Thursday, 11 February 2010

Hurrah for Tomboys!

Sometimes life isn’t funny the first time around, that’s why it helps to write about it. In the story that I was working on last week I wrote about a little girl who wore swimming trunks to a swimming lesson and then wished that she hadn’t. The swimming trunk part of the story was actually true. Alice did wear a pair of her brother’s trunks to a swimming lesson.

With three older brothers it is probably not surprising that Alice has turned into something of a tomboy. She steadfastly refuses to wear skirts or dresses and given half a chance she would have her hair cut like a boy – if it wasn’t so wispy and fine I might just let her. It seems that she is part of a dying breed. Stephanie Theobald pays tribute to tomboys in her piece in the Guardian, ‘Hurrah for Tomboys!’ Theobald laments the fact that ‘Nickelodeon recently redesigned the Dora doll to make her more "feminine" (read "profitable"). Instead of being equipped with tools, map and backpack, her new accessories include halter-tops, tiaras and glittery hairbrushes.’ This article discusses the trend towards accessories and clothes like those now worn by Dora and takes a look at the clothes that famous little girls are wearing. It made me feel pretty good about the tracksuits, jeans, t-shirts and hoodies that Alice chooses to spend her weekends and holidays wearing.

Once she was standing on the poolside, Alice changed her mind about wearing her brother’s trunks. As a parent I hate situations in which I can’t make things better. We had to settle for an experience that probably comes under the ‘learning a lesson’ category: it’s okay to wear your brother’s trunks at the beach where you don’t know anyone, but in the pool with all the other girls wearing their pink frilly stuff you might feel a bit daft was probably the lesson learned. And yet if she wants to wear the blasted trunks again I’ll let her. I'll just remember to pack her (blue, frill-less) costume as well.

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