Lisa Selin Davis

Sep 1, 2022

What is a Tomboy?

A Discussion with Lisa Selin Davis

New Books Network 2022

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Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear about:

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 But "tomboy" seemed like an outdated word, and why use a word with "boy" in it for girls?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:

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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