Tomboys are common in childhood. These are the girls who naturally gravitate toward the activities that more usually attract boys. They are more interested in sports than dolls and they are more comfortable in jeans than dresses. While most little girls dream of being princesses and fashion models, tomboys are just as interested in becoming athletes and astronauts. While many girls shed their hard shells and boyish demeanors after adolescence, some take a tomboy’s cavalier attitude with them into adulthood.
In legend, the Greek huntress Atalanta ran faster than any man and was the only woman to accompany Jason in his search for the Golden Fleece. Mulan was a folkloric figure in Chinese lore who dressed as a man to go to war. And of course fiction has its assertive Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew; and Scout, the rough and tumble daughter of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Diane Keaton’s portrayal of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, in her mannish hats and outfits, liberated real women in the late 1970s to dress for comfort, not seduction. More recently, literature and cinema have given us the appealingly strong young protagonist Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
Katherine Hepburn was famous for her refusal to doll herself up and wear anything but slacks. Dozens of prominent women are proud to claim to have been tomboys in their youths. Cameron Diaz and Edie Falco, who keep their hair cropped short, identify as tomboys.
Amelia Earhart, Rachel Weisz, Julianna Margulies, Avril Lavigne, Rosie O’Donnell
Tomboys don’t play games. They are straightforward, honest and concerned with getting things done in the most direct way possible. They are also refreshingly lacking in vanity, and bring a freshness and vigor to socially formal situations.
They can be reactive in situations that require more collaborative energy; and they can be impulsive, hastily making decisions that require more rumination. Tomboys can also be dismissive of some of the luxuries in life that other women tend to enjoy.
Sports, nature, fitness, gear, good jokes
- Band of Sisters: American Women at Home in Iraq by Kirsten Holmstedt
- Find Me by Rosie O’Donnell
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
“Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.” -Martina Navratilova
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