“Tomboy” was a pretty popular term back when I was a kid, which has quickly disappeared. From what I recall, it caught on as a negative label. So the term vanished, thankfully, and to this day we still love girls who kick butt and we dub them strong female leads and heroines. Avatar the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra are both now famous for their strong female characters like Toph, Katara, Korra, Asami, Azula, and many more.
When I was little, the hardest thing for me to overcome was that “boyish” women were expected to also be sexually like males. I didn’t agree with that, and felt that regardless of sexual orientation, women should be able to do what any man can. Maybe that’s why I appreciate it all the more when female characters disguise themselves to prove a point.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Viola from She’s the Man – Takes on her twin brother’s identity at university in order to prove that she can play on the men’s soccer team.
A. C. Gaughen’s Scarlet – Is confused for a man as she fights beside Robin Hood in his gang after she runs from her unwanted past.
Elizabeth Swann from PotC – Disguises herself as a boy to fight alongside pirates.
Mulan – Takes her father’s place in the army to spare his life.
What I love more than the disguise is the drive behind each of these women. The fact that they’re willing to go through innumerable hardships and risk everything to do what has been considered the “impossible,” to me, is infinitely inspiring.
On the surface, it might not seem like a big deal, but when you really think about it, stripping yourself of your gender and completely inverting your life while trying to keep a huge secret is about the biggest stake you could take on. I’d love to see more women kicking butt and excelling to prove equality. Only because I sincerely hope one day they will no longer need to, and feminism can be regarded with as much strength and power as masculinity.
-The Story Addict