Tomboy v. Girlie Girl

Be Your Own Girl

Were you a tomboy or a girlie girl?  Did you think of yourself that way, or was it what you heard be said about you?

I will let you guess which I heard as a girl.

I liked to read, climb trees, play with Barbies, ride my bike, cook miniature cakes in my Easy Bake Oven, roller skate, and daydream.  I loved red shoes, colorful tights, shorts, and t-shirts, all worn together.  I always loved long hair, but wore it braided for years to avoid sitting still while my mother yanked out the tangles.

Girlie Girl or Tomboy?I wasn’t interested in sports or dance classes.  I didn’t play with make-up or play army.  I was neither boy-crazy nor one of the boys.  I liked dresses, but only if they were comfortable.

Can you guess?

According to my mom, I was a tomboy and did not like girlie things.  That is what I heard my entire childhood.  She said it to me, and she said it about me.

I don’t think she meant it as an insult; it was a statement of fact to her, like saying, “My daughter is a redhead.”  Well, maybe it was more like sighing, “She burns so easily.”

It felt like a negative, and I accepted that others would always think of me as not quite feminine enough.

Fortunately, “alwaBe Your Own Girl.  Love what you love.ys” only lasted until I was twenty, and my husband found me quite appealingly feminine.

For many years, I didn’t think about the issue at all.  Happily married, and a mom to boys, it fell off my radar.

Then I became the mom to a daughter, and an aunt to nieces.  My ears again tuned into the stereotypes of femininity.  Or the rejection thereof.

And I just want to say, “Stop it!”

  • Girls can wear dresses every day and still ride bikes and play in dirt and run fast and be strong.
  • Girls can play with dolls for years and still not want to babysit your kids.
  • Girls can love Disney princesses and Lord of the Rings equally well.
  • Girls can love or hate make-up and love or hate science class.
  • Girls can love sports and/or write sappy love poems.
  • Girls can be ridiculously dramatic or quiet and reserved.
  • Girls can wear baseball hats or tiaras while practicing their dance moves or catching frogs.
  • Girls can love what they love and not have to prove anything.

There is no such thing as a typical girl.  Children do not need to be burdened with labels, whether it is meant as a compliment or not.

Tomboy v. Girlie GirlThey also do not need to be pressured to “overcome” stereotypes.  Some girls just don’t want to play with trucks or Legos.  No matter how much their parents want to avoid gender stereotypes, there are girls who want Barbies and frilly dresses.

Society will not collapse, nor will a daughter be doomed, because she will only wear pink.  Or refuses to wear pink.

I want the girls I love to each to be their own girl, willing to explore and learn and discover their own interests, develop their own style, without worrying about what others think.  Without thinking about what will be said about them.

I don’t think that can happen with the world commenting on everything they do or do not.  How can a girl discover who she is when she’s constantly being appraised by others?  Waiting for the “like” button to be pressed, so she knows that she is okay.

I want people to say of my girl, “She’s her own person,” and I want it to be true.


11 thoughts on “Tomboy v. Girlie Girl

  1. Great post. I liked riding my bicycling and cooking with my Easy-bake Oven. I hated playing with baby dolls, and I loved my red go-go boots. I was neither a girlie girl NOR a tomboy. I’m glad my mom didn’t put a label on me.

  2. I think some people liked to be classified, like being in an inclusive club. Many people like to sum up people into a type. I don’t care for either option. Also I don’t want to be considered a little old lady because I am short and advancing in years!

  3. Amen to that, Ginger! Why do you have to be one thing or the other? My daughter hates dresses, loves makeup, hates getting dirty, loves sports…she is her own complex, complicated person (just like her mom!)

  4. HAving one of those girls who firmly believes pink and dolls and frilly stuff is the work of the devil, I understand. I don’t push it either way but I refuse to let her wear boys clothes … DO you know how hard it is to find clothes for girls not covered in glitter, bows, ruffles or pink? It’s tough. We have a closet full of stuff she wont wear. sigh, I hope she changes as she grows up and gets girlie bits…even if its just a little.
    Thanks for hooking up to the Hump Day Hook Up

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