Growing up, I was a tomboy. I still am. According to HuffPost, the definition of tomboys is – young girls who tend to conform to traditionally masculine characteristics and habits. I love the person I grew up to be, and this definitely played a part in that. I never had a problem with who I was and am. Society, on the other hand, did.
Throughout my life, people assumed things about me based on my appearance or the way I acted. We, as humans, label people and put them in boxes. The fact that I don’t mind dirt, that I don’t like wearing dresses or skirts, or anything else for that matter, don’t say anything about me other than the things themselves.
I remember this one specific talk I had with my mother when I was young. I asked her if she would describe me as a tomboy. She asked me what I meant by that. I replied: “I like a lot of things that boys like. I also like other things that girls like, but mostly what boys like.”
My mother’s response is one I remember to this day ad inspires me. She said: “I don’t think there is a term that defines you. I think that you are you and you have a lot of things that you like and interest you. These things aren’t ‘boy things’ or ‘girls things’, but rather things that you like and make you who you are.”
I believe this is such an important message and one that is more relevant than ever. We made such progress as a society, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t much more room for growth. We have to stop categorizing people. To understand that there aren’t ‘boy things’ and ‘girl things’, but rather different interests each of us have that make us who we are.
By calling a girl tomboy, we imply that because she doesn’t conform to girl related cultural stereotypes she isn’t only not really a girl, but somehow a kind of a boy. By using this phrase we allow society to dictate that there is a right way of being a girl, and a wrong way of being a girl. And if you fall in the latter, you’re actually more of a boy. And that’s messed up.
We limit people to a narrow definition, to a strict set of rules built from stereotypes, we put them in a box. What we should do is let them expand their horizons, to dare, to be who they are.
So, yeah, I was a tomboy, I was one of the boys, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.