From Kit Kellar in A League of Their Own, to Megan in Bridesmaids

Within the Keywords for Children’s Literature chapter on the term Tomboy, it is shown the terms definition has been altered many times throughout history. The term, which dates back to 1545, is now defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: a girl who behaves in a manner usually considered boyish.

It is no secret Josephine, more commonly known as Jo March, is the tomboy of her family. Immediately in chapter one of Little Women it was stated, “It’s bad enough to be a girl, any-way, when I like boy’s games, and work and manners. I can’t get over my disappointment in not being a boy.” Within the first chapter Jo is even called a “tom-boy” by Meg! Through the book Jo is constantly reminded, and spoke at, by Meg saying things such as, “you should remember that you are a young lady” and “you are old enough to leave off boyish tricks.” As stated above, the term tomboy has been altered and manipulated many different ways throughout history. Perhaps in 1868, the time period in which Little Women was placed, tomboy was not a favorable term to be labeled. However, is it really that bad to be labeled as a tomboy? Without the mergence of tomboys in history how would things be today?

From Kit Kellar in A League of Their Own, to Megan in Bridesmaids, the role of a tomboy is now accepted and sometimes viewed as an admirable trait by others. One major popular activity that has been greatly influenced by tomboys across the world is sports. Young women were able to challenge traditional gender roles. Even enacting the Title IX law in 1972, which required schools to receive federal funds to provide women with equal opportunity to compete in sports. The role of being a tomboy has allowed women to feel more empowered and strong when trying to achieve their goals. For example, women throughout history have broken the mold in terms of careers for “women.” Fashion, throughout history, has also been adapted to suit those labeled as tomboys as well. It is unlikely that without tomboys throughout history, women’s roles today would be how they are. Without tomboys in history would I be viewed funny typing this article in public while wearing sweatpants, my hair in a ponytail, and a baggy sweatshirt? So to Jo, I would say keep being who you are! It is women like Jo that paved the way for us women today to be able to express ourselves and act the way we do.

Kit Kellermegan

2 thoughts on “From Kit Kellar in A League of Their Own, to Megan in Bridesmaids”

  1. I like how you shed some light on how far the term “tomboy” has come, and how now it is such a normal thing to come by. Personally, I am very happy that it has come this far because it would have been extremely hard on me growing up and going through high school, and even now if it were frowned upon for women to participate in sports because it’s such a huge part of my life.

  2. Mariah, I love that you compared both of these characters in both of these movies to Jo, as I love both of these movies. I think that Kit’s tomboyish ways in “A League of Their Own” isn’t as accepted as Megan’s are in Bridesmaids, because in the time that “A League of Their Own” was set, women were expected to act a certain way. There is even as scene during one of the baseball games where one of the head guys tells Dottie to act more dainty and lady like on the field, so she catches a pop up and does the splits at the same time. Whereas Megan’s tomboyish ways are much more accepted and nobody really says anything of (except when she burps in the dress story, but that wasn’t really her fault anyway, lol). Being an athlete here at UW on the softball team, I relate to what you say about tomboys in sports. I definitely wear sweatpants and pony tail to class everyday, and feel comfortable doing so.

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