I used to be a tomboy

court1I used to be a tomboy.

I was proud to be a tomboy because it meant I wasn’t a girly-girl; it meant I was good at sports.

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When I was a little girl they called me a tomboy because I played with the boys. In high school, I was a tomboy because I was a multi-sport athlete.  By the time I was in college women started referring to themselves as tomboys in the past tense, as in “I used to be a tomboy.” It’s not because we no longer play sports. It’s because we know whole groups of women who love to compete, and be physical; we have begun to transcend the abnormal. Now I’m a woman, nobody calls me a tomboy.

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Tomboy does not challenge gender norms, it merely reinforces them – boys do this and girls do that.  A girl who likes to climb trees and play in the mud  is a girl and whatever she does is what a girl does.  Every time we refer to a little girl as a tomboy we acknowledge the fact that girls are expected to be different from boys, which simultaneously reproduces the notion that boys must behave in a certain way.  The term tomboy may have been useful at one time, but it is time we progress beyond our limited vocabulary and narrow gender confines.

Submitted by @courtneyszto

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