“William’s Doll” by Charlotte Zolotow is basically a book of cliches.
But that’s because it was written in 1972. In 1972 they weren’t cliches, they were a new kind of wisdom. Too bad it didn’t take.
The Pattycake Doll Company sells a lot of boy dolls, and dolls for boys. But not as many as we should, considering the population of boys in America. Too many people still believe the cliches:
If you give a boy a doll he’ll be a sissy. If he doesn’t become a sissy, he’ll be called a sissy (bullied).
Dolls are for girls. Not boys. Train sets and basketballs are for boys.
Boys don’t have the urge to protect and nurture.
Almost as much of a cliche in the book is that it’s ‘Fathers’ who don’t want their sons to play with dolls.
That’s still true. There are a lot of guys who worry about that stuff. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of Mommies who worry about that stuff too.
At the end of the book William’s Dad – outraged that Grandmother has bought William a doll says: “He’s a boy!…He has a basketball and an electric train and a workbench to build things with. Why does he need a doll?”
William’s Grandmother answers with a smile: So that he can practice being a father.”
If you’re reading this blog, the odds are pretty good that I’m preaching to the choir. But the message hasn’t changed.
Should boys be allowed to play with dolls?
It’s one way they can learn to become good fathers.