One of the more memorable scenes from To Kill A Mockingbird was the fist fight started by Jean Louise “Scout” Finch against Walter Cunningham on the playground. Facing the consequences with her father, Atticus Finch, Scout is not told that she should be ladylike or that girls should not fight. Instead, he tells her that he does not want his children to fight. Period.
A Tomboy is a Girl
Atticus (and the author, Harper Lee) knew an important fact that parents today must remember: It’s normal for some girls to be tomboys. While the term may seem archaic and even politically “incorrect,” it is a healthy representation of the wide range of roles and behavior which is, indeed, normal for a girl and should be celebrated as gender appropriate.
So if your daughter would rather shoot hoops or a BB gun rather than joining the other girls who are trying on make-up — congratulations. You have a normal girl.
If your daughter would rather wear long basketball shorts and a Cavs t-shirt instead of the short-shorts and midriff tops her friends prefer — that’s super. You have a normal girl.
If your daughter would rather sign up for ice hockey or boxing rather than ballet or gymnastics — that’s awesome. You have a normal girl.
And even if your daughter expresses a wish to be a boy so she can wear swim trunks or not have a period or not have to wear a bra — that’s terrific. She is a normal girl.
Transgenderism and Stereotypes
With the advent of the transgender movement for children, we are reverting to old stereotypes of what a girl should and should not be. Rather than considering a girl “not really” a girl because she chooses traditionally male activities or dress or wishes to be a boy at times, we should be celebrating the normality of her growing up and exploring the kind of woman she will become.
Just as women can perform “men’s” work and take on “men’s” roles (and vice versa), girls can participate in “boy’s” activities and explore “boy’s” roles. This is all within the range of normal girlhood, and healthy, normal womanhood. (Fr. Mike Schmitz’ video “Bruce Jenner and the Transgender Question” is excellent and appropriate viewing for pre-teens for discussion.)
Recently, the American College of Pediatricians stated, “Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait. The ACP urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts — not ideology — determine reality.” The physicians went further, and stated that sex changes are tantamount to child abuse.
We know that God not only created us male and female, but imbued each of us with unique gifts, attributes, and ways of expressing that complementary masculinity and femininity. There is more than one way to be a man or to be a woman.
So parents, your tomboy should be celebrated and affirmed as a normal girl who will grow into a healthy, normal woman. It is the way God made her to be.