I recently read a post by my very good friend Alan who blogs at OMG It’s A Girl called ‘Don’t call me tomboy’. It’s a truly brilliant post about his little girl. What I particularly like about the post is the history behind the word ‘tomboy’ and that it actually dated back to the 16th century, which as Alan said is where it belongs, completly right as well.
Another blogger that I admire and have the utmost respect for is Simon who blogs at Man vs Pink. Simon has always written extensively about the gender stereotyping that is so prevalent towards our children in today’s society everywhere. Simon’s bio on Twitter says don’t call his daughter ‘Tomboy or Princess’. A quote that I think should be said to anybody that think it’s ok to use these terms when describing a girl.
This all got me thinking about my five year twin girls because at our local supermarket on Easter Monday, I was stunned by a comment by somebody we knew who works in education.
The twins, as I have written on many occasions are like chalk and cheese. In fact sometimes I wondered if they are twins at all because they can be so different.
We were doing a little bit of shopping at our local supermarket on Easter Monday and as I said when we bumped into a teachers aide that the girls had when they were in nursery. We talked about have you had a nice Easter etc and then she started talking to the girls and said to R you really are a Tomboy. At which point I nearly chewed half of my tongue off trying to stop myself saying anything because the chances are I would have been rude. She then turned to M and said and you are a princess. I had never experienced this before and to say I was irritated would be an understatement. I was actually really annoyed. I sort of wandered away and I have to be honest I expected better from somebody who works education.
So, R likes to wear a baseball cap. Actually she has a selection of them, some of them plain and some with superheroes on. She wears jeans and t-shirts that are usually found in the boys sections of supermarkets, but that’s another story. So that makes her a tomboy? But while we are on subject of supermarkets here is a picture of school uniforms at Asda. Some people may think it’s ok. I don’t why all the girls polo shirts have pretty collars. Also the outdated trend of blue for boys and pink for girls never seems to disappear in your local Asda. My twin girls would not be seen in those in a month of Sunday’s.
My other twin girl M was referred to as a princess which staggered me. She was dressed on this particular occasion almost the same as her sister. Well she certainly didn’t look like Cinderella to me on that day. Although there are days when she wanders around in a Moana dress all day.
Over the Easter break we found a new park not far from where we live. It has a zip-wire, spiders web climbing frame, as well as the usual slides and swings. Both the girls were loving the zip-wire and climbing everywhere. Which in our gender stereotyping world they would be considered boys activities. What nonsense! My girls love all of that and why not. Girls can climb too! It’s allowed and actually it’s very normal.
My twin girls are now five years old and they are more than aware that they are girls and they know the difference between boys and girls. So calling my daughter a tomboy is incredibly disrespectful and offensive. Let’s break the word in half ‘Tom’ is a name generally used as male name and ‘boy’, why refer to a girl as a boy when it’s plain to see she is a girl? If we reverse this to a boy would a parent be happy if there son who likes leggings, the colour pink and playing with dolls, Barbie girl? No, they would be livid I’m sure. It’s another example of society stereotyping our children. It is so ingrained in our society. I wonder at times if it will ever disappear. I genuinely hope it does, but I’m not holding my breath. The person who called R a tomboy wasn’t elderly which is normally the people that use this terminology. She was middle aged and it proves that this kind of behaviour is travelling down the generations.
My five year old twin girls are GIRLS. They know they are girls, but even so they love playing football, ballet, Barbie, climbing, in fact anything that is fun. They like having their hair platted or wearing their hair down with baseball caps. The reason is simple. They are children and after all fun is fun no matter what that is. Our children need to be stopped being put in categories by society. Otherwise we hold back this generation of the future of this world. All children, especially girls need to grow without any limitations on their expectations of what they want to achieve with their future. Having my twin girls labelled with ridiculous names that belong way back in the past will only hold back there aspirations for the future, and them being successful in their chosen careers.
Would love to know your thoughts.