Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Thoughts about tomboys

The idea of a tomboy has changed since I was a kid. Back then, a tomboy was defined by what she did and what she didn't do. Nowadays, tomboys are only defined by what they don't do. When I was a kid, tomboys were the girls who climbed trees, played sports, got dirty, and all that "boy" stuff. Nowadays, most girls do some of that stuff. And that's good. It's accepted that girls like to do the fun physical play that boys have always had dibs on in ages past. My daughter Rachel certainly isn't afraid to climb a tree or jump around or play sports. However, she's got a very definite feminine side to her as well. She loves wearing pretty clothes, princesses are the best.thing.ever, and playing with dolls is a given. I think these days tomboys would be the girls who didn't do the feminine stuff. And therefore, there are far fewer tomboys.

I wonder if the word "tomboy" will eventually go the way of "poppycock" and "icebox".

1 comment:

Krista said...

I'm glad to have found your post on tomboys. I am an adult tomboy exploring the ways that being a tomboy has shaped my life.
I hope the word tomboy never goes away. I grew up in the 1950's, a time when a tomboy child could enjoy cautious acceptance in most quarters, even some encouragement until puberty when one was expected to climb down out of the trees and learn to put on eye-liner. At that point, the term tomboy was pejorative.
Like you, I see that girls and are encouraged to enjoy athletics in youth and to remain physically active all thought life. While this is certainly a welcome change for the better, it isn't the equivalent a nuturing social environment, where tomboy girls are free to grow into self-respecting tomboy women living full & authentic lives.
Your daughter sounds like a very wonderful girl. And, she may or may not be a tomboy. Being a tomboy is about more than physical play. It touches how one learns, relates, and expresses self.

It is my wish for tomboy to stay as word we use to describe ourselves - all through our lives -with as much ease as "blue-eyes" or "average height".

Thanks for you blog. It was refreshing to read.