Gender Subjectivity: Dees and Toms in Thailand

  • Megan Sinnott
Part of the Comparative Feminist Studies Series book series (CFS)


In a Thai linguistic practice that emerged in the 1970s, female-bodied individuals who hold a masculine identity, or are marked as masculine by others, are called “tom,” a term that is derived from the English word “tomboy.” Toms are paired, both linguistically and romantically, with feminine-identified women who are called “dees,” a shortening of the English word “lady” (la-dee).1 Popular use of the terms “tom” and “dee” has largely overridden regional linguistic variations and has formed a national Thai language discourse on sexual/gender subjectivity.2 Tom and dee are “subject positions” in that they serve as meaningful ways of categorizing one’s experiences and sense of self in culturally recognized terms. Thai women use these terms (in particular the term “tom” for reasons discussed below) to refer to themselves and to define central aspects of their life narratives, that is, in the formation of their “subjectivities.”3


Gender Identity Feminist Theory Subject Position Gender Category Dominant Discourse 
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

© Saskia E. Wieringa, Evelyn Blackwood, and Abha Bhaiya 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan Sinnott

There are no affiliations available

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