Don’t Call Her A Tomboy

October 5, 2015

supergirlThe whole conversation started because I don’t like the word “tomboy.”

“Mommy,” my daughter Emilia said to me one day a few months ago, “I think that I’m a tomboy.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Because I like a lot of things that boys like. I like basketball and motorcycles. I like surfing.” She thought about that for a minute. “I mean, girls like surfing too and lots of sports. And I like other things that girls like, like dolls. But mostly I like things that boys like. And Story (her best friend) is a boy. So. I think I’m a tomboy.”

“I wouldn’t call you a tomboy, sweetie. I think that you’re you. And you like a lot of different things, and they’re not just ‘boy things’ or ‘girl things,’ they’re things that you like.”

“But you could call me a tomboy.”

“But I wouldn’t.”

“But if you did … ”

“I’ll just keep calling you Emilia.”

And that, I thought, was that. Conversation closed; no more talk of tomboys.

But then she asked me about it again, a few weeks later, after a friend (a girl) described her as a tomboy. And then a few weeks after that, she asked me what a “bad-ass” was. She had seen the word, underneath an Instagram photo of her in dirt bike gear, on my phone. And then just a few days later still, she asked me what Hilary Clinton is (“I think that she’s a bad-ass, Mommy.”) It wasn’t until we were well into a months-long conversation about all of these things that I realized we weren’t really talking about tomboys.

We were talking about feminism.

(Read more here. And #bantomboy)

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