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.”
“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?