The tomboy is not gone. She's simply not called a tomboy anymore.
Jodi Bryson: A few decades ago, the label "tomboy" was a badge of honor. Not a girlie-girl? You were a tomboy. Now we can reflect that the phrase was always pejorative. There was only one way for girls to be, and it didn't involve playing anything besides dolls or house while in knee socks and a dress. If you liked to climb trees or build a cool hideout, you weren't a girl; you were a variation of a boy.
A double edge when it comes to a female gender role? Surprise, surprise.
This story about the concept of today's real girls and yesterday's label out of St. Paul's Star Tribune has earned our nod of approval. As we all know, the muscle behind Dora the Explorer is launching a new version of the character, and she's trading her adventures in the wilderness for discovering the best deal on skinny jeans at the mall.
The new Dora comes out in Fall '09, and grooming and fashion are replacing her inquisitiveness and gumption. What a shame.
The beloved original Dora is a great example of the today's girl. Our unanimated daughters daily navigate through a concrete jungle of school buildings and playgrounds, and they are every minute as busy as the boys. This doesn't make them tomboys; this makes them active girls. Being physical, strong, even fearless is girl turf as much as it's boy turf. Note to everyone: Don't call them tomboys. Call them girls.
Growing up, we always considered ourselves tomboys and, very often, bragged about it. Now we see that what we were bragging about was not our status as girl-boys; we were bragging about our interests, strengths, and courage to do what we wanted to do.
We'd love to know if you were a "tomboy" once upon a time, and what you think of the label today.