October 17th, 2008

casual old

The Plight of Tomboys

I was browsing Novelist and plugged in the keyword 'tomboy'. (After having little luck with 'crossdress*' 'intersex' and 'asexual'.) Books about tomboys are probably fun and interesting, right? Maybe they're kicking butt with a sword, or piloting a spaceship, or at least climbing trees and playing baseball.

Well, no.. apparently the vast majority of them are trying to turn into girly girls to catch a boy.

The Tomboy - Mary Lou Rich
"When tomboy Allie Daltry turns in her britches for a fancy dress, she discovers that she can turn the head of every gentleman in town,[...]"

High School Debut - Kazune Kawahara (manga)
"Haruna, a tomboy, is determined to change her stripes when she enters high school, but is sadly lacking in fashion or social sense, so she recruits cute upperclassman Yo to instruct her on how to make herself more appealing to boys."

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There is the occasional exception. Which makes each of them stand out and almost makes me want to read them just because they're not in the mold of the above. Here's one example:

The Adventures of Flash Jackson - William Kowalski
"Sixteen-year-old Haley "Flash Jackson" Boomhauer, tomboy extraordinaire, confined to her room after breaking her leg, unexpectedly finds her boredom allieviated [sic] by her eccentric grandmother who teaches her the magical arts."

Maybe it's something about the word 'tomboy' that implies it's a state she needs to grow out of and become a 'real' girl, preferably with a boy or a man by the end of the story. Do I need to look for other keywords? Butch? Strong? Spunky? Sporty?

Halleluia for the tomboy 'extraordinaire', Flash Jackson, who, from the evidence of the term, rejoices in who she is.

Maybe all the tomboys who aren't in need of reforming just aren't using that term, or any term. Maybe they're just doing their thing and any book summary about them just calls them girl and gets on with it. Though I do wonder where all the bi and lesbian tomboys went.

I'll leave you with one last thought. Look at the (presumed) gender of the writers in the examples I quoted above. It reminds me that my favorite series featuring a girl right now is the Jacky Faber books by Louis A. Meyer.