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Tomboy. Stereotypes Collection. Moscas de Colores.

The time for persons has come.

The English term Tomboy, although normally related to lesbians and can be found explained as young masculine lesbian, actually refers to a distinct characteristic of sexuality, like is the gender expression. And in this way it has been used since the 16th century, when the first written reference appears.

The origin of the word Tomboy.

The word is composed of the terms Tom + boy. The first part, Tom-, works as a reinforcement of masculine, since the word Tom was used from the late 14th century as a generic nickname for men and, from there, to refer to masculine issues. The second part, -boy, serves to indicate the age range corresponding to childhood or youth. So, Tomboy began to be used to categorize especially masculine and tough boys (1550). It is from this first meaning with which the semantic leap is produced and starts to be used with girls who prefer activities, appearance and boy attitude, of the alleged feminine (1590).

The ephemeral Eternal feminine.

John George Brown The Tomboy 170 260At that time the female sex must fulfill a strict code of conduct which limited their existence, that’s why the mere fact that a little girl would climb onto a wooden fence, made her deserving the label, as we can see in the painting of John George Brown of 1873 titled "The Tomboy".

The label Tomboy, from its beginnings, has maintained its gender vigilance function, that is, controlling that the gender expression of girls remained feminine, regardless of what is considered feminine or masculine at each moment, and from the label it has generated an image, an idea, a stereotype that has also changed with the times. Thus, starting from the feminine stereotype and the label Tomboy, is created the stereotype of what is not a girl, adding and removing features according to each time.

Tomboyism and lesbianism.

In the 19th century in the United States, the panorama began to change by the hand of a healthy lifestyle, that was incompatible with what the good girls had to do at that time, in a world where physical exercise (and clothing appropriate to do so, that exposed the body of women), was reserved for men. Thus, the healthy tomboyism began its social fitting, and from the recommended physical exercise and human rights development, were opening doors to other spheres of life, masculine until now, such as non-reproductive sex life.

As we have noted on other occasions, there were no words for lesbians in the English language before 20’s, and this can be explained because, although lesbian sex was known, especially for the enjoyment of men, was not conceived that a woman could feel erotic and emotional inclination for another woman, and not because it was for another woman, but because it was not conceived that women had sexual life outside procreation. This, in addition to revealing what it meant to be a woman until then, indicates the time frame in which the common and erroneous association between Tomboyism and lesbianism appears.

This association with lesbians is done by the simplistic argument of "if she do boy things, perhaps she is a lesbian". In this way, Tomboy becomes a stereotype, a negative reference, allowed during childhood, but that should be avoided when youth arrives, time when repression and punishment by the environment comes, because it is in youth when sexual relationships starts.

Tomboy. From the stereotype to reality.

But this sin of social repression carries its own punishment, because from this undesirable stereotype for sanctimonious society, it has created a new identity, Tomboy girls. Too bad! tough!, life is unfair! If you wanted the girls were feminine what has been achieved is that the stereotype generate trend and popularity worldwide, thus increasing sexual diversity with a new universe of Tom identities, using gender roles to pulverize them, and which are basically the following:

Girl Tomboy: dresses like a girl, performs boy activities and behaves like a boy. A clear example of this type is the movies and videogames famous character, the archaeologist Lara Croft of Tomb Rider. (Should we say Tom Rider? :)

Girly Tomboy: dresses like a boy, looks like a boy and behaves like a girl. An example of this type could be the actress Ellen Page in one of his public appearances.

Boy Tomboy: dresses like a boy, behaves like a boy and do boy things. This type is usually called Tomboy. Examples of this type could be the Swedish model Erika Linder and Thai Toms.

Neutral Tomboy: may have an almost androgynous aesthetic, combining masculine with feminine clothes, having male and female behaviors and performing male and female activities.

These categories indicate that, as in everything that has to do with sexuality, is a matter of degree, which also may be changing over time. But, although they are categories or subtypes do not work like traditional categories that are fixed and exclusive, but are fluid.

In almost five centuries we have gone from a label, an insult, that intended to separate men and women in watertight compartments defined and exclusive, creating for this stereotypes and references that was need to avoid, to a new Tomboy identity in which everything is more fluid and gradual. A cocktail in which has been shaking a plastic sexuality that generates diversity, the human rights that allow its expression, the legitimate demands of women who were not allowed to do "men things", the sexual revolution that gave sexuality to women, and communication and relationship capability unparalleled in our history, reducing loneliness and allows diffusion of trends.

Thus, the Tomboy phenomenon currently has a great importance because it shows that the boundaries between the masculine and the feminine are not determined (see also the metrosexual and its antidote the hipster) and not only by fad questions. In a world with an increasing pansexual trend, one Tomboy girl like we illustrate today, could be attractive not only to lesbians girls and hererosexual boys, but also to gays.

The amputation of self-definition is over, the time for persons has come.

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