Many observers of American society charge that society has created a distorted definition of manhood and produced a culture who, in their need to assert control over their lives, release their frustrations at the expense of women. In both their essays, Lois Gould and Bernice Kanner address these gender oriented issues from the point of view of a male and female, for whom gender heightens the distortion and its consequences.
In Lois Gould's "X: A Fabulous Child's Tale," and Bernice Kanner's "Big Boys Don't Cry: Returning the Macho Message," each author's uses a legion of literary devices to identify the reader with the moral message he or she has dedicated their work's ambition to. Each author tells a different story, but the authors agree on a common theme: "that too much emphasis is placed on the roles of the sexes in today's society." As well as the fact that, there are certain expectations, and common physical and psychological stereotypes placed on each gender that misconstrue and distort the way that we as humans look at each other.
In each essay, the authors separate their styles using varying literary inclinations such as structure, tone and perspective. In Lois Gould's article the author uses the structure of a fictitious story to create the proper mood and tone. In Gould's story she tells a tale of a young X that faces many trials and tribulations as it passes through adolescence due to the fact that it lacks a defining gender. X enjoys playing sports, but at the same time, X enjoys playing house too. By using the narrative story structure, Gould is able to mold what she wants the reader to feel about her piece and the theme using words to, in a sense, take the reader on a guided tour of the problems with gender in society, while at the same time by maintaining an emphatic tone the reader stays amused and interested in the story.
In Bernice Kanner's piece a totally different approach was taken in order to spread awareness on the issue of gender.