How To Stop Your Daughter From Being A Tomboy

Actress Jennifer Morrison in a suit.

Ever since I wrote a post about being a tomboy, the search term ‘how to stop your daughter from being a tomboy’ has been appearing on an almost daily basis in my statistics.

My advice for all you mothers out there who want to change their tomboy daughters into a more feminine one.  Don’t.  Don’t even try it.

You are the one who needs changing, not your daughter.  So, your daughter has a different style to you.  She doesn’t like wearing dresses or skirts.  So what? Your feminine sense of style is not the only one that girls should adhere to.  It works for you, you love it, but your daughter is not you. Your daughter is her own person with her own sense of style.  Learn to embrace it, instead of fighting it.  If only to reduce the number of fights between you and your daughter and to get your relationship with her back to a good place.

My mother struggled and fought with me throughout most of my life because I am a tomboy and hate anything resembling a dress, a skirt or anything even remotely feminine.  She even went as far as stealing my jeans so I would be forced to wear a skirt.  It did not change my sense of style but it most certainly damaged our relationship.  My mother only came to accept my fashion choices when I came out as lesbian and only because she had a antiquated idea of what a lesbian was and how they dressed.  And let me say here for all you mothers freaking out – no being a tomboy does not mean your daughter is a lesbian.  I just happened to be both.  Your daughter can be the most feminine girl out there and still be a lesbian.

Let this fight go.  Accept your daughter’s sense of style.  Work with her in choosing outfits that she likes and feels comfortable in that also suit the occasion.  A suit can look fantastic on a woman and is perfectly acceptable for a formal event. She is not going to change her sense of style because you hate it.  All you are going to accomplish is making your daughter resent you.  It is not worth it over what in the end is a stupid fight about clothes.

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34 thoughts on “How To Stop Your Daughter From Being A Tomboy

  1. I couldn´t agree more! While my parents never attempted to change me, my Grandmother did. She would constantly complain about my overalls as a little girl, or baggy sweatshirts, men´s button down oxfords, and sports jerseys.
    I mean given the polar opposite of short skirts and skimpy shirts…one would think tomboy would be a safer choice.

  2. Well put! My mum never fought it – probably because she was a Tom Boy too. My mum has been happily married to my dad for over thirty years now. She used to play baseball and climb trees and scrape her knees. She was roughty toughty.

    I hate sports but loved to explore and it was easier to do in jeans than in a skirt. I’m also happily married, to a woman. But my taste in clothes doesn’t reflect my sexuality. It just reflects the fact that I feel comfortable in trousers and can’t be bothered to deal with make up because it takes too long and I’d rather spend my money on other stuff.

    But I like dressing up sometimes and I’m not adamantly against dresses. Nor do I have a complex around it. And whilst my mum and I don’t always get on, I do love her immensely because never once has she ever even attempted to tell me to be anyone other than myself.

    • I feel so sorry for you. Look up Gender Identity Disorder and how to treat it. You seem to suffer from it- no offence. Disorders are bad, but its not our fault. No one is perfect, but working towards it never hurt anyone.

  3. This really is great advice. Where were you 40 some odd years ago? My Mother could have used just such a chat. I was so bad that I quit Girl Scouts because it meant that I would need to wear a dress. Nope.

    After all of this time my Mother has commented that I was sooo much easier to raise than my sisters who were always begging for the newest fashion, a new dress for this/that event, and so much money on hair and makeup.

  4. Totally agree.

    My wife is someone who I would affectionately refer to as a Tomboy. She has never worn makeup a day in her life, she only wears a dress for a formal party or a wedding, etc (and only if she feels like it, other times she’s just as happy wearing dress pants and a nice top)…. and is at ease with herself and her style. She grew up playing softball and watching her dad play baseball, loves the outdoors, sports, etc.

    This in no way diminishes how beautiful and sexy she is, and in no way changes how attracted I am to her.

    More people should be comfortable in their own skins, and parents should not be trying to force their kids into something they are not.

  5. Posts like this make me really thankful that my parents always accepted how we wanted to dress as children. Knowing they had/have that level of love and respect for us has carried us a long way in life. I’m pretty shocked you get so many hits on this; I didn’t think there was so much stigma in being a tomboy. That’s sad.

  6. Pingback: 1970′s Tomboy « ganderingdreams

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  8. I agree my mom tore all me hoodies and made me wear a cardigan to do I felt so uncomfortable she made me wear a skirt too I hate those things I have many tomboy friends and have some guy friends I don’t think I have the beauty to be a Gurly I ain’t very pretty and not very ugly but guys don’t wanna go out with me so ya cool suit btw

  9. Wow this article is great ^_^
    I actually found this cause I was searching how to encourage your daughter to be a tomboy.
    Girls who are tomboys seem smarter and funnier. They don’t give into fashion trends and, from my experience, have a better sense of humor and are just smarter than girly girls, sorry.
    But after reading this I realized this thought process just as bad only in reverse. I should let my daughter grow into her own, even if that means being girly girl. I refuse to let her become a ditzy fashion whore, though.

  10. I’m a 15-year-old tomboy, straight, but at the same time I love the arts and have been writing poetry since the day I was born. I’m big fan of Kristen Stewart, Avril Lavigne, Emma Watson Beyonce, Audrey Hepburn, Nicole Kidman, Ciara and Dakota Fanning <33. I'm a bit sensitive and shy at first too and my mom is always comparing me to other girls. I'm only agressive in sports though. What do I do? Especially with the clothes issue, I've already told her this is just what I like. Even my aunts bring me down :(

    • I’m really sorry you are going through this and I wish I had a magical solution that would make it all better. The only thing I can recommend is to stay true to who you are and not to give in to ‘peer pressure’ from your family. Since you are so gifted with poetry perhaps writing a poem to your mother, which explain how it makes you feel when your mother and aunts compare you to other girls and criticise your clothing choices, might make her see things from your point of view. Stay strong.

  11. except it IS bad when a girl acts like a man (wait for the tomboy rage!). If we were meant to be men, God would have given us the parts to go along with the personality. Why so many women are terrified to be feminine but embrace acting like men (pretty dang anti-feminist and pointless as well) is beyond me. I wish more women would stand up and teach their daughters it’s ok and GOOD to be modest, gentle, strong ladies, even though it isn’t “cool” to be. what is appealing to anyone in any way about girl or woman who is loud, promiscuous, has a crude men’s sense of humor, aggressive, etc.? And before you say it, yes, these are tomboy/male traits. If you have none of these, you probably aren’t a real tomboy.

    I think that’s the problem- people are confused what tomboy means. it does NOT mean you hate pink, shopping, whatever. plenty of girly girls do too. just like loving sports or beer does not make you a tomboy (ever notice how girly so many female athletes are?). it is a mindset, not what your hobbies and dislikes are (though that is a big contribution).

    on another note, why are people so quick to defend and praise tomboys andd so quick to dismiss and mock girly girls? This is so sexist (not saying you are, I mean generally). Why do people (mostly women- mostly feminazis) hate girly girls so much?

    thanks for reading.

    • I don’t think anyone was praising loud, crude, promiscuous, and dismissing or mocking what you call “girly girls”.

      I think you’ve lost the plot, and missed the point of the post. The point was for it to be ok being who you are, and not conforming to what others think you should be.

      Who are you to judge? Who decides what is feminine, or what makes a strong, graceful, beautiful woman? You? Me? Who? If we are talking about what god gave us, then girls regardless of personality traits are one of those things that god gave us… why would you want to change that?

      I appreciate your opinion, and you certainly have every right to it. But your opinion is no more or less important than anyone else’s here, and what you are talking about is exactly what I detest, making girls conform to what other people think they should be.

    • Point being that people should not be forced to be something they’re not. Boy or Girl, “Tomboy” or “Girly Girl”. Be comfortable and proud of who you are. Celebrate differences, don’t eradicate them.

      How would you feel Jo if someone told you they didn’t like who you were and wanted you to change so that you’d fit into someone elses stereotype?

    • Jo, I agree with ChrisR; your comment is ignorant and judgmental. I’m sure no one hates girly girls; they just don’t like being one. I’ve honestly been a huge tomboy to the core most of my life (and I always hated things like dresses, skirts, tiaras, dolls and tea parties because they’re boring to the max) and your comment offends me; it doesn’t matter who the girls decide to be; in fact, whether they’re girly girls or tomboys, they should be proud to be who they are. you really shouldn’t force them to conform into what society thinks they should be, so how about if we just start accepting them for who they choose to be instead of who you wish they were? What’s different is always beautiful.

    • Forgive me Jo, but your comment is offensive. Yes, I am a female. But I was raised by my father and brother, and the only women around me were verbally abusive and bad role models. I decided a very long time ago that I was basically a guy, so pointing out that “God would have given us the parts to go along with the personality” is incredibly offensive. I may have been born a female, but in most aspects I’m boyish. So what if I’m loud? Promiscuous is absolutely off, that’s more of a “girly girl” trait. There’s nothing wrong with being aggressive, which you would know if your viewpoint was from this century. You sound like my “mother”, and frankly, that’s not okay. I learned everything I know from my father, who isn’t so judgmental as to call me a “fat dyke” like my mom calls me. I was taught to be who I am, who I want to be. I was taught that being who I am is okay, and that I don’t need to be a boy to be boyish. That’s how I live with myself, not by judging people and telling them that if they aren’t how you want them to be, they’re wrong. You’ve got a thing or two to learn about humanity.

  12. This did NOT answer the question. When I ask a question, I want an answer. I don’t want people to try to convince me to think differently or evade the answer.

      • Well the writer is trying to evade the answer in a sense because instead of answering the question she just told us not to do it which is not answering.

        • That’s not really true; the writer is not trying to evade the answer nor did she tell us not to answer questions; she’s just telling us to accept daughters for who they are instead of who you wish they were and not to force them to conform into what society thinks they should be.

  13. Well put. I am a lesbian and love all things high femme. False eyelashes,liquid liners, Mani pedi days, and too much spent at lush stores making myself feel lux. Personal style has nothing to
    Do with sexuality. Ps I would never be
    Caught dead in ” comfortable shoes”

  14. When I ask a question I want an actual answer not someone telling me not to. You said that you can’t change a daughter’s opinion. Well, I can’t change mine either, and I hate tomboys no matter what.

    • Are you Kiley, Jo, or Girl? I ask this simply because it is my assumption that I am going to be addressing one and the same person.

      You’re coming off as some kind of troll, however I will actually take your question seriously, although your assertion that you “hate tomboys no matter what”, is exactly the attitude the original writer was trying to get past.

      You assert that people praise Tomboys and mock Girly-girls? Well, I am here to tell you that I have personally seen the exact opposite behaviour more times than I like to recount.

      The question was most pointedly WHY? Well, of course that is hard to answer because you would have to poll a grouping of people, and analyze the results. I can tell you only MY feelings on the topic, just as you’ve given us YOUR feelings on the topic.

      My personal feeling on the topic is that individuals come in many shades of gender, with their own sense of style… some more prevalent one way or the other. Another core belief of mine is who am I to judge which is right and which is wrong?

      The only thing that I’ve never liked about Girly-girls is what I call the “dumbing down” that I’ve seen. It is almost as though they have been programmed to pander to men by appearing to be stupid, so that men will feel smarter. Giggle giggle, wink wink, downturned eyes, always submissive, laughing too strongly at everything he says, never expressing an opinion, hoping that the guy will like her… argh, this kind of behaviour has always irritated me greatly.

      This is the only Girly-girl effect which has consistently bothered me. But once again, I am not going to judge these ladies. I say that if a man needs this kind of behaviour to think that a woman is desirable, then his needs are being met as well. More power to them both.

      If you’re feeling that Girly-girls are being mocked, may I just say that you need to change your environment? There are plenty of people who believe as you do, and hate Tomboys… go hang out on their forums.

      If you are simply a troll trying to irritate people on an anonymous forum, may I suggest that you also change your environment and stay away from this one?

      IMHO people should just be allowed to reflect the personal style with which they are most comfortable. If that means that your daughter feels better in jeans and a T-shirt rather than in stiletto heels… let it go. If your daughter loves pink and will wear nothing else, let her go. If your son is desperate to learn ballet, why try to dissuade the next possible Nureyev? If your 10 year old daughter spends more time taking the lawnmower apart and putting it back together with improvements, why not see it as a chance for her to excel in the mechanical arts?

      Once again, in my experience, trying to push them the opposite way will most likely simply build resentment – on all sides concerned.

    • Troll, much? You really shouldn’t hate tomboys because, first of all, hate is a very strong word; second of all, tomboys are human beings too. I’m a tomboy myself and your comment about tomboys really offends me to the core. Seriously, who are you to judge? Who decides what is feminine? Well, really, who decides what makes a graceful, strong, beautiful woman? You? Me? Who? Honestly, Kiley/Jo/Girl, how would you like that is someone doesn’t like who you were and wants you to change so that you’d end up fitting into someone else’s stereotype? Well, sorry, but I have to agree with SnookerInBerlin. Plus, how about if you start accepting people (tomboy or girly-girl) for who they are instead of who you wish they were? Stop trying to force them to conform into what you think they should be.

  15. I may respond to this more with a post of my own but wanted to comment here as well. What a wonderful point you make here. I cannot begin to describe how I was made to feel horrible for being a tomboy.

  16. I’m 15 year old tomboy. I think boys are really stupid and immature. My fav color is green, the blue, then yellow. this is such a great thing for moms to read :) (p.s. My mom tried to change me 4 a while and I hated it. The one time I wore a dress I tore it. Don’t try to change us!!!!)

  17. Well, people are never happy. When I was young a was a bit of a tomboy and I overheard my friends badmouthing me because of this. Later on, I started dressing a bit mor girly and wearing make up, and again I was critized by this. It is really silly how women are always in the losing side, no matter what we do. The same happens regarding motherhood. If you work, you are selfish because it seems you don’t care enough for your children. If you stay at home, then you are lazy and dependent. The important thing is to stay true to yourself, as some people already said above,

  18. I’ve been fighting with my mum about this for my entire life. She’d compare me to other girls everyday and it made be feel like I wasn’t accepted for who I really am. She tried to change me so much that one day it just teared her down. Seeing my mum cry gives me a terrible feeling in my heart, and made me feel like a failure as a daughter, so I slowly changed for her. I grew up as a tomboy, and still am at heart.
    Maybe I can finally be who I am when I leave to be independent.

  19. FACT: girls don’t look good in mens suits, overalls, work shirts, sweatshirts, etc. Actually, nobody looks good in sweatshirt or sweatpants. Ever.

    FACT: dresses and heels accentuate and flatter feminine forms. Even if you don’t like pink you can still look like a girl.

    Why would you want to appear unattractive? Are you making a political point? Is it because you never felt as pretty as some other girls? In reality there is always somebody smarter or better looking, but dressing well, having pride in your appearance, staying healthy, and learning to smile and walk like a woman will put you head and shoulders above 90% of American women today.

    Take it from a man — a woman’s attractiveness does not come down to her mark on a hotness scale. It actually comes down to her poise, the way she carries herself, and her feminine glow. A feminine girls laughter sounds like music and her walk is a dance. Her weakness is powerful and can melt the steel heart of a man determined toward violence.

    The world needs feminine ladies. And youthful feelings of inadequacy shouldn’t be the cause of their dearth.

    • Ah, yes. Clearly the only reason a woman would ever choose to wear something (heaven forbid) comfortable, is because she feels inadequate about herself and her body; it can’t possibly be because she wants to be comfortable.

      I’m just curious to know why you judge a women entirely by how she dresses. Who’s to say that a girl who wears baggy shorts and tshirts can’t melt your heart of steel? Who’s to say the girl dressed in a gorgeous dress and heels is “delicate”? Really, why does it even matter how a girl acts or dresses or talks? It can’t possibly be harming you in any way.

      FACT: Being beautiful and poised isn’t about what you wear, or how weak you are, or how “feminine” you are. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin, and showing people who you are.

    • FACT: Girls look very attractive in suits.
      And, why should a woman have to pander to your desires of what is attractive or not? It’s not our duty to look good for men, to bat our eyelashes and make you feel smart. That’s not my job and if you think it is, you need to grow up and get a trophy wife or whatever to make you feel less like an idiot.

  20. Fact: the girl I like is a tomboy, never Wears dresses or heels or makeup or all that junk, and I appreciate it. So, my life dissproves your “fact” that all girls look bad in baggy clothes. If you only look for a girl based on if she wears a dress to accentuate her figure, you are the very embodiment of what I and so many others truly despise. I’m 15, and I think your probably older than me, but about 150 years younger in your outlook on woman.

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