Tomboy Femme & Other Multigendered Femmes

Recently, I was checking out of a swanky hotel and requested some help with my luggage.  Much to my surprise, the bellhop who arrived to help me was a beautiful tomboy femme.  When she looked me in the eyes and said “yes ma’am,” I’ll admit I felt a little weak in the knees.   (This is the one time in the history of the world that I actually liked being called ma’am.)

She had short black hair, blue eyes and a punk attitude that made her look tough enough to handle whatever came her way.  Unlike the other bellhops and valets who were very chatty, she was polite but all business.  She easily moved the bags I could barely lift while I admired how good she looked in her uniform and fingerless black gloves.  Naturally, I gave her a huge tip.  

This experience reminded me that (1) tomboy femmes are hot and (2) I see them very rarely in my everyday life.  Even in our little corner of the queer blogosphere, where we embrace the complexities of femme gender expression, I think we sometimes overlook multigendered femmes and unwittingly present categories like “tomboy” and “femme” as separate/opposed rather than interrelated.  

Why are so many queer women still under the impression that, because they’re a tomboy or sometimes feel butch/boyish, they’re not really femme or are “less” femme?  For me, this is exactly wrong.  I see tomboy femme as a form of gender mixing (not gender transgression) that’s both inside and outside the categories of butch and femme.  I’m fascinated by tomboy femmes because their gender play makes visible the fluidity and flexibility of femme, which is otherwise difficult to see. 

While you’re thinking this over, here are some pics of two of my favorite tomboy femmes, Pink and Jodie Foster.  Who are yours?   What does tomboy femme mean to you?  Is there a difference between “tomboy,”  “boi” and “butch?”  The needle on my own “tomboy-meter” is very low,  so I could use everyone’s help answering these questions!



36 Responses

  1. She sounds so hot! And mixing genders like this is something I really love – to see in others, and to attempt to do myself.

    This is probably a silly question, but – tomboy femme v.s. femmy butch? Is one different to the other? And what about andro-femme?

    For me ‘tomboy’ is more a term I use for younger people (preteens etc).

    Interesting how the two pictures are so so different… but both so hot.

    I was hoping you’d pop in to be part of this discussion! 😉 For me tomboy femme is very different from femme forms of butch gender expression, which can include dandyish/faggy butches or girlish, lipstick-wearing gentleman dykes or… [more!]. BTW there may be queer women who ID as “femmey butches” but I don’t know any of them, do you? Your question about “andro-femme” is really interesting to me. Check out my reply to LaurynX below. BTW I’m just curious, how are these pics “so different” to you? xo SF

  2. Is it wrongful if I admit I only ever considered tomboy-femmes as playthings? Like, “Ooh! Fun to play with, but sweet Jesus we should never, EVER share a closet, much less a life. Medicine cabinet? Excuse me? Go get your own, bitch!” The nerve.

    See?! See what happens?! Playthings only. For me, anyway. Except not, because I’m married. Of course.

    Of course!

    Do all femmes fall in this scary yet seductive “plaything” category for you?! xo SF

  3. Hi Sf. To pick up on what Wilhelmina said, age seems to be one (generally accepted) difference between tomboy, boi and butch. Here is quite a regular exchange between me & the gf:

    Me: Oh boy! (verbal equivalent of a tired sigh or yawn)
    Gf: I’m not a boy!
    Me: No, you’re too old to be a boi

    We think it’s funny anyway! 🙂 QRx

    Cute, QR. You’re right about the age issue of course, but isn’t it somewhat troubling too? As in, “I used to be a tomboy; now I’m a full-grown lesbian!” Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not comfortable with the notion that tomboys and bois are primarily forms of butch arrested development. Thx for crossing the pond to visit! xo SF

  4. Yeah, I was just about to ask you the same thing, like what is the difference between tomboy femme and being androgynous? I guess really it just depends on which you prefer to call or yourself or what you feel expresses your internal state best. Gender mixing is very hot. 🙂

    Hi LX, This question which you and Wilhelmina pose strikes me as very important. Particular tomboy femmes can be androgynous, but I definitely do not think all tomboy femmes are. Tomboy femme does not = andro-femme. For me androgyny is a gender melting pot because it tends to merge/downplay difference (e.g. Shane from The L Word). But I think tomboy femme can and often does take a genderfuck approach, which isn’t the same thing as androgyny. Pink captures this because she throws the differences between masculinity and femininity into relief, rather than blending them. I’d like to hear what other people think about this! xo SF

  5. hrm… tomboy femme comes the closest to describing my gender presentation, if not quite my identity. i feel uncomfortable with the delicate, pretty, breakable elements that i perceive in high-femme-ness… i’m still a girly girl, but a tough, loud, kind of obnoxious one. i associate high femme with glamour, and that’s just not me– i can be found in short short skirts, tank tops with the bra sticking out, messy makeup, and big stompy boots, big earrings, facial piercings, much too much colour.

    sometimes i joke that it’s “failed femme”, but “tomboy” seems to work better… very girly but too busy running and jumping and being active to worry about being beautiful all the time.

    i am NOT androgynous and i am NOT butch– no one would ever look at me and think that i am a boy, and if they did, i’d be pretty upset. for me, tomboy femme is certainly a subset of the “femme” category– i don’t perceive it as gender mixing– more like doing gender *wrong*.

    Hi e. I think we’re very much on the same page, which is reflected in my comment to LaurynX above. Re your final thought, we *all* do gender wrong, including non-tomboy femmes. What’s this business about high femmes as “breakable?” Going back to the 40s and 50s, many high femmes have been independent, tough women who kick ass! Case in point, high femme icon and gender warrior Amber Hollibaugh. I’ve written posts about theorizing high femme if you’re interested. -SF

  6. I prefer to call my ‘tomboy femmes’ Macha Femmes (because I am normally surrounded by Chicana Queers) My favorite Macha Femme is my dear friend Karla Legaspy check her out at

    or also check her out in the short film ‘Pura Lengua’

    Hi Laura, So Karla is on the right and hatless, yes? If you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear more about Macha Femmes… Perhaps on your own blog sometime? -xo SF

  7. See — I’m gonna go with feeling “less femme” b/c I am surely a tomboy femme.

    I find myself fighting that tomboy off…. but…


    …it’s who I am.

    Why would you want to fight your inner tomboy, Tina?! Please don’t do that! Did you see my last tag for this post? Though my heart skips a beat for butches, I really do think that tomboy femmes are the sexiest women ever! xo SF

  8. *sigh* i can still remember exactly whose lap i was sitting on the first time i was called tomboy femme 😉

    it was, in fact, the first time i was recognized as femme all by myself (typically i was only called femme because i was paired with someone butcher than me.)

    i really like tomboy. for one thing, i’ve always been a tomboy, long before i was femme. it’s kind of a part of me i’d hate to lose just because i wanted to be more femmey.

    i think age, in a more vague sense, has a lot to do with it. i always think of butch as an adult masculinity, and tomboy is a youthful sort – and my masculinity hasn’t grown up, and probably never will. ‘nother thing i like about tomboy is that it is exclusive to female masculinity, and in that way it meshes well with femme.

    Wonderful, as always Lady B. Your last point is fantastic! Thx for weighing in. xo SF

  9. Thanks for this post.

    I grew up around what I now realize were very high-femme (see note below, I’m aware this is probably the wrong word) women. I get nostalgia every time I watch the Sopranos, as the wives on the show remind me very much of my mother and my many aunties — hair, makeup, nails, lots of jewelry, fancy clothes.

    But that kind of gender expression never felt natural or right to me. I have long hair, and since I signed the peace treaty with Girlistan a few years ago, I even wear makeup and pretty underthings sometimes. Growing up, I loved boylike clothes, working out, sports, and I still enjoy those things today. At the same time, I had and still have long hair, and I’ve never made any effort to be truly androgenous. I don’t look much like a boy, more like a girl in boy’s stuff.

    Growing up, how I dressed and acted was really transgressive, in part because of what I was being compared to (the other women who were around me, who had, like, trays of perfume and lots of jewelry, etc). At family events as a teen, I’d wear whatever my mother picked out for me and try to be a good sport about it, but I was really just hopelessly awkward in those clothes. (And, wow, the whole hair thing, let’s not even get started on that.)

    Please forgive the use of “femme” in the way I’ve used it here; I’m not really sure it’s the right word to use for the women in my family of origin, since I know they weren’t doing a lot of conscious choosing of that as a mode of being. I’m not really sure what the right word for that is, really, and I feel like kind of a bonehead about it.

    Hi Helen, No need to apologize for referring to the women in your family as femme. I would probably describe them as “feminine” since for me femme is a queer gender, but there are non-queer women who ID as femme and some women whose mode of femininity is so stylized/performative that femme just seems like the right way to describe them (e.g. Marilyn Monroe). It’s interesting (and very smart of you) to bring up the issue of self-consciousness/self-reflexivity; you’re right that the idea of choosing one’s gender expression is often seen as distinctly queer. I agree, but I think it’s a mistake to overemphasize this as the primary thing that distinguishes femmes from heteronormative feminine women. In other words, there’s absolutely nothing boneheaded about your remark! -SF

  10. Very interesting piece. I myself think that gender roles and sexual contours are blurring their edges in this time and age.

    My personal experience bring me to the conclusion that sexuality and how we want to live it is a constant flowing and changing experience. I’ve been raised in a very hetero-centred and femme focused environment where gender roles were very strict and since my toddler years I had big troubles adhere to those, hence I was always pitched as a tomboy…

    Strangely enough when I first realized I was gay, maybe as a reaction or maybe because I didn’t really know any better, I femmed up. A lot.
    I didn’t feel uncomfortable mind you, only I little baffled that most of the time I wasn’t believed when I was saying that I was gay. With the passing years (well that make me sound old but I’m only 25 mind you :P) I always travelled on the thin border of gender expectation not really caring if I was considered a femme, a sporty femme, a baby dyke or whatever other labels people were comfortable fit me in.

    Lately I’ve been experiencing some sort of personal epiphany, maybe ‘cause I’m more at ease with who I am as an adult woman, who also happens to be a lesbian. Not a femme for classical standard, and not really interested in the butch mythology I think that tomboy femme sorta fit with the place I’m right now.

    And you know what the really fun part is? We still got to play with our gender…we can femmish it up a little or experiencing the all butch glory.

    Honestly I think that one of the aspects that makes us so darn sexy 😀

    And you are indeed! I completely agree with you about the gender fluidity–you definitely embrace it with panache!
    xo SF

  11. I’m not understanding the distinction you make between andro-femme and tomboy femme. I’m not disagreeing, I just want to have a better idea of what you’re saying.

    I really like the term tomboy femme. Not that I NEED a label, but as you know, I’ve been searching for one anyway. Here’s what I think of it, and of me. I use the tomboy part to refer to my outer appearance, which at first glance reminds people of soft butch. I don’t look girly at all. I don’t really like to, most of the time. Sometimes I do. But, as you said about andro-femme, I’m not really blending it together and looking androgynous, I still look like a girl, but one who’s dressed as a boy. But the way I am almost exclusively attracted to butches and my desire to be with someone who has typical masculine traits and is physically and emotionally strong (not to say that femmes cannot be, I’m just not always). I am not a fan of sports, I like to be held instead of hold, I hold tight to so many of the traits that femmes do (not that not liking sports has anything to do with it really). I am so worried that I might accidentally say something to offend someone, I’m just speaking for myself here. I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting to dress like a guy, even to the point where I started binding some when I wore my guys clothes, but I need need need to be with someone masculine because my personality is so feminine. Either way, I love playing with gender.

    Anyway. It’s not exactly coherent, but those are my thoughts. I love reading your thoughts.

    The feeling is mutual, Miss E. We’re all just trying to figure this stuff out together. The distinction I was trying to make between being androgynous and being tomboy femme is exactly what you articulated in your description of yourself. Androgyny blends masc. and fem. but tomboy femme is more invested in the *frisson* between masc. and fem. That frisson is what I meant by genderfuck and it can take many different forms. For example, wearing miniskirts with big butch boots or your comment, “I still look like a girl, but one who’s dressed as a boy.” Femme is in your heart, not your appearance. Love to you on your gender journey. xo SF
    PS I hope you’re feeling a little less worried about offending now. All any of us can do is treat these issues and each other honestly, respectfully and with an open mind. And you’re clearly doing that!

  12. what abotu those women and students and those ethnic people oppressed by their families who have no choice but to wear whatever they can afford, risk or dare. My biggest problem has always been being unable to afford the clothes i actually wanted to wear. So i always judge people by their intersts, strength of will and character and also the degree to which they have thought thigs through. Though I beleive that judging people by their appearacnes is valid in saying somethign abtou their aura, character as “presentation” is to some degree intentional… i beleive it is foolish to think that clothing or style can free us.

    that said, i experience a lot of resentment at the new “queer culture” i see in my city – and the few quees i have met seem very exclusionary even though they claim to be very inclusive of race/class… etc. As far as i can remember, I have always been a tomboy and the only reason i changed was because of family and then high school pressure during which i did a 180. I still havent overcome that stage of my life. i think i can call myself queer because i like radical gender theory but i have ever had the opportunity to explore identiy otherwise.

    now given all that.. i think i cll myself inside a sensitive androgynous -aspirant. I am a tomboy at heart – mid length hair but shaved under… never wear heels, but wear tight pants.. baggy shirt no bra… i have no identity excet that which my laundr y permits me that day. LMAO

  13. Thank you for this post. I am definitely tomboy femme. I settled on this for myself several months ago. I’m not just someone who leans toward the femme-y side of andro. My glitter and my toughness do not cancel each other out into some midway gender point. I’m thinking “high femme boi” might even suit me better – who knows.

  14. Ooh ooh, pick me!! I am so happy that we have yet another articulation of this gender variation. So if I can add some thoughts…First, tomboy can be a label we ditch or keep regardless of age. I like to hang on to my pink argyle vans, just like I like to think I might still go out and kick the ball around with my pals. Now, the chances of me being coaxed out of my heel length jeans and Kenneth Coles, not likely…but still I heart my sneaks. If people feel like its a not so grown up term, are they more comfortable with genderf&*k or andro? I don’t like andro, because personally it connotes a lack of any identification, self or otherwise. I might agree that Shane would qualify, except that she’s just “rocking” out a punk, “boyish” physique. So that would exclude any of us that have curves.
    Second, I really identify with Helen’s point about feeling(having felt) awkward about being femme for someone else (read: family). What did ultimately work for me was growing into my current presentation for myself. I set the parameters, and I shape who I am and how I feel about it every day, and it changes with my self esteem/confidence level.
    Lastly, SF I think you can completely identify with us tomboy femmes with regards to this point. High femme is much like TFemme because its an intentional, deliberate way to flirt with our gender roles and our sexuality, like your comment about Pink.

    p.s. I thought about your challenge and I cant think of any tomboy femmes at current that you haven’t already mentioned if we are staying in the queersphere….if however we are including everyone I offer Danica Patrick, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and all the girlies from the olympics because its hard working being that athletic, AND cute at the same time. 😉

    You’re so cute! For the record, I wasn’t saying that Shane is andro-femme but rather just androgynous. Your point about the relationship between high femme and tomboy femme is fascinating, and not something I had thought about before. Thx for pointing it out! Hope you’re having a good holiday. xo SF

  15. I identify as tomboy femme and thought I’d coined the term myself, but of course found upon my first Googling that it had been thought of before – thanks for this illuminating piece and the following discussion. It really lends some clarity to my chosen gender classification.

    TY, Malloreigh, and welcome! Come back and visit in January, when I’ll be posting more pieces on related topics as well as an interview with my favorite tomboy femme. It will be right up your alley! -SF

  16. […] Sublimefemme Unbound, I found a great piece called Tomboy Femme & Other Multigendered Femmes. The article and ensuing discussion are both worth reading for anyone seeking an additional bit of […]

  17. i think we should all get rid of labels 🙂

    identifying as this or that… does it really matter? if we’re queer then we’re all queer. locking ourselves up in these meaningless labels is the same as our hetero-friends locking us up in stereotypes.

  18. I have NO idea what I identify as… a lesbian with some gender fluidity, I guess. 🙂 I’ve always known I didn’t really fit in the femme classification, let alone high femme… but I appreciate those who do.

    Your dissection of gender roles and how we label/interpret what we see is fascinating. I consider myself educated, but I’m gratefully learning more! Thank you so much for writing about these subjects.

  19. Hey SF,

    I missed your invite to this conversation when you first posted it in my LJ. Sorry! I think I’ve id’d as a tomboy femme since I first heard Nancy Sinatra sing about being a “Tomboy in lace” in my teens (okay, not *that* long ago). Yep, that’s me! For me, “tomboy” encompasses my girlhood and the pieces of my girlhood that still remain — the other quotation that does it is Eddie Izzard on being a transvestite: “Running, jumping, climbing trees, and putting on makeup when you’re up there.” I don’t wear makeup, but the idea remains — you’re right, it’s the “mixing” of gender expressions. Though I feel that whatever I do, I do from a femme stance, that that’s my *identity* while “tomboy” is a descriptor.

    I really identify with your anecdote about the tomboy femme carrying your bags for you — that’s how I identify (with) what physical strength I have. Carrying parcels for someone, moving boxes — I have a fierce independent pride in my ability to do so that I may call tomboy but I’d never call butch — the rest of the world might not see me as femme (my best friend acknowledges that that’s how I identify with a good-natured I-don’t-see-it-but-I-know-you-do), but I’m *definitely* not butch.

    My youth (I’m 23) is definitely part of my gender identity, both the tomboy and the femme parts of it, in ways I’m still trying to parse…

    Thanks for an interesting discussion. -Ari

  20. […] wrote a while ago about Tomboy Femme & Other Multigendered Femmes, and I know it’s something Amber has brought up and been exploring as well on […]

  21. […] Tomboy Femme & Other Multigendered Femmes […]

  22. This is really interesting. I would have to approach it from SB’s point of view, when she states that femme is a gender performance for the benefit one’s romantic partner- I know that you disagree with this. Myself, I would say that I fall into a “comfortable butch” mode of dress most of the time- I wear what I like to because it’s practical and comfortable, usually baggy clothes to ward of unwanted attention from men and let me move around freely. But all the while, I have a definitely pampered, submissive, teasy nature and a definite love of being overpowered. When I do get dressed up, my personality’s the same (maybe a little amplified), and I’m just as likely to be wearing a smoking hot dress or a ruffly blouse with bite-me red lips as I am a suit and binder or suspenders and tie. What I love about the change is the impact it has when I get dressed up, because my love knows it’s something extra special, just for her.

    I’m curious as to where this situates me- I don’t feel androgynous at all. I’m very aware that I’m a woman and I love to express that physically. When I’m cross dressing, that’s drag- but when I do high femme, that’s drag too. I know that I’m submissive, I’ve had that figured out for a long time, but what I’m still confused about is what kind of gender(s) I’m expressing when I’m being myself.

  23. I am so glad you found my blog which led to me discovering yours. And this post, which I adore. Probably because while growing up I was forced to wear makeup and dresses and skirts, but I was always a tomboy at heart and that was at least something my family openly accepted. However, it wasn’t until I left for college that I begun to embrace my masculinity more and ultimately to become more comfortable with being a soft-butch. I think the biggest reason femmes or more feminine women are so uncomfortable with the tomboy-femme terminlogy is because of firm, rigid definitions they’ve ascribed to the label. I’m certain that most believe this label can only be applied to lesbians that are comfortable exhibiting their masculinity and they couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    I’m glad we found each other’s blogs, too! It’s interesting that this topic (and post) continues to generate a lot of interest here at SF Unbound. Tomboy femmes have more allure than most people realize! -SF

  24. Wow, what a great topic! I think P!nk and Foster embody this topic to perfection. I’m a male and I find myself perpetually attracted to tomboys. The ability to actually participate in life with a girl one swoons over can’t be replaced – and watching her scale a rockface with lacey unmentionables peeking through…sweet! Unfortunately this has gotten me caught in the midst of more than one LGB relationship.

    The question I propose to this audience is how do you know the difference between a tomboy-femme and a hetro tomboy? And, on that note, how do I keep my tomboy from being hit on by women/womyn/bois? (or will I always have to contend with competition from both sexes?)

  25. Great discussion!

    It’s taken me years to get to my safe place of being. What it’s called I haven’t a clue 🙂

    I have short hair (1/4inch), don’t wear makeup/dresses/heels, use a wallet. I’m often called “sir” until the person looks me in the eyes and then it’s a quick correction. So gender-bender/andro is the closest I identify on an external level. Femme is definetly not a phrase that comes to mind beyond my natural feminine features and “birthing hips.”

    I’m very much the gentleman in how I treat others, I like to do the “courting” romantically and I don’t identify as male. But I do love high femmes where there is male pronoun use between us while she still views and values me as a woman.

    To identify as “butch” (for me) is to embrace that I want the world to treat me as a man or to signify that I embrace stereotypical “guy traits” -which I don’t. Not to mention “butch” carries a negative connotation as being brash, rude and a bad dresser. To identify as “boi” is age inappropriate in my 38 year old mind.

    And then there’s the whole “outer” presentation of gender versus “internal” behavioral presentation. As I told a friend recently (external “femme” but internal “butch”) it’s a wonder any of us get together. 🙂

    Hi GentleAndro, I certainly respect your own desire not to ID as butch, but I think all of us should dispute those stereotypes about butches. After all, there are lots of stereotypes about femmes–e.g., femmes are weak, femmes are bottoms, femmes aren’t “real” lesbians, etc. Just because these stereotypes have been around for a long time doesn’t make them true!

    Glad you’ve arrived at a place of self-acceptance and safety with respect to your own gender journey. -SF

  26. I totally agree with doing away with the stereotypes. I included them more as the stark contrasts between what I present and what others define. I only wish dating sites (in particular) would pick up on the hint. I’m a big believer in talking about this stuff in the early days of courting (if it’s not obvious by behaviors) because presentation does not always equal intentions.

  27. Wow, how reassuring it is to see this discussion here. For years I have felt adrift at sea in an ocean of sexual islands that I can’t call home. I’ve always been attracted to tomboys, even from a very young age, and have struggled for years to openly enjoy my sexuality at the risk of being ostracized by my hetero peers, both men and women. The societal pressure on a male to appreciate the heavily butchered female image(heavy makeup, heels, fake breasts, etc.) is overwhelming and wears on me. Despite the fact that I am older, wiser, and more confident, it is only in the company of very liberal friends or LGBTs that I feel I can openly express my “tomboy” tastes.

    I was gutted when Jodie came out, not because I am not happy for her, but because it was analogous to previous experiences of mine; getting a crush and hopelessly flirting only to find out the girl was a lesbian. C’est la vie.

  28. Hey there!
    I realize I’m very late on a reply to this story, but here it is.

    I’m a tomboy, or at least I describe myself in that one word as a shortcut.
    Reading this story is definitely heart warming to see that there are people who like tomboys, and respect us.
    I do feel like most people see me as a playtoy. Fun for a few nights but not ‘settle down with’ material.
    I do feel like a good mix of both male and female characteristics. I’m not very graceful physically, I’m more rough around the edges and very muscular, but sensitivity wise, I’m more feminine.
    A lot of people tell me I’m extremely similar to the TV character Jo from the Facts of Life.
    If this makes any sense, I have the presence of a man but have very obvious female characteristics, which is what I think is my fluidity.
    One thing I do find that people give me a hard time with is for being bisexual. The world seems to only want to accept me as a lesbian.
    My favorite tomboy figures (fictional) are the main character from Stick It and Sandra Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality.

    Hi Christiana, I think it’s great that you’re an out bi tomboy. Do lesbians tend to treat you as a “playtoy” or is this something you experience from both men and women?

    While I appreciate the charms of Sandra Bullock, I’m surprised that you’d pick that film because it’s all about how the smart but unattractive tomboy must learn how to be a lady in order to be worthy of love. Wouldn’t it have been great if she still had some tomboy swagger at the end of the film?

    Thanks for writing. You sound like “settle down with” material to me 😉 -SF

  29. Howdy! Cristiana….u ain’t the only “late” one to this post….LOL I “googled” the term “tomboi femme” and this was one of the first things to “jump up”!

    I, too, thought I’d coined the phrase/description, only to “google” and discover otherwise…..but, IT’S ALL GOOD!

    I’m a 40-something tomboi femme….and this feels SO comfortable to me….I was formerly a high femme….but hadda give up the stillettos after an accident years ago. I’ve dressed this way off and on since the 80’s….it’s sooooo nice to be more “on” than “off”….

    And, Cristiana, I totally “get” you on not being considered as anything but a “playtoy”…..I’ve also been “shunned” for not being a SUPERbutch or High Femme…..not that I’ve anything against them, it’s just not me….

    Love, love, love this post (and blog)! I’ll stay tuned!

  30. Wow… can’t believe I’m only now discovering your blog, SF. Hence the super late reply.

    So here’s my input. At first I wondered about the term “tomboy femme.” And then it hit me — I think I might be exactly that! Not 100% sure (who ever really is where labels are involved??) but it feels like it fits me better than most other labels, at least. I don’t know. This is me.

    Growing up, I was so used to being labeled a “tomboy” (and hated it because it singled me out from the other kids) but that has since become a memory. I’ve been called androgynous and have even been mistaken for a boy once or twice. That still happens, occasionally. But only if people don’t make eye contact and just go according to demeanor and/or stature (I’m almost 6 ft tall with short-ish hair). Yet people don’t categorise me as butch, ever. Which is interesting to me in and of itself. Does this sound like tomboy femme to anyone? 🙂

    Anyway. Love the blog.

  31. Good evening,

    I’d like to take this opportunity to express some of my personal views on the subject of one identifying as a “Tomboi/y” if I may.
    Is it not a basic human right to identify one’s gender in terms with which one feels most comfortable with?
    I am an intersex womin and identify as both lesbian and tomboi simultaneously. These are not labels that have been forced upon me by society but rather ones that I have chosen to identify myself with. I’m nearly 47 years of age and am most comfortable using the term of tomboi to describe myself to all and sundry. Being intersex and lesbian are facts of my life, not chosen by me, however I hasten to add that I am quite comfortable with my gender and sexuality status, however it has taken me most of my life to get to this point of self awareness and acceptance. I do not consider myself to be stereotypically butch nor stereotypically femme either, this could be due to the fact that I am an intersex person. I have immensely enjoyed reading the input of your members here and have gained an enormous and wonderful wealth of information. Thanks to you all,

    Best wishes and season’s greetings,


  32. I’m hasty to fit myself into a label, but the closest to who I am at the moment is probably tomboy-femme. But the thing is, I don’t have a set style, as I’m always switching from vintage dresses to dungarees and tank tops… But I recently got my hair cut short to show a more boyish side, even when I’m wearing a skirt or a dress. My mum does pressure me quite a bit to be more feminine (every time we go out it’s always “aren’t you going to put on any make-up? Why don’t you put in your contacts to show off your pretty face?) so maybe I’m trying to push against the way she wants me to be. But I’m also a bit scared of going too far and actually ending up looking like a guy! I’m most definately not butch…

  33. I’m just not sure about all of this. I have always been a tomboy. I am heterosexuality and have two boys and a loving husband. My angle has always been anything boys can do girls can do better and my life has shown to be living proof of my mado. I have always worn jeans and refused to wear stereo typing clothing except for the occasional blouse. I like to wear makeup and do my hear but My favorite color is pink camo. I like boots and jeans and if I loose some weight I may get back into a western shirt. I’m not that over weight but still have a size 7 in mind for me. I have always worked on cars and have a maintenance degree. I took after my grandma who was a femme and believed in dressing up to go to town but believed in being independent and do as much as you can for yourself. I’m just so tired of being picked on by women (No I am not going to dress the way you want me to). I have even gone to interviews and been asked if I was gay because otherwise I would be a distraction. This last couple of years (I just turned 40), I have been being picked on by the guys because I am more masculine than they are. I can’t help it if they don’t have muscles on their arms and can do manly things. I just want to be accepted for who I am an independent go-getter that will do what it takes to get the job done without compromising my integrity. I do however have a problem with femme only because all my childhood friends would call each other sissy if they did something girly. So even though it is nice to see tomboys out their so I don’t feel alone, I think I’m going to be a rebel and just call myself tomboy. Wow just writing this helped me know who I am. Time to put my quad runner into the back of my 4X4 talk at you later. Thanks all of you for listening.

    • If you like how you look, and your husband likes how you look, who else should have a vote?

      Guys are rather sensitive about such things. I don’t envy you having to make your way amongst them if they feel their masculinity threatened. That could be difficult.

      Martine, Some of us don’t have husbands or boyfriends or partners. I welcome all femmes, but would ask you to keep in mind that this is a gender & sexually inclusive space. Alas, heteronormativity is alive and well in the world, but not, I hope, here at SF Unbound! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks for dropping by. xo SF

  34. […] sublimefemme writes, “I’m fascinated by tomboy femmes because their gender play makes visible the fluidity […]

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