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Daily Breakthrough, November 20, 1977
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Daily Breakthrough, November 20, 1977 - Page 7. November 20 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. November 29, 2020. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/663/show/637.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 20 1977). Daily Breakthrough, November 20, 1977 - Page 7. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/663/show/637

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Daily Breakthrough, November 20, 1977 - Page 7, November 20 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed November 29, 2020, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/663/show/637.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Daily Breakthrough, November 20, 1977
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 20 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
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Title Page 7
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File Name femin_201109_535ag.jpg
Transcript By Caryl Rivers The tomboy-like the American beauty rose—is a summer bloom. Dirt is vital to both species, and summer dirt has a special quality-whether it is the moist, soft black stuff that is great to dig into and get under your fingernails, or the gritty, pale dust that settles in your hair after a slide into second base. The American tomboy combines the features of the gazelle and the mole. She spends her time either running or grubbing, and the experience of being a tomboy is a sensual one. I remember, for example, the texture of the wood on the top bar of my swing set pressed against the flesh of my knees as I hung upside down until my face turned red. I remember the delicious, cool feel of a brand-new American-league baseball; smooth, white and unblemished except for the ridges that you could grip with three fingers. I tried to cartwheel off the five-foot wall of the driveway and wait for precisely seven seconds until the door of my grandmother's house across the street opened, and she cried out, "Don't do that, child!" I savored her terror. I didn't worry, I could cartwheel off that wall blindfolded and know exactly where I would land, because I spent half my life with my feet in the air. To be a tomboy on a hot summer day is to live on a plane of existence sweeter than any known to the adult world. The universe exists solely for you. The tree with the rippled bark and the stepladder branches to climb was installed in its position in the firmament by a beneficent God for your pleasure. Dirt was invented for you to put in piles on your arms and knees to cool you off, or just to decorate your skin, or to rub against your hands and face for the sheer erotic feel of it. To a tomboy, the world has no limits. You have a special exemption from staying clean and staying still, which was what girls were supposed to do. You can soar like Amelia Earhart, the ultimate image of the tomboy grown-up, with her bobbed hair and her aviator's jacket and her airplane. You can rebel like Jo March in Little Women, or pretend to watch over goats on a lonely Alp like Heidi. Esther Williams was a tomboy, I was always convinced, despite the smile and the hair that never got messed up under water. Mute the violins, peel away the sequins on the swimsuit, and you got an athlete, not a glamour girl. At any rate, she was a role model for me, and I swam through the brackish, blue-green waters of Chesapeake Bay smiling my Esther Wil- <:.!?'. ..... I J I I I 11 j i,. i... .'I i I I iiams smile at the jellyfish. Web ter's dictionary defines tomboy as "a ^n 01 noyisn behavior" and doesn't spell it out any further. It's a strange word, when you think about it. The girl who displays "boyish behavior" loses the name "girl" and becomes something else. She is a mutant, different from others of her species. One Florida 10-year-old says that being a tomboy is "being between a boy and a girl." The ambivalence of society toward the tomboy has to do with the maze of contradictions wrapped up in the rigid sex- role stereotypes most of us grew up with. In our society, activities defined as masculine are inevitably more prestigious than those defined as feminine. "You think like a man" is a compliment. But tell a guy, "You throw like a girl," and you're liable to get hit in the mouth. The word can be an insult or a badge worn proudly. "I was called a tomboy— I was teased and made fun of," one Mississippi girl says. But a Florida teenager says, "I'm not like everybody else, or every other girl. I like to sweat. I've accomplished something. These two themes—pride in accomplishment and the stigma of being different—run through the comments of tomboys, past and present, young or old. Webster's definition points up the problem-a girl of boyish behavior. The word implies the notion of turf, of a territory that belongs to males. The tomboy crosses over that border—and if she decides to stay, she will probably do weD. So the tomboy is, in a sense, an invader. She carries a temporary visa to male territory, but that visa usually gets stamped "cancelled" at the age of 12 or 13. Freedom is the issue. "To run a- round and get dirty," as one 10-year old puts it. Or "not to have to wear stupid dresses," says another. A young woman athlete was asked, "What do you think of when you hear the word tomboy?" She said, "Fun." The tomboys we talked to clearly didn't want to be boys. Indeed, the general opinion of boys among preadolescent girls wasn't very high. "They don't do nice things for people, and they bother people and run around the house," said one 10- year-old. Another said she didn't want to be a boy because "boys are weird and do dumb things." The tomboy has always grasped at what seems to me the essence of the American dream—the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on your own terms. The species is not endangered, as our informal survey shows. The tomboy is still out there, climbing trees in Savannah playing baseball in Boston, running races with the wind in Nebraska, getting grubby in Kalamazoo. But something is different these- days. When I was hanging upside down from my backyard swing, I had no idea that the boundaries of male and female behavior weren't as fixed as the stars in the sky. I had the notion that there were little cracks I could slide through—and I did-but neither I nor the rest of society challenged the territorial assumptions on which the word tomboy was based. That's not true anymore. Today's girls are not only % occupying the turf but talking about >•■•••■•■•■••••■■••■■••• --.■••.......■.... aria. .•*.... .....«■* ._••■■■••■■■•••••••(-_ • • • ■ ■ • •■••••••■•a i. ....«■..•• -Purveyors of Fine Motorcars— 1956 Rolls Royce, Silver Cloud I 688-6548 928-6561 Ask more of yourself. Learn Computer Technology. Make life give you what you want. Get the training that can get you started toward a career in Computer Technology. But first, learn how many of our graduates we helped place in their first job. Attend our Information Seminar. CALL 688-5902 TECHNICAL CAKEI TRAINING WOtLDWKK CONTRpL DATA INSTITUTE <§§> an education servke of CONTRPL DATA CORPORATION Nancy Zumhagen, Director PAGE 6 NOVEMBER 20, 1977 DAILY BREAKTHROUGH