Learning and Exploring

Those Tom Boy, Strong Girl, Alpha Female Stereotypes

I tend to relate to a lot of them tomboys in books like Jo and her counterpart Skye Penderwick in terms of temperament. But I’m not a tomboy, I relate to the Megs in terms of domesticity and to the Amys and Annes in terms of taste. It gets kind of irritating to read about all the sweet domestic and/or traditional girls. Sorry, I wasn’t born sweet and mild, the best you will get is somewhat toned down. I’ve been told to tone down, be quiet, stop expressing so much frequently by family members. I think I scare people outside my family.

Another similar stereotype is that of the loud (often tomboy) women being brave and courageous. Brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud doesn’t equal strong or brave. Some of us are just programmed to be brassy, sassy, rebellious, and loud. And I’m not programmed brave, like at. all. K, maybe if you are usually a meek, people-pleaser, it IS brave to stand up and firmly say, “please, respect me.” But um, I have have to tone down, calm down to say that. And loudness can come from fear as well as just innate personality.

Often either explicit or implicitly, these characters and/or their authors state that domesticity equals a level of anti-intellectualism or lack of intelligence. Again, NO. I can love both and do, thank-you-very-much. How one earth does liking homemaking have anything to do with the intelligence and interests I was born with?

I was raised in a homeschooling sphere that emphasized domesticity, crafts, etc. for girls. I never understood why so many rebelled against them, I took it personally, until I found more people with different backgrounds who like creating things. I learned of them term “maker.” These people like me just LOVE handicrafts, historical fashion, fiber, making things, its part of our DNA.

Another fallacy involves being girly and sporty or interested in physical activity (climbing trees, fencing, hunting, you name it). You can love to get completely dolled up and also love to play sports and get sweaty. I think this one is older and maybe it has mostly been killed by now? Or maybe it is because I’m more in the volleyball world because of my sisters and volleyball girls don’t follow this stereotype.

I think in books this is still in force with the heroine who disdains all “frivolous” dress and fuss and goes gallivanting off with her horse and sword. She can like both. Disliking or like frills doesn’t mean you are physically weak or strong.

Here is to the loud, brassy, girly, domestic shrews. Oh, wait, what?!



  • McKayla

    You have a lot of very valid points here. Good post.
    And I agree. I’m quite loud and rebellious myself, and adding that to the fact that I’m 5’9, do martial arts, and have a deep voice (for a female), I can kind of see why people find me intimidating.
    I think society needs to get used to the idea that just because a woman likes clothes, domestic work, and the like, it doesn’t mean she’s stupid or weak. Men and women are just different (though I’m not too good at domestic work myself. Not because I’m a tomboy, but because I am not good at it).
    Anything else would just be repeating what I already said, so, like I said, great post.

    • Livia Rose

      I’ve got a higher voice, so I’m probably shrill (and probably fit the shrew stereotype!).

      I think part of it is some women who like those things DON’T like anything else deeper or more intellectual and society (self included) likes to group interests together (which is a fallacy). So then everyone assumes everyone else is like that.

    • Livia Rose

      I was pretty proud of myself when I think I can be funny. I’m probably the least funny of the family, lol.

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