With a generation of young women becoming more aware of body image, a new study has found that it’s not always the case that a girl is a tomboy.
Researchers at the University of Queensland have found that while girls in their early twenties and early thirties are often perceived as tomboys, that perception is actually a misperception.
“What’s interesting about this study is that it shows that there are two distinct perceptions of what it means to be a girl,” Dr Laura Williams said.
“We think that there is a perception of the tomboy image that’s shared by the older generation and the younger generation that we found to be accurate.”
But we also found that there’s a perception that it [is] something that a young girl will eventually attain, and the older girls that we spoke to thought it was something that was not achievable.
“In other words, if you want to be one of the younger girls in your family and be a tomboey, it’s a bit like going to the gym and being skinny and not having curves, or not having any curves, and just looking the same.”
It’s a very narrow, very narrow view of what being a girl means.
“The researchers, who are from the School of Psychology at the Queensland University of Technology, used data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to conduct an experiment with more than 700 participants aged between 20 and 30 years old.
They found that women were more likely to describe themselves as tomboy than men.”
So if you’re a tomboys you are a tomboya,” Dr Williams said.”
That’s one of those things where I think it’s just really important to recognise that this is a generalisation.
“While it is common to see girls as tomboises, it is not uncommon for girls to not be viewed as such, Dr Williams explained.”
If we look at the data and we look into the data, we can actually see that it is actually quite rare for girls who are not tomboys to be seen as tomboes, she said.
The findings suggest that while tomboyism is an attractive way to express yourself, it can be a socially constructed image that is harmful to girls.
“Our findings suggest it’s actually actually not something that is necessarily going to happen to a girl in her early twenties or early thirty years,” Dr William said.
A number of studies have shown that tomboy culture is linked to lower self-esteem and higher levels of depression.
“This study, it shows there’s actually a different perception of a girl as a tombo, that she’s going to achieve it, and that’s something that the older people who are seeing it as tomboeiness might be particularly interested in,” Dr Williamson said.