When asked if she was a tomboy, Corinne Desrosiers said, ‘Yes, in every way.’
In this generation, gender identification has started at a much younger age. Parents are becoming more aware, encouraging and supportive of their children’s sexual orientation.
Parents are also redefining the terms that label their children, especially girls, like the word “tomboy.” Some believe that names like tomboys confine children into specific gender roles.
According to Jennifer Baumgardner, publisher of the Feminist Press, the term tomboy does not feel present in today’s society, but is a more retro word, as a way of talking about a girl who likes boy things, as if boy things were better.
Florida Tech men’s lacrosse coach and father Ryan McAleavey disagrees.
“I think that we live in a world right now that is too politically correct, and I think that it’s a shame. I think that is just too over the top,” McAleavey said. “I mean, growing up in society when I was younger, that word was used a lot, and I had a lot of friends who were females that were tomboys who grew up into perfectly fine women.”
Instead of using the word tomboy to describe a girl who wants to play sports and wear boy clothes, liberals are labeling these children as ‘gender-nonconformists’ or gender-expansive,” Marissa Meltzer wrote for the New York Times. These phrases are meant for people to accept and honor the girls’ behavior rather than condemning it.
“I think those terms are hysterical and very PC,” Desrosiers said. “I think that tomboy’s a term that is never really going to go to out of style, and I don’t feel like it would be a bad thing if my daughter grew up and she was a tomboy.”
Rachel Simmons, author of “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence,” writes that a tomboy is a girl who ignores the unwritten rules of girlhood and femininity and who seems to have an unnatural level of unself-consciousness in the face of powerful gender norms. A tomboy is a girl who freely and bravely takes on challenges and experiences and ventures into places girls are not supposed to go.
These types of girls are prevalent in literary works such as “Little Women,” “Harriet the Spy” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
Today, children’s books are promoting gender-nonconformity, like “Jacob’s New Dress.” These books are meant to teach children it is okay to be who they are.
Target announced in Aug. 2015 that they would no longer be dividing sections such as toys, home and entertainment by gender.
Desrosiers said, “You know, to me it’s crazy that they had to make the classifications, that here’s your girl aisles and your boy aisles. But it happened because of a different upbringing. Parents wanted the separation of the gender identity.”
This renovation includes removing references to gender, specifically in the toy aisles, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of their shelves, according to a company news release.
“I think that is just one of the crazy parts of our society nowadays, but if my girl wants Star Wars wrapping paper, she’s gonna to get it. And if my boy wants to wear pink, he can rock that out,” Desrosiers said.
While breaking down the gender barriers is important to some parents, others are not as concerned.
“Gender identification, I don’t have a grasp for it. I think that I can’t understand it because I don’t live with it. And, you know, I can’t relate to any of them,” McAleavey said. “It’s an agenda that I don’t think should be forced upon us like it is. I think that it is making people upset who are trying not to get involved and it’s being thrown in our faces.”
McAleavey is perfectly fine with his girls being referred to as tomboys. His girls want to dress up in princess dresses and then the next day put on their cleats and shin guards. He does not think that he has to worry about them coming to him for gender reassignment.
In the end, the parents want their kids to be happy.
“I think I would be very happy if I had a bunch of little tomboys” Desrosiers said. “It would mean that she wants to get out there and get dirty, and to me that’s all that matters.”