My Three Favourite…Tomboys
28th Mar 2011
Little Women‘s Jo March might be one of literature’s most beloved tomboys, but there are a handful of others that I adore almost as much. Here’s three of my favourites, and if you have any other suggestions of who we might have missed, then make sure to tell us in the comments at the end of the post…
George Kirrin from The Famous Five
With her insistence on using the masculine contraction of her birth name, Georgina, her short hair and smug satisfaction when strangers mistake her for a boy, George Kirrin is a textbook tomboy.
She competes with her male cousins in their assorted adventures, and her skills include sailing, thwarting smugglers, and finding evidence of foul play in caves, castles and secret passages.
Fiery-tempered and fiercely loyal, she and her dog Timmy are a formidable duo, and one I spent many a childhood reading session being insanely envious of, not least because George owned her own island and was allowed to romp off into all sorts of dangerous situations involving spook trains, hidden treasure and holidays in lighthouses.
And the diet of ham sandwiches and ginger beer? Sounds good to me!
Camilla Macaulay from The Secret History
The only woman in the tight-knit circle of Classics students in Donna Tartt‘s classic début novel about Hampden College, Camilla is strong, cool, collected and unapologetic, and I love the way narrator Richard Papen describes her:
Being the only female in what was basically a boys’ club must have been difficult for her. Miraculously, she didn’t compensate by becoming hard or quarrelsome.
She was still a girl, a slight lovely girl who lay in bed and ate chocolates, a girl whose hair smelled like hyacinth and whose scarves fluttered jauntily in the breeze.
But strange and marvelous as she was, a wisp of silk in a forest of black wool, she was not the fragile creature one would have her seem. In many ways she was as cool and competent as Henry; tough-minded and solitary in her habits, and in many ways as aloof.
Out in the country it was not uncommon to discover that she had slipped away, alone, out to the lake, maybe, or down to the cellar, where once I found her sitting in the big marooned sleigh, reading, her fur coat thrown over her knees.
Things would have been terribly strange and unbalanced without her. She was the Queen who finished out the suit of dark Jacks, dark King, and Joker.
She holds her own with the others, whether it’s with the constant drinking, the card games, croquet, manipulative power games or murdering, and for that she’ll always have a special place in my heart.
A gun-toting, tank-driving, post-apocalyptic anarchist with a love of sex, violence, dyed hair and tattered and safety-pinned attire, Tank Girl is a post-punk pop-culture heroine.
Taking no shit from anyone and with a devoted mutant kangaroo boyfriend who’ll do anything for her (including all the cooking), she evades enemies with ease and has no hesitations about killing anyone who gets in her way.
Originating in independent comics and fanzines, today she is beloved by an international audience and has been featured in books, collections of the original comic strips, and even a film. For news and sneak previews of forthcoming issues, have a nosey at artist Rufus Dayglo‘s Tumblr.
What do you reckon? Have I missed anyone obvious? Tell me in the comments if so!