You Might Be A Tomboy But You Should Still Look Like A Girl

By: Phil Cassell
Copyright ©2005

Well, that is according to internet today.  In two different places, I’ve read two different articles that have basically said, it is fine to call yourself a tomboy but for god sake wear some feminine clothes and make-up.  My response to that – fuck off.

The first article was a letter sent in to Slate’s Dear Prudence which I read cause I love a good juicy advice column.  The reader, a self-described tomboy, was asking Prudence’s advice on what she should do after her boyfriend told her that she should make an effort to wear some make-up and buy some more feminine clothes.  What did Prudence do, but agree with the loser boyfriend.  Apparently according to Prudence for a young woman to get anywhere professionally she must wear make-up and dress professionally.  I agree with dressing professionally if your job demands it and a tomboy (or any female) can certainly do that by investing in a good suit, the clothes do not have to be feminine, but make-up? Really?  You are going to get nowhere in your job if you don’t make up your face?  What utter bullshit!

The next article I stumbled across was The Tomboy’s Guide To Make Up.  Now if this was an article about how girls who don’t wear make up should apply it when the situation dictates they must, I would have no problem.  But the whole crux of the article was ‘you can go and do your boy things, but you have to look fabulous whilst doing so’.  Again, fuck off. Who said that smearing cosmetics across your face makes you look fabulous??  I mean I think we’ve all seen those girls who think orange is a natural skin colour.  They certainly do not look fabulous.

If you want to wear make-up and feminine clothes, then go for it, but I hate this crap saying that you should if you want to succeed professionally or look good then you must be wearing ‘nice’ feminine clothes and at least some mascara and lipstick. No you don’t. Wear the clothes that suit you, what you feel comfortable in and what the situation requires.  As for make-up, besides being in a wedding party, no one is required to wear the stuff.  Wear it if it makes you feel good, but if it makes you feel like clown, then don’t. You will look a thousand times better if you are happy with what you are wearing and how you look, then if you are deeply uncomfortable trying to conform to what society thinks a girl, even a tomboy, should wear.

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12 thoughts on “You Might Be A Tomboy But You Should Still Look Like A Girl

  1. My daughter is something of a tomboy and I would never try to change that but what I think it boils down to is being happy in your own skin.

  2. So much for being an individual, the thought alone makes my skin crawl, that too be a real girl or to get anywhere as a female you have to wear make-up.
    I have 4 kids and always wanted them to be their own self not some image perceived by society or some silly guide lines such as, how to be a tomboy with make-up. Why can’t kids be kids until they for themselves decide, how they want to appear to the people around them. At least my older three have grown up being who they want to be not, who they ought to be as that is what society tells us they should be. Number 4 is still trying to find her own way, and no matter what it is I will be there all the way to swat stupid people and rules out of her way.

  3. I agree with everything you have said here! I hate this thought that a woman *has* to dress a certain way or ensure she’s wearing make up to succeed. Unfortunately, as much as times have changed, this is still true in some professional circles and I think it’s eradicating these BS standards that should be brought to the forefront more and more.

  4. I have a very dear friend who has recently been subject to discrimination at the work place on this very subject. Because the idea is a lack of make-up implies a lack of professionalism. Shouldn’t a good job speak for itself? Since when does a layer of pore clogging gunk equate to doing a good job?

    I find it ridiculous and am happy to say I am one girl who, Tom Boy or not, has never worn make-up beyond the very brief (I can count on one hand) dabbling into thick black eye liner and black lipstick for shock value as a disgruntled teen.

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  6. “I mean I think we’ve all seen those girls who think orange is a natural skin colour. They certainly do not look fabulous.”


    On one hand, I agree with your post – the assumption that a woman needs makeup in order to “look her best” is not really rooted in reality. Makeup has a long (and interesting!) history and the asthetic of wearing makeup has shifted throughout it, so making an assumption such as “women should X” is meaningless.

    On the other hand, the statement you made (which I quoted above) is really quite surprising and seperate from your post, in the sense that you have decided to pass judgement on another’s sense of asthetics, and perpetrating the same behavior which you oppose in the rest of the post.

    Women (or men) who wear “Orange” is normally the result of tanning beds, using lots of bronzer or having liquid foundation oxidize (it kind of creeps up on you after a few hours of wear). An extreme example of this is the Japanese Yamanba fashion, but we see quite a bit of this in the western world, since the tanned look has been “in” for about a decade or two.

    Saying “Wear it if it makes you feel good, but if it makes you feel like clown, then don’t” and then turning around to mock those who choose to wear heavy makeup is strange considering the tone of the rest of your post. Clearly these ladies (and gentlemen) who enjoy wearing lots of makeup (even if it IS orange) do not feel like clowns, so your comment above is irrelevant, adds nothing to the post and if you don’t mind me being blunt – exposes a kind of double-standard in your opinion.

    • You are right, it is a harsh judgement call and I guess if women want to look orange then that is their choice. However, I see these woman as being manipulated by popular culture and trying to look like what popular culture tells them they should look like – tanned. They are the antithesis of the point I was trying to make is that you shouldn’t bow to popular culture’s vision of the beauty standard. If popular culture wasn’t telling them that orange is an acceptable skin colour, would they choose it for themselves?

      • That’s not really a question that can be answered, since there are so many factors which come into play – a person’s personal sense of asthetics as well as social norms – and each of us is entitled to decide how we want to present ourselves. You gave the above example of wearing a suit in a business setting, and this is no different – businesswear is a social norm in certain settings, would you choose to wear a suit to a meeting of “populat culture” didn’t disctate that this kind of attire is suitable for that kind of setting? No, probably not.

        It’s not a 1:1 comparison, of course, but my point is that there’s nothing inherently wrong with following a social trend if you feel comfortable and happy with it. You seem to be under the opinion that following it _at all_ is deplorable (“the point I was trying to make is that you shouldn’t bow to popular culture’s vision of the beauty standard”), yet you still wear a suit or jeans.

        I shave my underarms and realize this is a modern beauty standard, and am well aware that if I would have been born 100 years ago, I probably wouldn’t think to shave them. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest, and it shouldn’t bother you that people make the decision to follow a social norm if they enjoy it.

        Absolutely fight the message that women NEED to wear makeup to be beautiful, don’t confuse this with sending the false message that women SHOULDN’T wear (any certain kind of) makeup if it makes them feel happy and good about themselves. Women should feel happy and good about themselves without the makeup, but there’s nothing wrong with wearing it, enjoying it, and having fun with it.

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  9. “But You Should Still Look Like A Girl” DUMBEST THING. I’VE EVER HEARD! And anyone who agrees with these people or who try to counter-argue her article is an idiot! SHE’S RIGHT! YOU’RE WRONG! DEAL WITH IT!

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