Blog Post

Tomboy Meaning (Queer Slang)

If you’re a gay woman, there’s a good chance you went through a hard “tomboy” phase. A “tomboy” can often be a soft butch or butch in the making. Some tomboy iconography: backwards hat, board shorts, socks with sandals, flannel, long sleeved everything, Timberlands, basketball jersey, etc. Think: Mary Kate in It Takes Two or Gabriella in Brink

A tomboy is usually a young woman who dresses with a more “masculine” style. They tend to be gay/queer women (specifically butches/soft butches) in the making. 

What is tomboy fashion?

Merriam-Webster defines “tomboy” as “a girl who behaves in a manner usually considered boyish.” Young women are called “tomboys” if they dress with a more masculine-leaning style. Like if a girl prefers jeans over dresses. A tomboy might also be into sports and the outdoors, although more feminine and indoor tomboys do exist. They can veer into Wildfang lesbian-territory, with a passion for tropical-themed button-downs. 

Download HER app

Tomboys tend to be the aesthetic opposite of femme lesbians or high femmes. They’re usually more aligned with butches, soft butches, and chapstick lesbians. Tomboy lesbians and softball lesbians are also in the same part of the lesbian venn diagram. 

For some, “tomboy” is a brief phase in their youth, for other dykes it’s a lifestyle. For all of us, it’s any time we put on Doc Martens. One could argue every lesbian has a little tomboy to them. Maybe “tomboy” is the essence of dyke energy. Maybe we’re all a little bit Ashley and a little bit Mary Kate. Ya know? 

This is part of our official queer glossary – check it out!