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Being a tomboy: it's good.

Updated on November 17, 2010

I do not think that being a tomboy is a choice that any girl makes. She seems to be born androgynous, and that is just the way it is. I could not tell you whether there is scientific evidence to prove whether tomboyishness is a natural occurrence or whether it is nurtured, because I have not carried out any research. I have only my own experiences and observations to go on. But I noticed this - there rarely, if ever, seems to be a crossover from tomboy to girly-girl, or vice versa. And I have also noticed something else - that there are degrees of tomboyism.

I have always been a tomboy, but I have also always been a lady. I have never been a ladette, and I would like to emphasize the distinction here. A ladette is a female who drinks like a fish, and indulges in raucous and lewd behaviour and/or the removal of clothes in public. These behaviours do not represent the self-respecting tomboy.

I would classify the tomboy as someone who cannot really be bothered to do most, or all, of the following things:

  • shave legs
  • moisturise
  • make sure that hair is perfect all the time
  • apply make-up daily
  • buy smart-casual clothes to wear every day
  • learn to walk in heels
  • show any degree of femininity
  • wear shoes other than trainers
  • wear skirts or dresses
  • indulge in gossip

As I said, a tomboy does not need to avoid all of these things - she may enjoy one or two of them, as indeed I do.

The tomboy also has a list of things that she does like to do:

  • wear jeans
  • talk to boys who are her friends, and to whom she is not attracted
  • climb trees
  • do things that girls are not expected to be able to do, such as changing a wheel on a car
  • feel superior (quite wrongly) to girly-girls
  • surprise everyone by wearing feminine clothes and generally scrubbing up well for a special occasion
  • play rough games with kids
  • laugh loudly and not care if people stare when she does so
  • look down her nose at people

Obviously, I am purely describing myself here. Other tomboys will have their own list, if indeed they are the list making variety of tomboy. Quite obviously we are all individuals, and labels of any kind are really rather silly and unhelpful. Honestly, who cares whether or not I am a tomboy, because I am just me, and you are just you. Let's all just be friends.

But being a tomboy used to bother me a bit. When I was in my early teens I was mistaken for a boy many times. I think I used to get quite down about it, but never enough to try to change myself. I would see all the other girls with perfect hair at school, watch them meeting up with the boys from the boys' school, marvel at their powers of flirting. I would be jealous, jealous as hell, and I would know that I never had a chance of attracting any admirers because the only difference between me and the boys was that I had to wear a skirt to school. I cursed my tomboyishness at that age, but there was nothing I could do about it, it was just who I was. I think I just hoped to find my truly feminine side when I became an adult and could get a job and afford to buy nice clothes. I believed that femininity lay in clothes - little did I know that I had many ladylike qualities hiding under the surface.

I learned to let my girly-girl side out once in a while when I turned eighteen I think. My first attempts at applying make-up were not good. My mother likes to laugh when she recalls me turning up to one of her tap dancing classes wearing shiny scarlet lipstick and badly drawn jet black eyeliner. I shudder to think! Fortunately for my burning cheeks, I learned very quickly how to make my war paint more subtle. I have never worn make-up during the day, apart from the odd occasion when a new hair cut made me feel like making the effort. But one of my favourite things now is to girl-up for a night out. Because I dress like a boy most of the time, the effect of a revealing top, a natty pair of heels, and dramatic eyes is all the more powerful when it's unusual. I don't think I look better than anyone else, but I won't deny that I do enjoy the flattering attention I receive when I scrub up. For a tomboy I'm unusually vain!

Despite enjoying my feminine side from time to time, I am now ferociously proud of my 'masculine' one. When I was at university studying drama I was in a play called 'Treason'. An entirely female cast played male characters. One of my proudest moments was when a fellow student provided some feedback and said that the actor who was best able to put across the idea and personification of androgyny, was me. Of course, it was my vanity that was pandered to, and I was quite wrong to allow my acting talents to take any of the credit, because the fellow student was praising my ability to come across as both male and female at the same time. This feat was no stretch for me, since androgyny is part of my genetic make-up, I believe.

In summing up, then, I would like to say that the true sign of a tomboy is a strong desire to climb trees. This I do, invariably, whenever a suitable tree comes within my sight.

I would also like to say that I have nothing at all against girly-girls. I sometimes choose to be one myself. It is not something that I would like to be permanently though - it's too much like hard work, and as we all know, I am very lazy.

And I would also like to say that everything I have just said is a right load of rubbish, because people are just people, all lovely and different. We all have multi-faceted personalities with different mixes of the feminine and the masculine.


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    • profile image

      Monique 3 years ago

      I'm a tomboy...33 years old...strictly jeans and t-shirt kind of girl until about 2 years ago when my first and only daughter turned two and was able to speak her mind and I knew right away that she was a girly-girl to the fifth power...if I put jeans on her, she will take them off at her first opportunity. But in allowing her to be her girly self...I have discovered the girl in me...I am definitely still all tomboy but I can also throw on a cute skirt (with my combat and look too cute...I just am who I am...

    • profile image

      Mackenzie 3 years ago

      Growing up, I was a tomboy but I was pretty much forced to be girly. When we bought clothes I would try and convince my parents to buy the boys clothes but I was always met with "lets go to the girls section for your clothes" it was so annoying. I'm 23 and just now learning how to be myself instead of who my parents wanted me to be. If I have a daughter, she will be free to be. (Let her be herself)

    • Cherylann Mollan profile image

      Cherylann Mollan 4 years ago from India

      My oh my! Do I love this article, or do I love this article? It was really nice, and reassuring to come across. I never really bothered about being a tomboy till I realized that most guys go ga-ga over the girly girl type. I'm the kind they'll hang out with, and that's about it. I'm still in the phase of trying to spruce up my look a bit and not abuse too often. But, it's difficult!

    • profile image

      Tomboy 4 years ago

      I'm quite the tomboy and never done any girly things. I'm 17 at the moment and my friends are all girly, well, apart from the several boys of course. I've got a really deep voice, wear a guy's clothing, game with my brothers' friends when they come over and shock them at the headshots I manage on Halo, but I don't climb trees. I'd love to, and I'm generally climbing over banisters or walking along chairs in the classroom unsupervised, but my parents think it was too dangerous so I've never done it. I might though, one day hah.

      To be honest I've been a tomboy as long as I know and always loved it. I'd love to run and play tig..

    • profile image

      zuzana 4 years ago

      Im Tomboy.I couldn't find myself for 31 years and I didn't understand people around.Im married and I have got one child.I have man job as a salesman only men colleagues.I know, as a girl Im very pretty and I use to put make up on.Pretty Tomboy is a very dangerous combination.I wanted boys as my friends and they fancied me as a lover.I couldn't understand why my husband is sutch a jealous.Now, when I found myself I started enjoy myself.No I do not wear throusers,I started to wear skirts.Its good to look like woman and think as a man...

    • profile image

      Zuzana 4 years ago

      Im tomboy

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Thank you for stopping by, macteacher. Yes, this is a good place to find kindred spirits. I haven't hubbed for a while, hence my late reply. But I hope to be hubbing again in the near future, and I will pop over to your place and read some of your work.


    • macteacher profile image

      Wendy Golden 5 years ago from New York

      My poor mother tried everything: Ballet lessons, tap dancing lessons, piano lessons, and some occasional threats of charm school, (whatever that is), nothing worked, nothing. She finally conceded defeat and learned to accept me for me. I do wear a little makeup to work, and I can clean up well when I have to, but for the most part my androgyny is very obvious. I gotta be me. Thanks for the great hub. It's good to know there are other kindred spirits on HubPages.

    • profile image

      StormyBeech 5 years ago

      Awww yeah ;) T0mboys rule.

    • profile image

      Jules 6 years ago

      I can relate to that, too...

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      It doesn't really sound as though you want to be a girly-girl Mamabay? I wouldn't want to be one, it just wouldn't suit me at all. If you did find someone when you were being girly, it's not likely that they'd really be compatible with you, because they wouldn't know the real you - it's not really about clothes though, it's about how you come across, and whether you're happy and confident in your own skin. I don't think people are really so black and white - I have girly times, but I'm still always a tomboy underneath - we've all got elements of both really, and lots of shades of grey in between.

      I know what you mean about having someone around all the time - I'm quite a loner really, and aside from my kids, prefer my own company the best :) I like not having to answer to anyone, or to have to consider another person's needs before I can decide what I want to do for the day. Kids fit into my selfish way of thinking, because they just go along with whatever I decide. Grown ups are not so easy to lead!

      Good luck with finding a companion who doesn't get on your nerves! :) I think that being comfortable with who you are, or changing that if you're not comfortable with it, is something that has to happen first. When you love yourself, it's much easier for someone else to love you. That's the theory anyway!


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      Mamabay 6 years ago

      I felt like I just read a bio on me! I'm such a tomboy because I grew up in the country with 2 older brothers and not any girls around! I do get made fun if a lot and sometimes called a boy. I envy the girly girls and how they seem to get everything. I tried to be girly but I just can't do it. My teacher even dressed me up a few times and I enjoyed the attention. I even started to date but I just didn't like being around someone all the time and having to talk to them all the time! Sometimes I feel I'll never find anyone! And you said usually a tom-boy doesn't just turn into a girly girl at a certain age yet everyone seems to tell me I will.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Thanks hcc. Nice of you to stop by and comment :)


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      Elena@LessIsHealthy 6 years ago

      I am not a tomboy, but I like the story.

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Thank you both :) Tomboys rule!

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 7 years ago from Houston, TX.

      This was very nice. I grew up with a lot of tomboys and it was really cool.

    • daydreamer13 profile image

      daydreamer13 7 years ago

      Can totally relate!

    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Ha! I have three sons, so I don't suppose I'll ever really be a girl.

      I will be reading the hubs of all of the people I am following, starting from tomorrow - so I hope you don't feel like you're commenting on all of my hubs, without receiving anything in return from me!

    • onegoodwoman profile image

      onegoodwoman 7 years ago from A small southern town

      Were you supposed to be my sister?

      It took 3 daughters to teach me

      'how to be a girl'~~