Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tomboy... No More

Kristen Hatch's piece, Little Butches: Tomboys in Hollywood Film, discusses the evolution of the traditional tomboy image in Hollywood movies. According to the writer, the image of tomboys in Hollywood has evolved from a representation of immaturity in young women to a reaffirmation of heteronomativity in our society. Hatch argues that the image of tomboys in Hollywood was used as a representation of sexual immaturity and childhood. The author also discusses the gradual transformation of Hollywood's tomboy into a 'woman' who embraces femininity and heteronormativity is so assured that it serves as as a symbol of the "disciplining of gender and desire" (70).

As I was reading this piece, I found myself relating to the metamorphic process of some of the characters Hatch discusses. I was definitely a tomboy when I was younger. The age gap between myself and my sisters made it almost impossible for us to relate to each other. Instead, I hung out with my male cousins and I adopted their mannerisms over time. I even began to wear my cousin's clothes because it just didn't seem practical to me to try and play with the boys in my 'girl clothes.' Although I do not remember ever having a desire to actually be a boy, I do remember always feeling a lot more comfortable wearing basketball shorts and t-shirts, putting my hair into a ponytail and playing soccer with my male cousins. I was not a big fan of the dolls my parents bought me, but I loved my SEGA and I loved playing Sonic and Mortal Combat video games. I loved running around and climbing trees and I absolutely hated it when my mom would make me play with my girl cousins because I thought sitting around playing with dolls was boring. At the time, I didn't see anything wrong with this. I didn't want to be a boy and I loved the Powderpuff girls.

As I got older, however, my feminine side became more noticeable. I went through a phase when I was about 14 when I wore pink every single day of the week. I didn't do it as a way to declare my femininity, I just became obsessed with the color for some reason. I started fixing my hair a lot more often and wearing a lot more skirts as opposed to pants. Although my outward appearance became more feminine, I still retained a lot of the masculine mannerisms I had adopted from my male cousins. I still played/watched a lot of soccer, I still played video games, I still hung out with the boys, and my mom always commented on my 'boyish-mindset.' Although I have gradually become increasingly feminine, in the traditional sense of the word, it is apparent that I still retain a lot of the more traditional male characteristics in my mannerism, my tendency to cuss like a sailor, my assertiveness, my loudness, etc. I still love to watch sports, I'm still highly competitive and a part of one of the most aggressive women's flag football teams at Denison as an offensive line-woman (and I proudly rock my pink cleats on the field!). All of these things still mark me as a tomboy in my family's eyes, but to me they're simply a part of my personality and I fully accept and embrace that about myself.

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