Where Are The Tomboys?

Tomboy: A young girl who likes to play with the boys as a peer rather than as a “princess”.

What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice,
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of*.

* Tomboys excepted.

I like to go to Venice Beach, California to watch the skateboarders at the skateboard park. The skateboard park is a large cement bowl with various ramps and slopes here and there. I also like to watch the roller skaters nearby. I admire athletic feats of grace.

Although I was a formidable weight lifter throughout my twenties and thirties, I’m not particularly athletically coordinated. A vision defect rendered me more of a nerd than a tomboy. However, weight lifting suited me just fine. I still have a bit of a “physique” even if various life-changing events have curtailed the practice for now. I am slow and clumsy at things that smaller girls do with grace but I can open jars, carry my own luggage, and wrestle a full-sized billy goat, for example.

My sister was a tomboy and was good at all the sorts of things that I like to watch other people do. Nowadays however she confines her athletic feats to whatever avatars do in video games. Then as now, she’s one of the boys.

When we were kids, my father assembled a set of custom “monkey bars” for purposes of his own athletic development. Fortunately for us girls, he also made it fairly kid-friendly. Although we moved every two to three years, he would break it down and reassemble it at each new home until we didn’t have enough of a backyard for it. The presence of the gym conferred instant neighborhood popularity on my sister. It was large enough that it would gather a crowd just for the assembly and pretty soon kids were asking their parents if they could come to our backyard and play.

Whereas I would slowly plod up the climbing section or swing on the tire, my sister would avail herself of all the features. She would work her way across the horizontal ladder using her hands to propel her with her body swinging like a monkey below. There were also dual bars for the same purpose in which two kids at a time could leg wrestle for an afternoon championship. A skyline ride was one of the quick ways down with or without an inflatable pool at the bottom to land in. There were also poles to slide down or climb up.

I would watch her and the boys and she was one of them. Perhaps the boys were a wee bit kinder to her than to each other but otherwise there was no difference. With her short pixie haircut her femaleness was hardly even apparent.

Rarely, neighborhood girls would come by but would generally get bored with my activities or be intimidated by my sister’s. Once in a while another tomboy would appear. Fortunately, when we were little kids, there was a sandbox for little girls to play in. Mostly, however, they sat around in clusters and talked or watched the other kids. I did plenty of watching myself however had little in common with most kids and therefore would usually just play by myself.

I do not recall a single instance where boys discouraged girls from any of the activities. Quite the opposite, actually. “Come on!” was an encouragement. This was the early ’60’s.

At the Venice Beach skateboard park today there are rarely any girls. It would seem to me that there are fewer tomboys in evidence anywhere now than there were way back then. I wonder why that is? I can guess.

The other day a friend of mine accompanied me to Venice Beach. She’s a feminist but otherwise a nice, intelligent, passionate, warm-hearted person who is very sensual, and heterosexual. We share a lot of beliefs when it comes to sexuality and sexual experimentation having both taken huge bites out of The Sexual Revolution. She harbors the Feminism delusion like so many other delusions of today but I like her and am hopeful that she’ll have her “moment of clarity” some day and perhaps I will be there to support her through it.

She knows that I am an anti-feminist and we sometimes have heated verbal exchanges. She becomes quite emotional and irrational during these exchanges, spitting out memorized rhetoric and pseudo-statistics vehemently. Soon however, she’ll stop abruptly for purposes of “preserving our friendship.” Therefore, I am uncertain whether I am making any headway at all with her.

At other times, she bemoans the lack of men our age who are both “masculine” and “literate”. Oddly, we share similar tastes in men. However, I am partnered and she is single which ought to say something. (I share.)

By coincidence, that morning, I explained to her a term she hadn’t heard before, namely, “Gender Feminist.”

A Gender Feminist is someone who believes that gender is a social construct and that our gender is essentially “a blank slate” until society and environment influence it. My friend listened carefully then announced that she wasn’t a Gender Feminist. I was relieved.

“Why aren’t there any girls?” she asked as we watched the skateboarders. She knew that she was treading on dangerous territory but perhaps this was a “teaching moment” for me because obviously we could both see that there were no girls skateboarding that afternoon.

“Because testosterone confers more risk tolerance,” I answered. “Some girls have higher testosterone and risk tolerance, but none today.”

She started to become agitated. I don’t remember exactly what she said but it was essentially some version of the notion that “girls are discouraged.”

I said:

“If a girl were to come I’m sure the boys would be gracious to her and probably more helpful to her than they would be to a boy they didn’t know.”

She was angry and somehow segued into the issue of sexual exploitation of girls. I’m still not sure how that came up except that perhaps all the rhetoric in her head came crashing together and erupted.

I stayed calm but stood my ground on that issue as well. I know a few things about the sex trades given that in my unusual life I find that I often have more in common with female sex workers than women of other stripes and have also known more than my share of male sex workers as well. Both demographics would include various sorts of “agents” as well as “providers”. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve met so many of them but rather a consequence of my life of travel and risk-seeking behavior (I probably have higher testosterone than most women). In any case, I’ve been educated on the dynamics and the feminist delusions of “sex trafficking”.

To counter my friend’s argument, I brought up some of the instances of corruption in the “Rescue” industry and explained that perhaps only a minority of prostitutes want to be “rescued” in that it is merely changing one sort of slavery for another. Moreover, poor people the world over have fewer choices in that choices come with prosperity not indoctrination by privileged women who have no ability to relate to what a poor woman (or man) has to deal with.

Predictably, my friend launched into her view of the general treatment of women and girls in The Third World. Here is my position on the subject:

Fluidity of sex roles is only possible in a prosperous society with the degree of prosperity determining that fluidity. A culture under siege will have more rigid sex roles for purpose of preserving the culture because women are designated population producers and men are designated population protectors. Men are called upon to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the women and children who are kept sequestered at home for their safety. This system is for survival purposes. This is a product of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in that unless basic security and prosperity is in place no amount of “education” will persuade individuals to risk their survival. It is like a state of war where any introduced ideology is liable to compound poverty and insecurity and moreover reduce the population. Any options beyond baby-making for a woman in such a society put her and her theoretical children at risk. Meanwhile, the lifespan of women exceeds that of men in every society and poor women don’t actually appreciate the impoverishment of their fathers, husbands, brothers, and sons by way of doubling the pool of available workers for all jobs and thereby lowering the value of labor.

My friend stopped the conversation, “for the sake of our friendship.”

I wonder if she realizes now just how much Gender Feminism has influenced her thinking. Probably not.

For the record, I believe that the reason there seem to be fewer tomboys today is largely due to Feminism. Specifically, feminist mothers mistakenly believe that their girls will be bullied if they play like boys, thereby transmitting their anxiety to them. Moreover, princess and celebrity culture is so strong it is practically unavoidable, compelling girls and young women to seek status over risk which is disruptive to the way that most boys play and otherwise making the girls less welcome. Fear of “The Patriarchy” and misogyny is an inhibiting rather than empowering factor for girls. I also suspect that the estrogenization of our world today (diet, plastics, etc.) affects girls as much as boys just differently. For example, it may contribute to avoidance of risk as well as obesity. The obsession with “safety” might channel more girls into “safe” athletics of a more regulated bent with Title IX one more way to keep athletically-minded girls with each other rather than with boys at unsupervised events. Perhaps there are other reasons why there seem to be fewer tomboys in evidence than when I was a child. Care to take a gander?

7 thoughts on “Where Are The Tomboys?

  1. As a lifetime skater (29 years on board so far) I would say your assessment of girls/women not skating due to the risks is pretty accurate. Over time, I have met the occasional skate betty and they have always been encouraged. Most of the time though, they (broads) are just happy to sit and watch.

    Your friends’ assertion that they are discouraged by males from getting involved could not be further from the truth.

    Here are a couple of clips of Lizzie Armanto. She has really pushed the boundaries of womens’ skating over the last few years.

  2. I think/feel you’re on to something important about “risk avoidance”.AND, also about the degradation of the environment probably affecting the production of testosterone. It’s anecdotal from me, but I am aware of more articles on the increasing infertility of couples wanting to make children. This could be due, also, to other, psychological, stressors.

    Back to risk-avoidance and its opposite, risk-seeking. In my own case I don’t feel I’m an alpha male, although my wife thinks so. I’m average in size and weight and strength–and am near-sighted. Also, I’m interested in the fine arts and tend toward geekiness. However, I am a risk-taker (less so now that I’m approaching the beginning of my 79th year). When younger, I was easily bored, longed for experience, was unable to resist jumping into the unknown. I’ve been beat up and down, (literally and figuratively), but never out. I’ve been married three times, with five children from the first two, and plenty of women to associate with, after I gained some confidence by age 30, lasting through age 60 when I finally settled down. I still don’t feel like an Alpha Male, but I’ll say that the desire, the need, and the ability to take risk seems an important aspect of maleness.

    As a sidelight, I admire the entrepreneurial spirit in people. These are natural risk-takers, although not all will be successful. Currently, I know several young women (female in social behavior) who have this spirit. I see them as exemplars for others. Perhaps female entrepreneurs are the new Alphas?

    • The definition of an “Alpha Male” varies according to audience and funding. The Pick-Up Artists have a different definition than the Evolutionary Psychologists who have a different definition than the Animal Behaviorists. According to the PUA’s, an “Alpha” gets all the girls by definition. Evolutionary Psychologists are overly informed by Dawkins to define “Alpha” by default as essentially the top of the White Anglo Saxon Protestant food chain. Depending on the group, the “Alpha” could be defined differently. For animal behaviorists, the bias that human beings are more like Apes and Chipanzees than other animals colors the conclusions. Whereas, I believe that WASP/British Empire values makes human beings more like ants and bees than mammals with the queen essentially being “the alpha” and the gangbang of males competing in terms of sperm motility (or whatever you call that which comes out of a male insect), with the “alpha” being he with the fastest sperm.

      There is also the matter of gynocentrism which essentially puts the female at the center of the social equation which in turn effects evolution, biology, and social behavior. A state of gynocentrism goes back at least 500 years with others saying that it goes back to the dawn of civilization itself in that if it weren’t for gynocentrism there wouldn’t be a need for civilization in the first place because men would hunt and women would stay near the cave and forage.

      Christianity magnified rather than cancelled this effect with the idealized Madonna who is “unsullied” by human masculine intervention.

      In my view, the “alpha male” is the male who dominates all the other males whether intentionally or by popular vote. The “alpha female” is the female who dominates all the other females. These two do not necessarily mate with each other.

      The alpha male who marries an alpha female may be pussy-whipped at home but that doesn’t necessarily affect his alpha status with the other males.

      The effect of this dominance may or may not affect reproduction because after all, the alpha male may be too tired for sex after all that fighting, or have weird tastes or otherwise be influenced by his mother who may have given him the tools (psychologically, nutritionally, and genetically) to be the dominant male in the first place but given him a fetish for less fertile females, for example. So it is complicated and too easily simplified into a matter of libido because libido can actually get in the way of dominance and that includes dominance over women.

      Meanwhile, the tricky beta males (by my definition) may actually be more reproductively successful. To be the alpha male isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be in that he is the capo del capo most likely to be assassinated!

      The guy hiding out in the woods alone is by definition not alpha unless a group of men find him and beg him to be their leader. He might not want to be their leader but may decide altruistically to become one and is thereby the new alpha. Alpha also tends to have an age limit particularly if there are other contenders biding their time, lifting weights, or whatever, waiting for that moment of vulnerability. Whereas a born seducer, for example, does his best to avoid those sorts of frays because it would sap his energy for what he really likes. However, if such a man frequently goes out in public with his harem, men who admire that may decide that he is the alpha.

      As for testosterone helping risk tolerance, that’s generally known by Behaviorists. It’s a feedback loop however in that the more risk and danger–assuming nutrition and genetics are on board–the more testosterone produced. Whereas a more estrogenic type might produce cortisol instead in response to that stress. Insulin would appear to be a major influence because it is anabolic and thereby competes with testosterone or can cause testosterone to modify into its more estrogen-like forms. Glucose metabolism is also a factor.

      In theory, the alpha male of a carnivorous species gets the best cuts of meat and thereby is practically ketogenic in his metabolism. That’s a different metabolic process than a ruminant such as a bull or goat for instance. Similarly, pack animals are going to have different hormonal influences than harem animals with the leader of a harem not necessarily dominant over that harem.

      The alpha male might even be an esthetic if that’s the quality which the other males admire.

      More about our estrogenic environment: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303720701004300

      • Very informative and thought provoking. I’ll read this a few more times to get it all into my skull in the most useful configuration. I wonder why it is that we have created these appellations, “Alpha Male” and “Alpha Female”, and seemed to have given the imagined ideal specimens superior status. It’s like giving fealty to a warrior king who keeps the enemy at bay and provides/protects sufficiently for the rest of us to get our stuff done and babies made. It’s a big job and, if done well, amounts to being a slave to one’s subjects. I’ve been in leadership positions in organizations,(appointed, not elected); it’s demanding work. My personality type, according to the Myers-Briggs typology, is to be a second in command, adviser to the leader (INTJ). I have been such and am more comfortable in it. Mainly I just want to get the objective attained. But, if the top guy can’t do it, then I chafe and want to do it myself. So, to get a point here: that of the subject of inborn nature (alluded/implicit in your writing here). The “Natural Leader” in the M-B Typology is the ENTJ, of which there are around 2-5% in the population (http://www.capt.org/mbti-assessment/estimated-frequencies.htm). Nature seems to want to have this proportion of, let us call them “Alphas”, in the population. That’s all. I just wanted to open another window to this discussion.

      • Hey there, fellow INTJ. No wonder you like my blog. LOL.

        I so agree about the slavery of being a leader. I don’t begrudge the good ones their perks and am more than happy to do the detail work behind the scenes.

        That’s probably true about ENTJ’s. I think that there are also other types that make good Alphas of *little* pyramids.

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