Nina Power, the senior editor for Compact Magazine, is decrying the “war on tomboys,” contending it is normal for girls to be interested in masculine hobbies or to wear boyish clothing and they should not be pressured to change gender.
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“Many women are tomboys growing up,” she tweeted, sharing a childhood photo. “This is me at age ten or 11 in the early nineties. I wore androgynous, masculine clothes until around the age 23, friends and interest all skewed masculine, and not a single person ever suggested any of these things have made me a boy or a man. We have gone backwards.”
“The girl in the photograph is around 10 or 11. She’s wearing beige chinos, a sweatshirt, and purple Converse sneakers. She’s crouching down in the grass by a stone wall, and her hair is some sort of a messy layered mullet. She is healthy and smiling in a relaxed way, with wonky teeth too large for her mouth. Above all, she looks like a boy,” Power wrote in Compact Magazine.
“I am the girl in the picture. I don’t know exactly when it was taken, but it’s from around 1991. I posted it on Twitter in response to a tweet by Bev Jackson, one of the cofounders of LGB Alliance, a UK organization that campaigns for lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights. Jackson wrote, ‘Let’s all do our best to promote positive images of tomboys,'” she added.
“I know why Jackson said this. It was totally normal, until quite recently, for girls to be boyish without interference. Some grew up to be gay or bisexual; many didn’t. Quite a few girls dressed boyishly and had interests typically associated with boys—machines, adventure, Dungeons & Dragons, football—but no one had a problem with it. No one would have dreamed of suggesting that such behavior indicated that the tomboy was really a boy trapped in a girl’s body. In fact, no one said anything about it at all,” she recalled.
Many women are Tomboys growing up. This is me at 10/11 in the early '90s. I wore androgynous/"masculine" clothes until around 23; friends and interests also skewed masculine.
Not a single person ever suggested any of these things made me a boy or a man. We have gone backwards. pic.twitter.com/4GTA1yq6fR
— Nina Power (@Nina_Compact) January 23, 2023
Power went on to relate that tomboy behavior was and still is normal and that children were free to act as they wished not so long ago. Not so anymore.
“Between then and now, however, something sinister has occurred: an elevation of the importance of gender over character, identity over becoming. Today, the boyish girl is in danger of being told she was ‘born in the wrong body,’ and whisked off to a gender clinic to begin the journey from puberty blockers to breast removal to reproductive surgery and, ultimately, infertility. Setting children on this path—one that many regret—is an obvious, grotesque harm. We have taken a terribly wrong turn in allowing pharmaceutical companies to construct lifelong patients out of healthy children,” she remarked.
“We never imagined that we could opt out of our bodies. The idea that one could ‘change sex’ or pause puberty would have seemed incomprehensible then. Besides, we wanted to grow up. And even then we knew that this entailed confronting suffering. To be an adult means accepting loss, pain, and responsibility. Our culture has become increasingly unable to do this. We now live in an infantile, padded world where everyone is treated as fragile and in need of protection from potential upset. But this cosseting is more harmful than what it seeks to prevent. It places experience itself on hold, the very process that allows everyone to understand that life is frequently unfair and upsetting, but also shows them how to deal with it,” she stated.
Epistemology haunts the Tomboy question – how do we know what sex we are? “Gender identity” (the sex one “really” is) is presented as a revelation of feeling/knowledge. This claim is apparently nothing to do with social context, but rather is something “inner,” “felt,””personal.”
— Nina Power (@Nina_Compact) January 25, 2023
In her piece addressing the issue, Power asserts that adults have to own up to their duty to “protect children from their own desires” without deciding what direction their life should take concerning gender.
“I grew out of being a tomboy and became more feminine in my early 20s, but if you’d have asked me at 11 if I wanted to be a boy, I would have said, “Yes.” What would have been a youthful whim, based on nothing more than identifying with my friends, would today perhaps be seen as my staking out some deeper truth about this mysterious contemporary idol named ‘gender.’ But idols are merely gaudy distractions. The subject of the photograph may seem boyish, but that person was a girl then, and is a woman now, and this reality is beautiful to me,” she concluded in her post.
Power recounted to Fox News’ “America Reports” during an interview that in the 90s there was far “less pressure” put on children concerning what their interests and desires were.
But in reality, we are absolutely social: we are profoundly influenced by our family, friends, culture. None of us are sealed atoms.
We *are* our M/F bodies. We might not like that fact sometimes. But the idea that we “know” that we have the wrong one can only come from outside.
— Nina Power (@Nina_Compact) January 25, 2023
“Children don’t have all the truth at their command and… it’s difficult to think long term when you’re young,” Power commented. “I think we’re worried that… kids might be pushed or feel pressure — peer pressure either from friends or school or from the Internet — into making irreversible decisions that they will then regret.”
“I think a lot of us in the UK are very worried that the moment a child becomes unhappy or feels unhappy with his or her body, that there’s immediately a kind of rush to somehow diagnose this unhappiness,” she pointed out. “I think a lot of people are worried about the situation where young children might be put on a particular course, either through puberty blockers or through drugs or surgery, that doesn’t really address the problem and that actually will lead to a lot of a lot more harm, a lot more unhappiness.”
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