Tomboys, Gender Training, and The Trouble With Stereotypes

I’m doing some gardening when my daughter walks up.

“Am I a tomboy?”

“Well some may consider you a tomboy because you’re strong and athletic and like things like dinosaurs, skulls, and boys underwear and swim trunks. But I don’t like the term tomboy because it implies that a girl should only behave a certain way – which is ridiculous. Because you ARE a girl, anything you do, and anyway you behave,  is by definition something that a girl would do. So the tomboy part doesn’t make any sense and only serves to limit you as a human being. Why do you ask?”

“My friend says I’m a tomboy, but she said she was one too, and it’s good to be a tomboy.”

“Well that’s true, there’s nothing wrong about being a tomboy, but it would be better to just be the way you are rather than trying to put a label on it. Does that make sense?”



File Under: Limiting Human Potential Through Gender Expectations

3 Responses to “Tomboys, Gender Training, and The Trouble With Stereotypes”

  • S Z Cairney Says:

    I couldn`t agree more! This obsession with labelling kids is getting off the radar.




  • Bobby Johnson Says:

    As I agree with you feelings about Limiting a person and it should not be done. I will add an opposing veiw from a Proud Dad.

    I have five girls two that call them selfs tomboys. My oldest two lived with there mother from the age the oldest was 6 and the other 4 so I did not have anything to do with the conditions of the way they were raised. offend not seeing them due to my job when I did I noted that the oldest was more into boy stuff but I never thought nothing of it.

    My second Marriage the 13 year old has just become in a manner that she is not happy with her breast. Why she is my Tomboy. She plays Call of Duty she likes hiking and Fishing and she will not be caught in a dress very often.

    After her breast started growing I noted that she was staying away from me. I did not know why I just put it as she is 13. Then one day she started getting rude with me. and I just did not understand the one Daughter that I got along with all the time is not turning into someone I did not know. My wife laughed and said you boy is growing up to be a women.

    I did not find that to funny. But it was true. So Dad decided to push the issue to stop the rudeness and get her to talk to me. I started playing call of Duty with her here and there. and I noted that there was a boy in the game that had I love Kylee on his Gun. Well Dad was not happy with that due to I deal with the City and other things and I did not like someone I had no clue if it was a Kid or an adult saying thing like that and then I noted that she has his name on his gun. NOT HAPPENING.

    But I did not say anything at first. I just would go sit and watch her play and listen to what was going on. after all if it was a kid that lived 1100 miles away that is safer then one on the next block. but that also told me my tom boy was really a Girl and yes I know that she was but she never ever showed any interest in girl stuff.

    Now I did figure out the Rude way she would talk to me that is the way they talk to each other on that system and they laugh. Well then I started looking the kid up and found him on her facebook which she was told not to allow any one on there with out us knowing about it when i looked on her page I did not see any thing but. when I signed in I found him.

    I then when back into my facebook and requested that all the PS3 people add me or be deleted. from her face book I explained that I do not know any of you and she was not to add any one that we did not check out first.

    He Refused.

    then I said something and he wrote me and said if I have a problem with him then I have a Problem with his Dad. WHAT???

    I demanded that they take the I love you crap off there guns and any thing on the PS3 you see I do not have a problem with someones dad I have a problem with my Daughter being talked to the way she is and then him having the gull to talk to me the same way. I blocked him on both systems and told her why.

    and she melted me to the ground with that Daddies little girl ray gun. I told her I would see if he would talk to me. and I would work it out but I will not put up with the Rude stuff any longer.

    We did work it out and to this day he will not talk to me at all but I look at is he is 1100 miles away and I have made contact with my Girl. I started to take her places with me. and I told her that it is hard to find stuff for her and I to do.

    I showed her on the INTERNET where when you type in things for a dad and Daughter to do you would find Girl stuff. and The brat said there is the problem dad and I said what she said Change it to Dad and Son stuff. and behold the lights of Heaven rained down on me and we have been happy every since then.

    My point is a Name is not limiting her she is Proud to say she is a Tom Boy as will is my oldest that is a Sargent in the army. They both like Guy stuff yet the both like who they are. The 13 year old is still not liking her breast and I ask her why and she said she could not snuggle with dad like she did and I said Hell to do I touch them things and she SAID NO. then what is the problem she said that she read it was not right. I said Bull. when a Dad and Daughter watch tv and that was the issue they should be allowed to sit next to each other. they should be allowed to do the same things they always did. The Breast are not a Stop sign and she Giggled and said she hated them. lol I told her she is a Girl and they is what God gave you. and it is a Blessing wait and you will see. some day dad will have to give you away to another man. and when you have a child you will never be closer to another person in the world as you will be with that baby. and you will see that them are not a curse or something to be a shamed of but a blessing of God. they are not a sex thing for Men. they are not anything but to feed you children. and if you choose to and can breast feed then you will be closer to that child then you are with me right now and that is a Blessing from God why no one can be as close as we are. My wife even knows that we are more together with the things we like to do.

    My wife also said she was going to spend time with her and take and get there nails done and so on. The 13 year old said that will be cool. then she came and told me that she is not into that what should she do. I am big on the truth and told her. I also told my wife she needed to take her to a Movie and not do the nail thing and she agreed Kylee is her tomboy. and there is nothing wrong with that. but you have to make sure you tell them the facts and you tell them you love them often and you Show them that it is ok to feel good about who and what she is. and that is a Tomboy that is a Daddies girl and that is a wonderful young women. but with out the proper backing you will have troublem I talk to my oldest that is a Tomboy and she said that she hated her breast also. when most girls cant wait for them to grow Tomboys Dont like it so she said that she will get use to it and she will be ok. Well that is happening and she is not limited in any way possible she likes the term tomboy and before writing this I asked her about it and she said “I am what I am and that is just a Name that tells other that I am what I am. nothing more.” She is a Great kid and I would never do any thing to hurt her mental well being. and she is secure with who she is and she said and again this is her words ” I just hate these boobs.” and she likes every thing else about her self so you should not be mad about a name that is simply a way to say how someone is. and it is not limiting unless you let it.


    Straight Dope Dad Reply:

    True. A name is not limiting unless you let it. My concern was her friend was trying to convince her that she was a tomboy as well, so they could be alike. But her friend didn’t come up with that herself either. Someone else has been calling her that and creating expectations. And her friend was embracing that label and starting to not do things that she was formally fine with because it was too girly and she is a tomboy. That’s when it becomes a problem.I was tying to not let that self limiting thought process affect my daughter. She is what she is and that’s good enough.


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