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Compare and Contrast

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Topics: Gender, Man
Essay 2 Compare and Contrast

The two stories the between the Sexes, a Great divide and Being a Man are both stories that speak about the different sexes and their characteristics. Between the Sexes, a Great Divide”, written by Anna Quindlen, is an article that talks about the differences between men and women. She writes about her belief that boys and girls are essentially different, and have always been dissimilar. She transcribes that middle school dances is where the differences are most apparent because of the ‘great divide’ that occurs on the dance floor. She believes that a divide occurs “not because of big differences among us, but because of the small ones” (601). Eventually, though, both genders have to come together as a couple and work well together to live in society peacefully. As they come together, some couples start a family. These children are now being raised in homes where “mothers do things that fathers once did, and vice versa” (601). I believe that we are raised to be two different genders. I believe that there is a physical difference between men and women, but not as much an emotional one. The physical differences between men and women are quite apparent. Men are typically taller and more muscular, while women are petite and curvy. I believe that a great divide may exist between men and women; however, this occurs because of the way we are raised. From a young age, we are told how to act and certain things to enjoy or be interested in by our elders. Boys are told to like trucks, sports, and comics at a young age while girls are told to like Barbie, flowers, and make-up. These beliefs are tossed at us when we are young, who means that later on in life, boys and girls do not always appreciate or enjoy the same things. For example, Quindlen wrote about how she placed an amaryllis bulb in her bathroom. None of the men in her house knew that it was a flower and instead thought it was an onion. She explained that it was a flower to them, but they still did not seem to care (601). They never took the time in their lives to learn the types of flowers or to appreciate them. Some girls know all of the types of flowers because at a young age, someone they respect told them that flowers are pretty and they should learn more about them. Although most girls at a young age loved Barbie and the color pink, I was not one of them. Because of my past experiences, I feel that the ‘great divide’ is created because of the way we were brought up. When I was roughly five years old, all of my close friends were guys. To this day, I am a closer friend with guys than girls. Around the ages of five to seven is where mothers tell their daughters that boys have cooties and vice versa. Around that age, my mother did not care about whom I hung out with. I really enjoyed hanging out with the boys and being ‘one of the boys’ because all of my interests at that time were things that boys typically like such as playing sports, catching frogs, and playing with Tonka trucks. I was a ‘tomboy’ back in the day. I believe the fact that I used to be a tomboy and that I enjoyed all of the things boys are expected to love prove that the ‘great divide’ is created by society. Later on in life, my interests started changing because I wanted to be ‘one of the girls’, so I did things that girls typically did like gossip about boys, paint nails, and wear make-up. Although I started to enjoy things that the average girl enjoys, I still played sports and hung out with my guy friends. My mother and father never cared if I played sports or with dolls, just as long as I was happy. I believe that some parents shape their children into believing that they can only like certain things because of their gender while the truth is both genders enjoy things that are specifically set aside for one gender. I remember a friend’s mother who did not want her 12-month-old son to play with a baby doll. When he’d grab for the baby doll from the various toys at their house, she’d take it away and give him a truck. Parents have ideas in their head of what their kid should act like or enjoy. Boys are typically coined ‘macho’ and girls ‘emotional’. Parents act different towards their different gendered children. I remember when I would get my way more than my brother because if I got really upset, I would cry. On the other hand, my brother would never cry if he didn’t get his way because he feels that if he cries, it is a sign of weakness. Since a societal norm is that men should not cry because it is a sign of weakness, my brother, along with other men, are afraid and ashamed to cry in front of others. I believe that this emotion of being scared to cry in public is created throughout the way we are raised.
There has always been the underlying question if boys and girls are different due to genetics or if the way we are raised is the reason why we are dissimilar. The answer to this question will never completely answered in life, but everyone has his or her own belief on the answer. Because of my experiences, I believe that men and women are emotionally the same in the beginning, but we are raised to be different. The “great divide” that is formed at that middle school dance is mostly because of emotions and feelings toward the other gender. Eventually, the divide is non-existent and the feelings towards how others should act are abolished because to exist in this world, harmony is needed between both sexes. With Being a Man the author tells how he feels about being a man. He expresses himself by using examples and facts about a man’s life. He also talks a little about his experiences and obstacles he had during his lifetime. He states that he has something of an objection to the way we turn boys into men. He thinks the whole idea of manhood is pitiful. It makes reader see how hard it is to be a man, and all the stereotypes there are about men that make them be who they are. He states this when he says that Man means manly, by this he means that the expression: Be a man”, means be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, soldiery, and stop thinking. I think that Theroux claim on being a man is his insecurity. Theroux shows a lot of insecurity in his passages. One that stood out the most to me is when he stated “I have always disliked being a man. After reading that statement that made me wonder what the remaining passage was going to be about. I believe that Theroux is unhappy with his up keepings and blames it on being a man. Theroux says even the expression be a man strikes him as insulting and abusive, he feels it is stupid, unfeeling, obedient, soldiery and stop thinking. In conclusion both essays are very good essays and both used to learn from. The first essay does a very good job of explaining the characteristics of boys and girls as well as men and women. On the flip side being a man talked about the characteristics of being a man whats expected and how the author felt about the characteristics.

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