Can we all agree the word ‘Tomboy’ needs to go?
A few days ago I shared the above photo on my personal Facebook page, and was honestly surprised by the controversy it generated.
One of my male friends (i'll call him Frank) had this to say:
It's not sexist, it's merely definitive! What I mean is, of /course/ they are girls, but "girls" is a generalization, and will not distinguish between the different likes every girl has. "Tomboy" doesn't imply negativity, it merely implies a girl who likes a certain set of things..."
But why do we need a descriptive generalization for a girl who likes to play in the dirt with toy cars or climb trees?
Then a different male friend (i'll call him Bob) chimed in with his viewpoint:
The problem with the word "tomboy" is that it seems to say, in a very patronizing way, "You'll never be as good as a BOY, little girl. But you can be the next best thing: a tomboy! Isn't that great?"
As a single mom raising a little girl, I want to empower her to believe that she can do anything she wants in this world. I want to instill confident, independence and kindness in her and I want her to know that she can perform any task just as well as any boy can.
I think Sharon Suchoval summed it up best:
"According to Wikipedia: A tomboy is a girl who exhibits characteristics or behaviors considered typical of a boy, including wearing masculine clothing and engaging in games and activities that are physical in nature and are considered in many cultures to be "unfeminine" or the domain of boys.
Just because there is a wikipedia entry, doesn't mean we have to subscribe to it.
Some girls climb trees.
Some girls wear dresses.
Some girls climb trees while wearing dresses.
Don't define people by how they play and don't call girls boys (or boys, girls.)
If you want to paint your nails and then jump in the mud, go for it.
If you want to pull your hair in a ponytail and eat a cheeseburger, do it.
If you want to collect bugs, talk to them, name them, and set them free, be my guest.
Do all of these things and know that you are a girl. Don't do any of them and know that you are a girl.
Wear lipstick, play soccer, have friends that are girls, have friends that are boys, eat bacon...or salad, watch romantic comedies or action movies, wear pink or wear blue.
None of it matters.
You. Are. A. Girl.
So what do you think? Is "Tomboy" a necessary descriptor for a little girl who acts 'boy-like'? Or is it time to retire this word accept that no matter what her hobbies or interests, she is just a girl?