AfterEllen Podcast: Where Have All the Tomboys Gone?

Lisa Selin Davis, Tomboy

On this week’s podcast we spoke with Lisa Selin Davis, the author of Tomboy, a book that examines the rise and fall of gender nonconformity in girls. It used to be that tomboys, little girls who roughhoused, played outside, were bold and brave were common. But nowadays the pink and blue boxes children are shuffled into are more restrictive than ever. We spoke about why  waves of feminism are met with backlash, and how this backlash manifests in stricter gender roles for children. Davis points out that during periods of successful feminist activism, we see far greater social acceptance for boys and girls to play with each other, and with toys or in activities that are traditionally associated more with one sex than the other.

So what’s this mean for girls today? What’s with all the pink legos and hyper-sexualized Bratz dolls? Are tomboys really boys? Are they all going to grow up to be lesbians? Can parents chill on the gender reveals and just let their kids be free? We cover all of this and a lot more hot takes in this episode, which you can listen to below, or anywhere you usually stream your podcasts.

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One Comment

  1. I agree with the guest. Translating the problem brought out by outdated & narrow sex-based behavioral rules (or occupation-based rules, actually) into a problem of “wrong gender” only serves to strengthen stereotypes (and people’s mental laziness). It reduces the freedom of women and men that feminism was meant to achieve. People walk away with no idea how in fact we all should have been free to choose our lifestyles.
    All people who grow hair can have long and/or short hair.
    All people who have legs can wear trousers and/or skirts.
    All people who have limbs and brains can play with a doll and/or a football.
    Anyone’s style preferences could have nothing to do with their genital types.

    1. For women (or men) who hate their reproductive organs:
    It’s just like many people who do not like their noses, lips, heights, or family backgrounds, etc. Go and get plastic surgeries if you can afford. Live with it if that’s too expensive. Changing the body’s hidden parts is not more consequential to strangers than changing facial appearances. Genital type only matters for mating activity.
    2. For woman who want to be “man” only because they want to be allowed to do something or being treated some way that women are not traditionally allowed to:
    Just allow them. Just tell them “girls CAN do whatever they want. Girls CAN have short hair. Girls CAN hate skirts. We will TRAIN OURSELVES to treat women with respect just like men. It’s the society that needs some mental plastic surgeries.”

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