past forty years with girls edging ahead of boys. This statement implies that since the act was brought about, girls have had a better chance to get into colleges and have jumped on the opportunity. Pollitt then fires off some statistics where the women of today are 57 percent of the graduating college students, up 20 points from 1960, further backing up the fact that the number of women in college is continually growing. Pollitt points out that even Harvard's freshman class this year is made up of more girls than boys. The author then goes on to cite an article by John Tierney printed in a recent New York Times where Tierney states that "You could think of this [more women attending college] as a victory for women's rights, but many of the victors will end up celebrating alone." The previous quote leads the reader to believe that some people feel that this is an issue fought only by radical idealist women who do not have good relationships due to their views.

The third paragraph exposes Polltt's feelings of conservatives like George Gilder in the National Review in which Guilder asks the question "Why would any self-respecting boy want to attend one of America's increasingly feminized universities?" Pollitt then quotes Guilder in saying that "most of these institutions have flounced through the last forty years fashioning a fluffy pink playpen of feminist studies." Pollitt is trying to show how conservatives feel about a feminist friendly curriculum in today's schools. Next, Pollitt moves on toward the views of Michael Gurian, Kate O'Beirne, and Christina Hoff Summers where the three blame the increase in college bound girls on things like too many female teachers, too much sitting quietly, not enough sports and a feminist-friendly curriculum that forces boys to read books by women. Pollitt brings up this point to reinforce her view on how conservatives feel about feminism in school by tying in the thoughts of Gurian, O'Beirne and Summers to Gilder's comments.

The fourth paragraph begins with listing the reading assignments the author's daughter was assigned during junior high and high school. She shows that only one book on the list for junior high was written by a woman and only three on the high school list were written by women. This is written in response to the comments made by conservatives in the last paragraph about the feminist-friendly curriculum being the reason that more females are attending college. This is used to dissuade the readers from thinking that the school curriculum is the reason that male participation in college is down. Pollitt then states that conservatives believe that boys should be taught in a cross between boot camp and Treasure Island, hinting back to the comments made by Gurian, O'Beirne and Summers that schools have too much of a feminist-friendly curriculum and need to keep the frills such as gym and band for the boys. The next sentence asks the question of whose idea was it to cut male friendly activities such as gym and band, obviously pointing her finger at conservatives.

The next paragraph starts off with a question about the current dating scene and whether or not it consists of women who love fine art and men who love video games; this implies that females are the educated ones in today's dating scene. Next Pollitt focuses on the sexist nature of the labor market;



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