This week in the Khuta – My clothes don’t define me
About a month ago, I decided to start my own Facebook page, African Tomboy with the aim to communicate with and provide a platform to not only tomboys but women in general.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the tomboy concept as “a girl who enjoys rough, noisy activities traditionally associated with boys.” I am sure that at one stage or another, every female felt like taking up an outdoor activity and just embrace their adventurous spirit. So basically, the page encourages women to do what they want.
I don’t know how many “tomboys” out there can relate to this but I love outdoor activities and I enjoy riding my bike, street soccer and wearing what I feel most comfortable in – sneakers and jeans.
Growing up, I was a bit rougher than the other girls. I preferred kicking stones, wearing loose sweaters and playing with the boys. I feel rather uncomfortable in skirts and heels. With this page, I wanted to share my childhood experiences and wanted to hear of true life experiences of other tomboys. I wanted to hear their stories as I feel these memories best define the strong female figures we have grown into.
Being a tomboy is not easy, because people think you are a tough cookie, forgetting that you are just a girl that is comfortable in her own skin and refuses to follow top female trends. Most of the time, being a tomboy is not something that you grow into all of a sudden. It is not something that you can just snap out of.
At times people judge you on how you present yourself and how you behave. But their attitudes toughens you up because a tomboy knows how to stand up for herself and will never give up a battle.
In my experience, a tomboy can herd the cattle and even kick a ball better than some men. A tomboy can play rugby and bring food to the table as well; and some men just hate this because tomboys, I believe, are the sort of competition that makes them feel insecure.
These are the experiences, amongst others, that I want to share with other African females as part of our strive towards the empowerment of girls and women.
What I had in mind with my page, was to set up a platform where females from all over Africa can share ideas and give each other advice on things that matter. As long as a one is on Facebook, you can just like the page or take part in the discussions, no holds barred.
I know what it is like being a tomboy in Namibia, but I didn’t know what it was like being a Tomboy from East Africa or other SADC countries. However, after setting up my page, the contacts I have helped me to learn and understand what people like me are facing. I now know what its like being the odd girl in the crowd in other Africa countries.
And now whenever I see a tomboy cousin, a friend or just someone on the streets; I know we have something in common. We still face discrimination and the kind of stereotype that comes with it, only because you are a tomboy.
Girls with long hair who wear heels and tight jeans, are generally more respected and considered more womanly. You, a tomboy with a loose fitting shirt or baggy pants is considered sloppy. People look at you as if you are just plain weird. These are the realities in our societies.
Coming from a small town, it was common to see girls kicking ball with the boys on the dusty gravel streets, but after moving to Windhoek it became rarer and rarer to see girls kicking ball, or walking on the streets.
As a woman, whether you are a tomboy or not, it is your right to be whoever you want and to dress however you want. It is time to fully express yourself.