Wednesday, November 28, 2007


My wife is upset because Ashli has officially categorized herself as a “Tomboy.”  I thought it was cute when she said it, but my wife completely freaked out.  She is afraid that being a tomboy will damage her socially for the rest of her life.  I am getting a lot of the blame for this as well.  My wife states that she was a Girly-Girl up until she was four and my wife started working nights and I had the kids alone during the evenings.  My wife has told me that I am not a good influence on them (yes, it does make me mad). 


I don’t see anything wrong with tomboys.  It could be a phase, or it could be that she just likes to be more rough and tumble.  Either way is fine with me.  As a father, the girly-girls are cute and cuddly, but a father doesn’t really bond with that type of girl.  The girly-girl, in my opinion, is more prone to Freudian or Oedipal thought processes because they feel that they are the princess and need a prince to save them.  At pre adolescence, that prince is often the father.  Yuck!  Ashli, doesn’t need saving; she wants to be the hero and do the saving. 


It isn’t as though she is an all out tomboy either.  She has grown to not like pink so much and she hates the Disney Princesses, but she still likes Hello Kitty and littlest pet shop and pretty much anything else that is cute.  She still wears dresses and skirts, but she does so while riding bikes or doing the monkey bars.  She loves playing catch with me.  She loves all animals, even reptiles and bugs.  Her favorite TV shows are Pokemon, Teen Titans, and Dr. Who (she has watched blink about 500 times).  She has made it clear that we are not to get her Barbie dolls for Christmas.  She wants a DS with Zelda.


I can’t seem to comfort my wife on this one.  I don’t understand where her fear is coming from.  I don’t think that I am even the right sex to understand where the fear is coming from.  I understand that she wants a girly-girl to dress up and make look pretty and that Ashli often has messed up hair from running and playing.  But, Ashli still loves to dress up and look pretty.  Maybe culturally I am unable to understand her fear.  I don’t know how tomboys are treated in Korea or if she even understands what the term implies.  I think she might consider it to mean transgendered.  That worries her.  She wants normal kids that grow up to be normal (yet exceptionally smart, beautiful, and successful) adults.  I think tomboys are normal and she does not.


When my wife told Ashli that she had to change, Ashli rebelled.  Ashli said that it was who she was and she couldn’t and didn’t want to change.  This turned into a shouting match between the two of them about being who you are.  Of course, my wife was mad at me for this.  I don’t do all that phony self esteem crap they sell in schools about being perfect just the way you are, but I do tell them that it is okay to be different from other kids.  I mean, they are half Korean, so they are always going to be different from other kids in school.  I have to teach them to be proud of their differences and not worry about what other people might say. 


I think my wife is taking the wrong track.  Instead of discouraging being a tomboy, she should encourage girly-girl behavior.  It would be as easy as having a make up party, or having her put on a fashion show.  I am sure there are other things she could do too.  My wife says I need to change the way I am around her to get her to change and that I shouldn’t be so male with her.  But, when Ashli has played dolls or Polly pocket with me in the past, I got noticeably bored really fast.  On the other hand when we wrestle in the living room it can go on for hours.  My wife doesn’t really play with the girls.  She is more concerned about education, so she does a lot of work with them.  If they want to play they have to do it on their own.


My wife doesn’t see it yet because she is so young, but Ally is following directly in Ashli’s footsteps.  She wants to be like her big sister.  She gets played with in a rough and tumble manner and watches her sisters Tae Kwon Do class.  If Ashli is wrestling with me, Ally jumps right in too.  Ally still loves princesses and pink, but how long before Ashli’s distaste for them rubs off.  Yes in a soon to be future, we have two tomboys and then my wife will really go crazy.

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grrrace said...

you need to change the font color. :)okay, as far as the actual content of your post, i'm not really sure where your wife is coming from. i am not a fan of girly girls and princesses, so i think it's great that they're tomboyish for now. maybe she thinks that tomboy = lesbian and she thinks that being a lesbian is bad? i don't know... i think that you're doing a great job as a dad. and i think it's also great that you spend so much time with them. they will know how to relate to men when they grow older. :) i don't think you need to change at all. maybe after your wife calms down a bit, you can get a better idea of exactly what's bothering her? because it sounds very illogical to me. good luck, man.

Ama Duende said...

Well I was brought up to be a tomboy by a mom who was a great jock and hated makeup and could kick anyone's ass at tennis. At 70 she is still a good jock and hates makeup and doesn't color her hair. I was ridiculed by my family whenever I wanted to do anything girly. So now I secretly love Carolina Hererra, flowers, perfume, pink, lingere, etc. Any girly thing is just fine with me. But I'm a good jock too and I can hold my own with men just fine. Growing up I was not particularly popular, but from my guy friends I learned that it didn't really matter whether I was popular or not and I also got a fair amount of respect from them. When it came time to date, I just skipped over the guys in high school and dated older guys--my second boyfriend was the county historian and he took me to parties where I met people on the city council and things like that, so it really didn't matter to me what the "popular" people thought of me. I think women in the South have more pressure to be girly, and I doubt anyone would care if your daughter was a tomboy or not in most other parts of the country. Kids are just themselves, and they will be themselves no matter what you do.
I can understand the concern though, you don't want your kid to be "different." I have a "different" kid and he's been going through quite a time after moving to this town. But he's way more interesting than most people I know, so I wouldn't trade that for anything. I wish you luck with it all. She sounds like a smart, fun kid and I'm sure she will do great no matter what kind of person she turns out to be.

Budd said...

Yeah, I just emailed team vox about this. it is a pain in the but to have to change the font color on something that I paste over from word. It should format it to my vox scheme when it is pasted. Now that I fixed it, if I go into edit, I have to highlight everything to see what I am doing. That is kind of stupid.
I don't think she equates it to being a lesbian. Ask your mom about tomboys in the South to the K for me.
@Ali, Thanks. I have always thought that the South had a dual nature. It was okay for girls to tomboys, but when it came time to put on a dress and go out, the girlyness comes to the front and rules the day. Dress goes off and back to being a tomboy.

little wonders said...

I agree I don't think your doing anything wrong, and spending time with your girls is always a good thing, and if they like it that's all that matters, if your wife has issues you need to get at the root of them cause I don't think she sees being a tomboy the same as you, it maybe she thinks they're lesbians, and if so thats a different issue, and one you should nip in the bud too. good luck and keep up the good work.

[atropos] said...

I was a tomboy up until after highschool. I was strictly a jeans and t-shirt girl, with sneakers. After a little college, I loved everything to do with dresses and makeup.
Whichever way they turn out I'm sure they'll be lovely people.

grrrace said...

i'm not sure if my mom even knows what a tomboy is. hehe. or if they have such a word in korean. i'll have to ask her when i talk to her next time.maybe you could choose a different color for the font. light enough to be seen when it's on your blog, but dark enough for you to see when you're editing it? i don't know...

Eli's Dad said...

Knowing you personally, I know that you are an excellent father. One of the best around. Of course, the girls are going to want to follow in your footsteps (scifi, comics, etc) since you spend so much time w/ them and you are the one who gives them attention. IMO, there is nothing wrong w/ tomboyishness--is that a word? Most female leaders have a strong/tough streak in them. I tend to appreciate women who share my interests.
Now get to work.

Saucy! said...

I think it is important for children to be encouraged to express themselves in all manners and bring out all facets of their personalities without judgment. I don't think either you or your wife are doing anything "wrong" per se - I can see your side and understand your concern, however, I believe that just being yourselves with them - both you and your wife will be examples of masculinity and femininity and love your daughters without condition and without judgment - that is the most important thing - they will become who they are meant to be with your guidance and unconditional love - no question about it. Try not to worry too much - just be love.xoxoL

Ross said...

Forcing your kids to be something they are not is not healthy for the children, you, or your relationship with them. It sounds like Ashli's very well adjusted right now and kids go through all kinds of phases - encouraging them to pursue what they like to do and opening them up to new experiences is a great way to keep them learning - forcing them to do something they don't want to do is a great way to shut them down. You're doing the right thing - keep it up, and keep trying to broach the subject in different ways w/ your wife - I'm sure you'll get to an understanding eventually.As for your font - if you are pasting from a rich text editor (e.g. MS Word) into Vox, it's going to keep the characteristics of what you wrote it in, including font color and size. It's probably best to paste your entry into a text-only editor like Notepad first, and copy from there - that way you'll have removed all the formatting before pasting, and will be using Vox's automagic text which is dark in the white editing box, but appropriate for your template when you save it.

Budd said...

I haven't had the problem other places though. I have used black backgrounds before and it has never been an issue. Hmmm. I will just have to be more careful in the future.
@everyone, thanks for your support.

Ross said...

If it's what I'm thinking of, the background isn't the problem, it's the font color. If you open up a Vox compose screen and start typing text, it's not actually black-colored text that you're entering - it's neutrally formatted text that gets converted to whatever color your template says text should be once you hit the save button.If you copy from MS Word into a vox compose window, it doesn't get this neutral text attribute...or rather, it assigns it as black-colored text (essentially it is like adding HTML font tags around the text making it #000000). Then when you publish it, it's trying to put black text on your black background, regardless of what your template says the text color should be. So to "fix" it, you highlight your text in the compose window and select the font color white (#FFFFFF), which forces your text to be white everywhere, even when people don't want it to be (like in RSS readers where they now have white text on a white background. By the way, that's how it appears right now for me in my RSS reader, so that I had to highlight the white text in order to read your post.)What Vox really needs for you to "fix" text like this is a button on the toolbar that says "remove current color from text", so that it goes back to that "neutral" text color that looks black in the compose window, and but is whatever your CSS file assigns it to be in your blog. But they don't have this right now, so you have do something to remove the formatting. Pretty much the easiest way to do this is what I said above: copy from MS Word into Notepad (or equivalent text-only editor), and then select-all and copy from Notepad to the compose window. This removes all formatting from your composition, though, so you'll lose things other formatting like italics, underlines, and different sized fonts when you do this. But those are pretty easy to add after the fact, if you need to, and then you won't have a post that can't be read by someone somewhere unless they highlight it.

Budd said...


Jen said...

Here's another girl that was a tomboy. I had a BB gun, my brother and I would make the president out of legos and assassinate him, I made mud pies, I wouldn't wear anything but jeans until I reached high-school and then it was only because I had to, I would watch WWF (back when it was WWF) and try to be a pro-wrestler. I had to have every new video game system with the coolest beat-em' up games, I was the best tekken player in the house.I think I turned out alright and am quite feminine despite my tomboy upbringing.I guess I'm not the best example of, "don't worry, the kids are alright" but I tried. :-)

gamany said...

i was a self proclaimed tomboy and i turned out just fine. my dad was
in the army and i know he was a huge influence and even though my mom
(who's korean) disapproved, she didn't force me to change my ways. she
made "suggestions" which i took to heart but it didn't stop me from
playing with boys.

anyway, i think you not being able to comfort your wife on the tomboy
issue has everything to do with culture. you don't see anything wrong
with tomboys because it's mostly acceptable here in america. i don't
remember it being fine when our family lived in korea.

and if it's a cultural issue, maybe your wife fears that your girls are
too "american" and it bothers her that she can't relate. wouldn't you
be a little scared if you didn't see a part of yourself in your girls?
you see that they like the same things as you: sci-fi, comics, marial
arts, etc. but what about your wife? what of her does she see in
them? maybe that's part of her fear. i'm not saying that's the case,
i'm just thinking of the cultural and ethnic differences my mom
struggled with trying to raise me. not so much my brother though, but that's a different topic.funny but my mom was also worried that my lack of girly-ness would stigmatize her. i hate that people worry so much about what others think. guess i picked that up from my dad.

Budd said...

You may have hit the nail on the head. She worries about how much Korean culture they are getting a lot. This may just be an offshoot of that.

db said...

in a world where the leading cause of death of women in their childbearing years in the US, is being killed by a husband or lover - i have always thought that being a bit more "tomboy"ish is a GOOD thing.thinking for yourself, defining your own character, ignoring stereotypes and gender expectations is exactly what we WANT bright, creative young women to do.

Referencegirl said...

Everyone said I was a tomboy growing up. I loved nature, climbing trees, getting dirty, toy guns, science fiction, and comic books. My mother and I often fought over dresses. She wanted me to wear them but I felt they got in the way of my playing. She wanted them to be long and I wanted them to be short so I could move easily. Now I am an educated and professionally successful adult. I am also not afraid to defend myself, speak up, or fight for my rights. And while I still love all the tomboy things I loved when I was little, I also appreciate flowers, pink, and a good love story. If all one can appreciate is defined by their gender then how will they will relate to those of the opposite? Too often, women are taught that being quiet and submissive is required to be feminine. So they don't demand equal pay or treatment in the workplace. I think having a healthy balanced appreciation for the feminine and masculine is good for both men and women. It sounds like your daughter is developing just that.