1087 Tomboy

Rebecca talks about growing up as a tomboy and what made her change.


Gareth: Okay, so Rebecca, we just talked about kids and technology, and you asked me whether or not I should give a cellphone to my son.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Gareth: Now, I would like you to give me a little bit of advice for my daughter. I have a daughter, and she's only seven months old, but I'm worried about when she's older, when she gets a boyfriend, and when she has her first date, and when she'll start wearing make-up, so could you kind of give me some advice about this?

Rebecca: Well, I think maybe I had a bit of an unusual experience. My mom actually made me wear make-up. When I got into high school, it was like -- you know, in middle school, I was the kid with you know braces and glasses, stuck in a book, and my mom was like you can't do that in high school, you 'll never meet anyone, so she took away my glasses and made me get contacts. And I couldn't do anything about the braces, but you know, as long as you cover mouth or do something weird when you smile.

Gareth: Wow, that sounds quite the opposite to many of my friends, like they all wanted to wear make-up, and their parents wouldn't let them.

Rebecca: No, I was a tomboy. My mom was actually kind of worried, like, she's like, do you have any interest at all in girlie things. I was like, no, I don't like shoes, I don't like clothes, I don't need a purse. I'll just go climb a tree.

Gareth: So, do you think it's important as a parent to steer your children to like kind of sculpt them, and make them into more rounded people, or do you think you should just let them go?

Rebecca: At the time, I think I actually resented my mom for it, cause like she waxed my eyebrows. My mom removed my eyebrows. She sat me down and was like 'you have a unibrow that is not acceptable' and she pinned me down and ripped them out, and I screamed and I hated her for weeks.

Gareth: Wow, how old were you when she did that?

Rebecca: It was the end of middle school sometime. But middle school, high school, somewhere in that area.

Gareth: So like fifteen?

Rebecca: Fifteenish, yeah. I didn't shave either. My mom actually shaved my legs the first time. She was like you need to shave this now.


Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

stuck in a book


I was always stuck in a book.

When you are stuck in a book that means you read very seriously and do not notice other things around you. We joke the person is 'stuck' because perhaps they are reading with their nose very close to the book. Notice the following:

  1. On the weekend I love to just get stuck in a book for hours.
  2. That child is always stuck in a book. He needs to play more.



I was a tomboy as a child.

A tomboy is a girl or young woman who acts just like a boy or a man. A tomboy usually dresses like a boy and likes things boys do. Here are two examples.

  1. She had three older brothers, so she grew up a tomboy.
  2. As a child she was a tomboy, but now she is very feminine.

girlie things


I was interested in girlie things.

Girlie things are things girls traditionally like, such as dolls, dresses and make-up. Notice the following:

  1. She is always buying girlie things like perfume and make-up.
  2. As a boy growing up, he secretly liked girlie things.

steer (someone to something)


As a parent you steer you children to like things you do.

When you steer something, you control it by moving a handle, like a steering wheel in a car. So when you steer a person, you try to make them behave in your interest. Notice the following:

  1. His father steered him to a career in business, but he wanted to be a musician.
  2. His friends steered him into a life of crime.

sculpt (someone)


As a parent you kind of sculpt them.

A sculpture is a piece of art that is made my hand. So when we sculpt people, we try to make them into something we want them to be. Notice the following:

  1. Parents often try to sculpt their children into successful adults.
  2. It is harmful to try to sculpt children into people they do not want to be.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
stuck • sculpt • girlie
tomboy • steer
  1. She is an adult but still likes things.
  2. He always has his face in a magazine.
  3. Bodybuilders try to their bodies with weight training.
  4. My dad tried to me into a career in law.
  5. She was a and not into girlie things.