Most likely, tomboyism is the result of a complex interplay of genetics, prenatal hormonal influences, socialization, unconscious choice, and family structure.Hines also showed that tomboys are more likely to have brothers and parents who exhibit highly masculine behavior.Once a week, Maryellen White can be found at a local bar, watching Monday Night Football with her brothers.The 31-year-old accountant is also not averse to an evening at Hooters, drinking beer with her guy friends, watching sports, and playing a game of "real or fake"—that is, assessing the endowments of passing waitresses."If you ask my opinion," she explains, "you better be prepared for the truth."Prenatal hormones may also play a role.Female babies exposed to higher levels of prenatal testosterone exhibit more "masculine-typical" behaviors, playing more with male-typical toys like trucks, race cars, and guns, and choosing boys as friends, according to a study led by Melissa Hines, a psychologist at City University, London.
White is a classic tomboy, a female who engages in activities long considered primarily the domain of males.As young girls, tomboys shun Barbie dolls in favor of games that emphasize physicality and competition.They resist conventional feminine standards—avoiding pink clothes, lipstick, and nail polish—and often excel in sports.While "tomboy" is largely a term applied to prepubescent girls who prefer Tonka trucks to tea parties, some women retain tomboy characteristics into adulthood, gamely coaching the company softball team and downing brews with the guys. On the simplest level, some girls are naturally predisposed to more active, "rough and tumble" pursuits.For others, tomboyism may reflect a desire to identify with the world of men.Masculinity—as measured by such traits as aggression, leadership, individualism, and self-reliance—also correlates with higher self-esteem in both boys and girls.