Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 333–341 | Cite as

Who Are Tomboys and Why Should We Study Them?

  • J. Michael Bailey
  • Kathleen T. Bechtold
  • Sheri A. Berenbaum


Tomboys are girls who behave like boys and, as such, challenge some theories of sex-typing. We recruited tomboys (N = 60) ages 4–9 through the media and compared them with their sisters (N = 15) and brothers (N = 20) on measures of playmate preference, sex-typed activities and interests, and gender identity. On nearly all measures, tomboys were substantially and significantly more masculine than their sisters, but they were generally less masculine than their brothers. We outline some scientific benefits of studying tomboys and describe some goals and initial findings of the Tomboy Project.

tomboys gender nonconformity sex-atypicality gender roles gender development 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Michael Bailey
    • 1
  • Kathleen T. Bechtold
    • 2
  • Sheri A. Berenbaum
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanston
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineSouthern Illinois UniversityCarbondale

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