Monday, February 20, 2012

My Time as a Tomboy

So, after reading "Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film", I got to thinking about my own Tomboy phase which occurred through the second and third grades.

Hatch discusses a few possibilities in which the Tomboy phase was used in film through the 50s and the 70s. It seems to me that Tomboys were mostly used as a means of symbolizing prepubescence and girlhood innocence as well as a face for feminism.

Personally, my phase was a little different. I clearly remember wearing black turtle necks with my short haircut (similar to my style now) and playing cops and robbers with the boys in my class on the jungle gym along side my girlfriends. But the moment that any of the boys paid more attention to one of my girlfriends, I was super duper jealous. This means that my Tomboy phase was simply a means of meeting boys and flirting with them without seeming like I actually like-liked them (cause we all know that was icky).

This made me think further.

My favorite quote from this reading is this: "gender is not a product of clothing and hair style alone but is predicated on a set of behaviors that bolsters a system of male dominance and female submission" (79). Which got me thinking about my Tomboy phase in general. Could the Tomboy phase be a normal, socially constructed part of femininity? It seems like it definitely could be.

Here are my reasons. We discussed gender as a social construct, an act that is performed based on our desire to be normal. Yes, the Tomboy phase, according to Hatch, is a part of growing up for young girls before they understand sexual desire, but that wasn't the case for me or my girlfriends in elementary school. No, we didn't understand what sex was yet but the reason we played cops and robbers with the boys was because we inherently wanted their attention. We had crushes. So for me and my friends, and I understand that it wasn't the case for everyone else, our Tomboy phase was the beginning of our desire.

Does this make the Tomboy phase a necessary part of our performed femininity? Let's Discuss.

Also....I understand my experience in terms of Hatch's theory that the Tomboy phase was simply a phase before young women discover heterosexual desire but I do not understand its connection to masculine domesticity. That is something that I would like to discuss further with the class.

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