Tomboyism: Another Unrecognized Prejudice This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Growing up, I have heard many stories about racism,sexism and other "isms." As a girl, I was always warned about sexism,sexual harassment and discrimination. No one ever warned me that being a tomboycould affect me in much the same way.

As a little girl, I was more contentplaying hockey or football with my brothers and sister than I was playing with aBarbie doll. I loved playing house and jumping rope while saying those littlerhymes, but when given a choice between tea parties and sports, sports alwayswon.

As we grew older, many tomboys were lost to make-up and beautymagazines. Fewer girls played sports; they started spending their afternoons onthe telephone. I enjoyed these things, too, and happily did both, until middleschool. I had just moved to town and quickly made friends, both male and female.I had the best of both worlds; the tomboy in me had guys to hang out with andtalk about sports while the girl in me had friends to talk about crusheswith.

One day a boy who lived down the street pushed by me in the hall andsaid, "Get out of my way, Mini-man." At first I was shocked. I evenlaughed, it was such a dumb name, but that was where it started. From that dayon, Joe referred to me only as Mini-man. I didn't really care, I figured he wasjust mad because I beat him in a race in gym class, but soon Joe's friendsstarted using the name, too.

Just a month into eighth grade, every guy inmy class, except my friends, was calling me Mini-man. I continued to brush itoff, but gradually it bothered me more and more. I was lucky to have greatfriends who stood up for me - I don't know if I would have survived without them- but I often wondered why the boys were so insecure and why a girl who was goodat sports was such a threat to "manhood" that she had to beteased.

It never got much worse than that. There was an occasional eggsplattered across the driveway (easily traceable to Joe) and there was the timeour mailbox was smashed in by a pumpkin ... but that doesn't matter now. Isurvived middle school, and somehow kept my sanity. I attend a great high schoolwhere young women are celebrated and encouraged. I'm more confident now, but Ioften wonder what causes hatred of tomboys.

First and foremost, Iblame society. From a young age, girls see only beautiful, stick-thin women inmagazines which speak of nothing but make-up, the latest styles and how to get aboyfriend. Also, inappropriate behavior by men, adolescent or otherwise, is oftenbrushed off as "boys will be boys." I commend sports programs forgirls. Without sports, I don't think I could have retained my confidence throughmiddle school.

Will this teasing of tomboys ever end? Sadly, I don't thinkso, and when I see eleven-year-old girls reading about how to get a boyfriend, myfears are only confirmed. So, while I hope tomboys will be accepted, I don't seeit happening. How do I know? I woke up Monday morning to an egg-splattereddriveway. Joe had struck again.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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