Monday, February 27, 2012

Girls who are boys

This movie is unlikely to make it to our shores. Watch it and you'll see why.

I went to an all-girls school from Year One to middle secondary. Tomboys are not uncommon; many show this tendency right from Standard One. These are usually the scruffy girls with really short hair who takes the boy's roles in drama enthusiastically and are commonly athletic. Some become that way because their family encourage it; these girls are like substitute sons. Many are like so because something deep inside them say that they are not girls.

Bear in mind that I am not discussing athletic girls who like being rough and tumble and yet enjoy feminine pursuits as well. Those are tomboy-ish, but they are not true tomboys. I climbed trees and picked fights, but I have never had any desire of wanting to be a boy or feeling wrong in my own body. I've dreamt that I was a man (and boy was it fun being that physically strong and able) but that's not the same thing.

Unlike in an all-boys school where effeminate boys get bullied and are made miserable, tomboys in an all-girls school are often looked upon positively*. The teachers may rebuke them and ask them to be more lady-like (or something like that) but in general, the other students do not seem to mind their behaviour. The tomboys could be depended upon to do stuff that require strength and often take it upon themselves to do dangerous chores like putting up buntings in high places. You usually would want a tomboy in your sports team because they are more likely to help you win.

You may hear some people say that tomboys will outgrow their behaviour. Some do. Many don't. Some go the penultimate way and modify their bodies to appear masculine. Breast binding is not unusual; many chose weight training to increase muscle mass and widen their shoulders. Out of school, they dress like men and some of them carry it off so well you wouldn't believe that they are female. Most of the tomboys are sexually attracted to girls; they often date really feminine girls whom they court ardently.

Valentine's Day in my school was a perfect way to rake in the moola what with the song dedications, chocolates, candies and flowers that you could order/buy and send to the girl of your dreams. Some of the popular girls would go home with their arms laden with flowers and schoolbag bulging with assorted dedicated goodies. Do bear in mind, however, that in an all-girls school, sometimes the one doing the courting is not the tomboy; but the feminine counterpart. One of the most popular tomboys in my school was a prefect who often walked home on Valentine's with quite a haul. Also, girls have no problem expressing platonic admiration with gifts like candies and flowers, hence the majority of the gifts given are among "pet sisters".

The last time I went to Penang, I was quite surprised at the large number of tomboys who are openly walking about with their girlfriends, being affectionate and all. In fact, I think there are more of them there than there are in Kuala Lumpur.

Last week at a meeting I met a couple of transwomen (transgender man to woman) representing a civil society. They spoke of the difficulties for transgenders to get a job and many became sex workers because no one wants to employ them. From what I observe, tomboys (or transmen) have it easier because most that I've seen appear to hold decent jobs and can support themselves, but I have not seen any who are in upper management.

I think it's more than about time that we stop discriminating people based on their gender and sexuality. Nobody wants to be out of step with what is "normal" in something so basic about their self identity. Nobody asked to be challenged with attraction to their own sex, nor does anyone want to feel wrong in their God-given body. Please stop blaming the victim and try to accept them as they are. If you can't make their lives better, don't make it worse.

We are all God's creation who strive to do our best in this life that He has given us. He gave us different challenges, to prove our steadfastness and strength. How can we trivialise the trials of others? If you have not walked in their shoes, denigrate not their path and choices. Do we know if we are worthy? Are we aware of how well (or not) we dealt with our own trials? Only God has the right to judge each and every one of us.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

*All above are from my personal observation only; I did not conduct a scientific study on the phenomenon.


zlkmhd said...

hehe, saya target mahu masuk upper management lah haha!

Snuze said...

Yezza! Gotta smash the glass ceiling down and kick corporate ass, you hear?

Queen of hearts said...

WOW! WHat an article. Thee hee hee! I was(am) never into girls but growing up I wished I was a boy so that I can play like boys and my mom won't stop me. I loved punching and I'd got scolding from my mom when she saw my blue-black knuckles. I prayed hard wishing that I'd wake up a boy. LOL! I don't know if you remember but back in high school my hair was so short. I kinda like the attention I got and gifts I received from 'secret admirers'. I never knew who they were from until today. Kah kah kah!

Snuze said...

Yes, Sophie, I remember how popular you were in school. What with the pixie cut, swagger, don't-give-a-damn attitude you sported, no wonder so many girls wanted to be your special friend, hehehe. I knew a couple of them who sent you those Valentine gifts; not naming who though.


Queen of hearts said...

ALAMAK! *blush*

naz said...

I am a tomboy myself, and believe me I went through all those phase even dressing as one. But I never come the the extend of binding my breast coz for me I love the way I look. Behavior wise I am 100% tomboy, I am also what u can consider as substitute for a son my parents never had.
I grew up with some of my young cousins that even call me abg. (dulu - dulu lah)...hehe.

Snuze said...

Naz, we gotta love us the way we are, no?


Abang Naz ... nah ... not now when we see your superlicious curves. =D

naz said...

I am sexy and I know it..hahahahaha

Snuze said...

That you are, sugar ... that you are.


I don't understand that reference said...

Sexual orientation is not a choice but sadly there are people who think it so

Snuze said...

Exactly, darling. No one chooses to be gay; it's a hard path to tread fraught with guilt and self-recrimination, not to mention condemnation and even violence from others.


Frizkybrat said...

i second zu, gua pun target upper management :P *hugs snuze* jom jom meet up catch up with zu and u jom jom? *cheesy grin*

Snuze said...

Just name the time and place, Frizkybrat!

... but not in March unless it's weekend of the 24th. What with weddings and emceeing a conference, my weekends are but a distant memory ... at least for the month of March.