Sex Roles

, Volume 7, Issue 12, pp 1205–1212 | Cite as

Tomboys and sissies: Androgynous children?

  • Joan D. Hemmer
  • Douglas A. Kleiber


Psychological studies of masculinity-femininity in children have paralleled those done with adults, which often consider deviations from masculinity for males and femininity for females as abnormal and perhaps pathological. Children who demonstrate cross-sex behaviors, however, may become androgynous adults whose cross-sex behaviors mean flexibility, not pathology. This study had two purposes: (1) to identify potentially “androgynous” children as those labeled by their peers as “tomboys” and “sissies”; (2) to compare personality characteristics of “androgynous” children with those of peers. Subjects were 312 elementary school children in a midwestern city. Results indicate that the labels tomboy and sissy are not necessarily indicators of androgynous children, but important social behaviors are related to the labels. For males, the possibility of frustrated creativity was raised.


Social Psychology Social Behavior Elementary School School Child Personality Characteristic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan D. Hemmer
    • 1
  • Douglas A. Kleiber
    • 2
  1. 1.St. Cloud State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.University of IllinoisUrbana-Champaign

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