B is for the boy/girl archetype, aka the tomboy. An expression of the Athlete archetype. Can you relate? Did you outpace the boys on the school playground and run circles around them this morning? Are you part soft, part hard, a girly girl with an aqua hard hat in your work shed?
If one of your archetypes is the boy/girl, by definition you may exhibit physical and emotional characteristics more typical of male gender energy. She is hard on the outside and soft on the inside. As time goes on, boy/girls evolve with age and through history, and so does our cultural profile of them. From Joan of Arc in the l500s, who dressed as a man to lead the French Army to victory to Diane Keaton, who muscled Annie Hall to an Academy Award in the ’70s. And the multitude of new tomboy patterns ever since.
It’s likely that those of you who have read best-selling author Carolyn Myss’s latest book, Archetypes: Who Are You? will draw a line from the boy/girl to the athlete/warrior or physical family of archetypes, and you will be right.
She’s often a physical force and/or a mental warrior; the goddess Athena with a large dollop of Zeus. She may be out of sorts wearing anything with frills, and nobody wears unisex better. Depending on her combination of archetypes, she may be fiercely competitive, protective, or active and assertive. But she is not a stereotype. When we stereotype we are judging the book by the cover.
An archetype, see, is never about the cover, but rather the pages, and within those pages the many patterns of behavior that begin to emerge. Our boy/girl is low-maintenance, loaded with adaptability and stamina, and most assuredly, she will never not surprise you. To prove it: See if you can guess which famous boy/girl said the following:
“Going out and playing football or baseball with the boys, when I was a tomboy, was a great way to learn about winning and losing, and most girls didn’t have that experience.” (She’s a favorite of mine.)
I’ll tell you the answer at the end of this blog; I’ll also reveal a few other boy/girl favorites:
All-around boy/girl: Dara Torres. Go light on makeup, Dara, and please keep your hair short.
Boy/girl performer: Gorgeous Ellen DeGeneres. Even Cover Girl agrees.
Boy/girl fashionista: Cameron Diaz
Boy/girl caregiver: Rosie O’Donnell, a teddy bear of a girl who loves kids more than she loves herself.
Boy/girl intellectual: Rachel Maddow, a world-class thinker—and not one to argue with if you don’t really know your stuff.
Boy/girl visionary: Jill Sander. She cuts men’s clothing for women.
Boy/girl athlete/queen: Venus Williams.
Boy/girl rebel: Pink. What a firecracker!
Boy/girl spiritual: Carolyn Myss—sexiest woman I know. But don’t bother engaging her in a mental battle. You will lose.
My favorite boy/girl in history: Amelia Earhart.
Favorite film boy/girl: Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby.
And favorite tomboy Secretary of State, former First Lady and speaker of the mystery quote above: Hillary Clinton.
To be, meet, and truly know the boy/girl is to step beyond gender and into the best of both a woman and a man. The place we may one day realize lives within us all.
With grace and gratitude,