Who Are Tomboys and Why Should We Study Them?

Abstract

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.

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Bailey, J.M., Bechtold, K.T. & Berenbaum, S.A. Who Are Tomboys and Why Should We Study Them?. Arch Sex Behav 31, 333–341 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1016272209463

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  • tomboys
  • gender nonconformity
  • sex-atypicality
  • gender roles
  • gender development