She would probably be one of your buddies, talk football, gadgets, never worry about the colour of her nails, and yes, she would call all cool cars ‘machines.’
Forget about sitting with the girls to gossip about some Mrs A Know-it-all, she would rather walk up to the boys and help them ensnare that sought-after beauty instead. That is the girl that will never fit your typical category of refined, high-heeled girl. Society prefers to refer to them as tomboys the girls that will freely join you on a boys’ night out and won’t, even for a moment, feel out of place.
According to the Mcmillan dictionary, a tomboy is a girl who takes part in activities and games that people think are more suitable for boys. This includes wearing masculine clothes and at times behaving like them. Gender scholar Judith Halberstam states that while the defying of gender roles is often tolerated in young girls, adolescent girls who display masculine traits are often repressed or punished.
She observes that the ubiquity of traditionally female clothes, such as dresses, blouses and skirts, has declined in the Western world where it is generally no longer considered a male trait if such clothes are not worn by females. An increase in the popularity of women’s sporting events and other activities that were traditionally male-dominated has broadened tolerance and lessened the impact of tomboy as a pejorative term.
Over the years, tomboyish behaviour has been linked to lesbianism which has given such girls in society unwanted attention. A fraction of the society believes these girls don’t have feelings towards the opposite sex, or would rather look for ‘girly’ boys they can control. But ultimately, with or without stereotyping, tomboys are still female species and thus have their soft spots too.
Joan Mugide, 27, an employee at TransPaper in Kampala, has been down that road. Growing up as the last born, in a family of seven girls with a single mother, she must have missed all those fights with the boys or simply a male figure to look up to. Because of this, Mugide was much closer to boys than she was to girls. She admits that at first, it was about curiosity.
“I wanted to know what it was like talking and listening to boys,” she says.
But as she went on, Mugide realised boys actually understood her more than girls did, and that is when she made them her friends and also adopted their ways, talk, walk and the way they dressed. In a desperate search of a brother she never had, Mugide became one to her elder sisters.
With the stereotypes people throw at tomboys or ‘girlie men,’ it wasn’t all plain sailing for Mugide. Some guys were simply afraid of her since she had the ability to talk while looking you straight in the eye, and others of course thought she was really interested in other girls.
However, she was apparently not interested in relationships at the time. She enjoyed her role as a ‘wing-man’ for many of her male friends that were planning to hit on some unsuspecting girl. And even if some guy’s sights turned on her, none of the stuff they said could get to her.
“I knew exactly what guys think when they approach a girl. I would be judging whatever they say, the lies… ,” she notes.
Woman comes out:
Mugide says that tomboys are girls, though with bigger hearts. Like other girls, they have their delicate situations and get emotional too.
“The difference is that as a tomboy, you easily get over things,” Mugide, currently more girlie than before, says.
Most men think it is hard, or rather impossible, for a tomboy to fall in love, but Mugide disagrees. In her view, men try too much to impress.
“Well, some things work for some girls but totally off for a tomboy. When you come up to me to brag about your job and cars, I will just look at you,” she says.
Tomboys usually look for someone they easily ‘click’ with, says Mugide. They are not interested in your efforts to impress them because they already know your intentions.
“For tomboys, love stems from friendship,” she contends.
Her current boyfriend, at that time was indeed her best friend, before she realised they shared a lot in common. Both loved dancing and sports and he would often teach her how to take tequila shots, but above all, he never asked her to change. That is when the girl in her started coming up for air and the tomboy yielded to the feminine. She worked on having more lady-like looks, gave up the pants for dresses and the woman within her came to the fore.
In fact, Mugide believes a tomboy’s journey to living as a girl starts the day she falls in love. For many of them, by the time they get married, their husbands may never even get to know of their rougher past.
“Of course some traits stay,” she says. For instance, when she was once stuck in the middle of nowhere, she never for a moment imagined she needed to bother her boyfriend to come to her rescue.
“I am the kind of woman that knows how to figure out her own way,” she says, suddenly wearing a serious look.
She, however, dismisses notions suggesting that tomboys have no inclinations towards love or passion. Underneath the baggy jeans or shorts, she says, there is a woman that enjoys a sense of security or attention from the men. It is just that she won’t try to show it it is not in her DNA. She also totally rejects the myth that tomboys are prone to hanging out with and dating girlie men.
“We like real g men that will make us feel like women,” she asserts.
Mugide notes, though, that even when they can take a thump on the back, tomboys hate men who tend to think that they are not women and thus do not treat them as such.
“She may be able to talk back at you but that doesn’t mean you can behave like you do around male buddies. Respect her like a lady.”
Mugide considers men her best friends. In fact, she notes that when she has problems with her boyfriend today, she confides in other male friends.
“I have female friends, but we are not really so close. They are more like colleagues,” she says.
Many rules of relationships have been published, though none have been about dating tomboys. However, according to an article, Reasons why you should date a tomboy on mensxp.com, the reason some guys would date a tomboy is due, in part, to the fact that they are aenturous and never afraid to take to activities such as bar-hopping.
The writer goes on to note that tomboys are also rather straightforward.
“They don’t like to beat around the bush,” he says in the article.
She may not have attracted many suitors in her sneaker and shorts days, but Mugide doesn’t regret her lifestyle then. She says being a tomboy helped her understand womanhood and also helped build her confidence. As a woman that has been interacting with men, she says, you get to understand how men behave around women they wish to bed versus women they wish to wed.
“This helps you understand men like no woman can,” she notes.
Clad in a polka-dotted red and white dress, Mugide observes that men should never be intimidated by these girls since it is that affection that will bring the woman out of even the manliest tomboy.
“If you happen to date a tomboy, gradually allow her charisma to spread love, just like any other girl.”
Source : The Observer