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Almost everyone needs role models, especially when growing up. We don't have to be "given" people to look up to; we tend to find them ourselves, based on our hobbies and our goals for the future.

Like many other little girls and tomboys, my role models were all male. I didn't pick them based on gender -- as someone who liked action and explosions and car chases, I just didn't see any women on TV doing these things. I doubt I'd have been biased in favor of women anyway, because as a kid I really thought that we were all people, and gender really didn't mean much more than your hair-color did.

But then I realized I was wrong, oh no! I kept my usual heroes right up until age 15 or 16, when it finally hit me -- I was hoping to grow up into someone I could not be, because all the people I admired were men. I couldn't be like any of my heroes. I was doomed.

It's so easy to fall into this trap. Society tells us that boys do this and girls do that, and we believe it. What's worse is that we believe it even when we ourselves are living proof that not all girls act like that, dress like that, or want to be that certain way. Instead of assuming what we've been told is false, we assume there's something wrong with us. We try to fit in with "our" group, try to make ourselves more girlish or less aggressive, and sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't.

Those tomboys who can't make themselves fit in with the other girls are often at a loss for what to do. People will ask you outright "Why do you dress like a guy? Why do you act like one? Why don't you wear girls' clothes or do the things girls do?" Being confronted with this type of response from society, many tomboys will conclude -- like I once did -- that if they're so completely unlike a girl and coincidentally so much like a boy...well, they must be a boy! That's the only explanation here, because their very nature is somehow contrary to what's going on in their underpants.

And the irony of changing yourself with hormones, just so you can be more like yourself and so people will accept you as yourself is...painful, to say the least. Because what sets tomboys apart from FtMs is that we're already pretty OK with our physical selves...we just want to be seen as who we are, not as a failed girl or a counterfeit boy.

While growing up I really needed to see good, solid examples of normal people like myself, people who were "boyish" in looks and personality while having girl equipment. If I could have looked at myself in the context of "I'm just like her and she's OK" I believe things would have been much easier. 

^^  Park Yonghee, model  ^^

 ^^ Agyness Deyn, model ^^

^^ Hyun Bihyul, model, singer and dancer ^^ 

^^ Li Yuchun (Chris Li), singer and dancer ^^

^^  Kate Moennig, actress  ^^ 

^^  The inimitable Joan Jett, musician  ^^ 

^^  StayXXX, cosplayer  ^^ 

Chinese tomboys Never and Tyrant.
(Can you even imagine "real guys" who look this cute at age 20? Didn't think so!)

...more to come, of course. These are just a few of my favorites; please overlook my obvious prejudice in favor of Asians c_c;