Like many girls who grew up and experienced their teenage years in the naughties, I was a proud tomboy. Part of it was because I rejected anything feminine and looked down on ‘girly girls’ and another big part of it was because I crave comfort over anything else. So I looked down on dresses and wearing pink and embraced tracksuit bottoms and anything baggy. This sort of led me into an emo phase as well, when I didn’t want to look like a ‘roadman’ but still continued on to rejecting anything girly.
I have no idea why I’m really writing about it, or if anyone gives a shit about this topic, but I have lots of younger sisters and seeing them go through similar phases kind of makes me nostalgic. Although, because they have me as an older sister they can’t get away with rejecting femininity and praising masculinity as I will call them out on that behaviour in a way I wished any adult did with me when I was growing up.
A big part of my tomboy phase came from hating being a girl, or the connotations that came with it. Through my many experiences in different schools and variations of bullying I never wanted to appear weak, so I adopted an alpha female personality, and with alphas comes a rejection of femininity. This led to me wanting to be more relatable to boys and eventually being described as ‘one of the boys’, which wasn’t bad, but it led to a lot of self rejection as I did want to be feminine at times, but this identity didn’t leave any room for that to happen.
Thankfully I grew up, made more friends and managed to widen my scope of my internal identity and that’s when I realised I could be both. So I allowed myself to dabble more in wearing makeup, and even dresses… although that didn’t last long, I do really enjoy comofort and at that point I didn’t have the self esteem to pull off dresses. Back to topic – through this I realised one important thing, identity is too complex to put ourselves into stupid boxes.
Also you don’t have to put down a group of people in order to feel comfortable about your own self.
I mainly realised that I am actually a really feminine person, I do enjoy girly things, pink and cute things, as well as loving comfort, black and mens clothing, so I just incorporate both into my style because fuck what society tells me I should conform to.
I realised a big reason my younger sisters tend to merge both masculine and feminine styles easily is because they grew up watching me do it like it was normal. They saw their older sister love video games, anime, wear makeup, wear black, trainers, boots and openly buy mens clothing at times. They weren’t exposed to the rigit constraints of society first, and when people told them how they should act their instinct was to tell them they’re wrong because the first thing they learned was girls can do whatever they want.
I’m lowkey jealous that I never got this treatment, but at the same time I’m happy they were exposed to this before society tried to tell them otherwise. It took me years and even as a 26 year old I’m still trying things that make me uncomfortable because I’m still battling against my own internalised nonsense.
Feminine identity is a struggle because it’s seen as weak by everyone, and in order to suceed we’re pushed to becoming more masculine, or at least trying to be, when in reality you can succeed regardless of how you are, it’s more about you competance, your drive and your willingness to learn!