Who are tomboys and why should we study them?

J. Michael Bailey*, Kathleen T. Bechtold, Sheri A. Berenbaum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Tomboys are girls who behave like boys and, as such, challenge some theories of sex-typing. We recruited tomboys (N = 60) ages 4-9 through the media and compared them with their sisters (N = 15) and brothers (N = 20) on measures of playmate preference, sex-typed activities and interests, and gender identity. On nearly all measures, tomboys were substantially and significantly more masculine than their sisters, but they were generally less masculine than their brothers. We outline some scientific benefits of studying tomboys and describe some goals and initial findings of the Tomboy Project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Sexual Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Gender development
  • Gender nonconformity
  • Gender roles
  • Sex-atypicality
  • Tomboys

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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