Tomboys Promoting Girl Power

The keyword I choose to analyze is the word tomboy. The keywords essay by Michelle Ann Abate gives multiple interpretations of what the definition of tomboy is. The first definition Abate gives is that a tomboy is a “bold and immodest woman” or “a girl who behaves like a spirited or boisterous boy; a wild romping girl.” She then goes onto apply this definition in a way that fits in today’s society, saying that a tomboy is a girl that participates in boyish activities. It is believed that only through these typical “boyish behavior,” girls learn to develop characteristics such as strength, independence, competence, bravery and self-confidence. This interpretation of the phrase tomboy is found in one of the course readings, “A Girl Named Jack” by Jacqueline Woodson. This story is filled with gender stereotypes such as the pink blanket for a baby girl and the mother not wanting to give her daughter a “boy’s name.” However, the one that relates to the term tomboy comes from the father. The father wants to name his daughter Jack, a common boys name. He wants to do this because he thinks it will allow to grows up strong, fearless, and independent, all attributes he believes are associated only with males. This short story relates to the term tomboy because all of the positive, strong characteristics the father wants his daughter to have are only believed to be obtained by influence of a male name.

Personally, I do not necessarily agree with classifying a woman as a tomboys because it is essentially attributing all of their power and independence to the the male sex when, in reality, woman can possess those qualities too. However, there are many strong willed woman and girls in our readings and in popular culture today that could be classified as a tomboy because of their courage and strength. One example in today’s popular culture is the Marvel superhero franchise. The Marvel franchise has been trying to adapt to today’s culture and started incorporating more female superheroes. It started with Black Widow, a woman that played more of a supporting role in her first appearance, with no actual superpowers. Since then, the studio has evolved and now has even recently debuted the first woman lead superhero movie, Captain Marvel. In the most recent installment of the Avengers movie franchise, “Avengers Endgame”, there is one specific seen in the final battle that relates to this common ideas associated with being a tomboy. In the midst of the battle, we find all of the woman involved in the marvel universe, now totaling about to 10 woman, grouped together, running into battle with no fear. These women would be considered tomboys in the sense of Abete’s definition due to their bravery, strength, and confidence. Their actions, behaviors and abilities were once seen as unattainable for woman. However, in today’s evolving society, these “boyish” actions are seen as empowering and inspiring to woman all over the world!

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