Lisa Selin DavisSep 1, 2022
What is a Tomboy?
A Discussion with Lisa Selin Davis
New Books Network 2022
Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:
- How journalist Lisa Selin Davis became interested in tomboys.
- The questions that arise when we say the word “gender.”
- The supposed freedoms and limits of being a tomboy.
- Why manufacturers insist that clothing and toys and décor are “gendered.”
- A discussion of the book Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to be Different.
Today’s book is: Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls Who Dare to be Different, which journalist Lisa Selin Davis was inspired to write when her six-year-old daughter first called herself a "tomboy.” She favored sweatpants and T-shirts over anything pink or princess-themed, just like the sporty and skinned-kneed girls Davis had played with as a kid. But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word, and why use a word with "boy" in it for girls? Where do tomboys fit into our understandings of gender? In Tomboy, Davis highlights the forces behind what we think of as masculine and feminine, delving into everything from clothing to psychology, history to neuroscience, and the connection between tomboyism, gender identity, and sexuality. Davis's deep-dive appreciates those who defy traditional gender boundaries, and the incredible people they become.
Our guest is: journalist Lisa Selin Davis, who wrote the novels Belly, and Lost Stars, and the non-fiction book Tomboy: The Surprising History and Future of Girls* Who Dare to Be Different. She has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time and many others.
Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, who holds a PhD in American history. She is the co-producer of the Academic Life.
Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:
- Gender and Our Brains, by Gina Rippon
- Raising Them, by Kyl Myers
- A Burst of Light, by Audre Lorde
- LGBTQ+ Studies channel on NBN
- Gender Studies channel on NBN
- This conversation about gender bias in science
- This discussion of the book Raising Them
You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Here on the Academic Life channel, we embrace a broad definition of what it means to be an academic and to lead an academic life. We view education as a transformative human endeavor and are inspired by today’s knowledge-producers working inside and outside the academy. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DMs us on Twitter: @AcademicLifeNBN.