Tomboy by Liz Prince
This is the type of book that I wish I could’ve read when I was a kid. Prince tells her own story, of a young Liz, figuring out who she’s becoming. That person is a tomboy, but Prince works through a lot of cultural gendered baggage to come to terms with who she is.
I’m certainly not the tomboy Prince is. Nor even in my biggest tomboy journey when I was a kid was I as diehard as Prince. I may have hated wearing dresses as a kid, but I didn’t cry. And my mother certainly wasn’t going to let me not wear said dress. All that said, this story was one I would’ve loved then.
Tomboy is extremely centered in a certain time. Prince and I are around the same age, so everything from her Popples to her Ghostbusters were parts of my childhood too. I do wonder how the book would translate with a younger generation. But I imagine the strength of the story isn’t in the references, but the sentiment and cultural things that slowly change, no matter how small or big our smart phones get.
I loved following Prince’s journey. The personal to Prince works so well to illustrate gendered stereotypes and artificial gender divide. Things like how Prince starts disliking the girls at school and how she notices that the boys don’t want to hang out with her at school fit so well. The ultimate revelation that Prince has internalized a bunch of misogyny about stereotypically girls was well done. It felt natural, not preachy. And it worked as a great bookmark on the story structure.
Prince’s story is certainly inspiration for those girls who find themselves always just wanting to be a tomboy. Gender roles be damned.
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