Gender Stereotypes and Your Not So Average Tom Boy

I was lying in bed this morning reading some MMO Melting Pot articles when one got me thinking. Or rather one of the posts linked did, by Mataoka, and what she said about being a Tom Boy AND a girly girl.

Let me show you my last two purchases.

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And

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So a computer game and a handbag. Pretty much sums up my life.

From a young age I was a bit of a Tom Boy. I hated wearing skirts, and would tramp up and down the local countryside with two of my best friends, who were both boys (one of whom was G, who I’m now marrying), climbing trees and getting covered in mud exploring. But at the same time I loved My Little Pony, and would play with them for hours with another of my best friends, a girl.

Fast forward to now and it’s pretty much the same. I love computer games, and horror movies, and caving, and I loathe Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives, give me Supernatural or CSI any day. But I also love pretty jewellery, I own far too many handbags, I like expensive perfume, I buy dresses and I still love My Little Pony. All mixed in with the Goth stuff, but that’s not relevant to this post.

I’ve had my fair share if being judged by men for being a girl and playing computer games. But that’s been written about a few times. I’m going to write about the other side of things.

Being judged negatively by other women for liking ‘manly’ things. Because other women can be just as sexist as men.

Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the case with every single woman out there. I have female friends quite accepting of my Tom Boy side. And not all of them are Tom Boys themselves!

But I’ve had women sneer at me for liking computer games. I’ve been calling a “f***ing lesbian” because of it, and accused of being a slut because the only reason I show interest in games is to get men to like me. More often though I am judged not worthy of attention by them though, or someone to be humoured. This is usually by women I’ve worked with, though relatives and friends of friends have reacted the same way. And in a few, thankfully rare, cases, it’s come from total strangers.

One example: At an old workplace I turned up at a get together in a dress. I’d really made an effort, it was a special ‘do’, and I got quite a few compliments. And then a condescending comment of “Oh, you’ve tried so hard to be normal! You look great!” from a female coworker. Kind of ruined the night.

And it’s been the same in most places I have worked, because I like things perceived to be ‘male’, my interest in things ‘female’ is treated as a thing of ridicule by some. Sexist? Damn straight it is.

What hope do women have for equality if women themselves enforce gender stereotypes? Why CAN’T a woman like gaming without being feminine as well? Why does one aspect of our lives prejudice others against us in this day and age?

“A woman can be whatever she wants” shouldn’t be followed with “But she’s a weirdo if she’s _______”.

So sadly, in some way men and women are equal. Equally ignorant.

When I have kids, the will be free to be whoever they chose with my full support. That’s a promise.

2 responses to “Gender Stereotypes and Your Not So Average Tom Boy

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