Search This Blog

Monday, August 15, 2016

on femininity... part one

"What? You wanna do sumfin about it? Come at me, bro!"

Here's a fun and disturbing bit of Hollie history for you:

When I was young, my mom dressed me like a boy.
Yup. From the time I was a wee tot until I was in high school.
This isn't a joke.
I've been wanting to blog about this topic for a while to kind of explain my disdain for pants, tee shirts and baseball caps. I think I've mentioned it to a couple of bloggers in comments before - but never a full post. To spare you having to read an entire novel, I'll break this up into a few parts.

Me receiving my first bass for my 16th birthday, dressed in a men's undershirt and wide-leg goth pants. An extra large men's bowling shirt usually accompanied this outfit.

So anywho, my mother said she dressed me in boys clothing because I was a terrible tomboy and she was tired of me ruining my clothes, so she dressed me daily in something more durable.
Yes, I was very very much a tomboy but I was the girliest tomboy you could ever meet.

I played with my barbies and all that good stuff but I also climbed trees, played in the mud, caught bugs, rode a three-wheeler, swam in a dirty pond, happily slopped the hogs, practiced whip-cracking and shot birds with my BB gun (I'm not proud of that last one. That's just something country kids do).
I would have done all that and more in an a formal gown, tiara and heels if my mother allowed it.

When my mother was away I would go in her massive walk-in closet and try on her fancy clothes and jewelry, play in her makeup and perfumes just so I could see what it was like to feel and look like a lady.
At school, no boys liked me and there was rumor that I was a lesbian.
It was a rather safe assumption for them to make considering my super close best friend at the time was a bi-sexual goth who dressed in over-sized tee shirts and jeans and with me looking the way I did - I can totally see how people thought I was gay.

But this hurt me so much. I wanted a boyfriend so bad - I was absolutely loco for boys. I was the kind of girl that would fall completely in love with any boy who gave me a smile.
But since they thought I was gay AND I dressed like a boy... welp, no boyfriends for me and barely a shred of attention from any crush I had. There were a couple mini high-school romances but nothing that went beyond holding hands outside after lunch.

The crazy thing is, I wasn't even aware that I looked, dressed and acted like a boy.
It had become a part of my identity and I didn't know how to be anything or anyone else.

When I would stay with my father and sister for the weekend, they would take me shopping and buy me boys clothes too. My sister was a hip high-schooler and dressing like a boy in baggy clothes was the cool thing for black girls to at her school (circa late 90s) . They would make sure their hair was perfect, nails and makeup done but wore basketball jerseys and even men's boxer shorts under their saggy jeans.
My sister would dress me like this so I could look presentable and fit in when she took me to hang out with her friends. I still looked like a boy and hated what I was wearing but at least I looked "cool". My sister and dad preferred a more polished gentlemen's look though, so I was dressed in the most fashionable Bugle Boy polo shirts, Dockers khakis and the finest high-top Reebok basketball shoes money could buy for a 13 year old girl.

Stay tuned for part 2: Just one of the guys


  1. What an amazing post, Hollie! Thank you for sharing.

    You're giving us more reason to love you. Gender presentation is so complicated. People are simpletons who want to slot us into categories and many of us confuse them. I too was often considered gay when in fact I never was. Weird how people assume that merely from our clothes.

    And then there's our parents' influence which is huge. I can see how your mother affected you. Mine did too, in a different way.

    I respect candor and this post is awesome. Can't wait for Part Two!

  2. What a fascinating read, Hollie. You're a great writer, I hung on to every word.
    I loved learning more about you. xxx

  3. Interesting post and good to know more about your background. One thing that strikes me is that you sort of say that other people were still dressing you when you were a teenager. Didn't you have some say in it, or by then was it just more comfortable to stay the same? Anyway, I wore a lot of boys' clothes when I was young, and in high school it was men's Levis and shirts. I loved getting my brother's hand-me-downs. But at the same time, when I earned some of my own money, I bought velvet trousers and pretty shirts and cardis. No frilly stuff for me though. To each his or her own.

    1. My parents were extremely dominant and my mother is quite a control freak. I didn't have much a say in anything I did. Even when I was grown and out of the house my mother still called the shots and I didn't know any better. She still tries to do it even today but I've gotten a lot better about dealing with her control issues. I didn't get my first job until I was a senior, I started buying some of my own clothes but still had no idea how to dress like a girl.

  4. Oh man. That guitar is SO rad. :D Also, the whole wife beater and bondage pants thing. Totally me when I was in my late-teens and early 20s. Not even gunna lie. Hehe. You're awesome!

    - Anna

  5. First of all, you are so totally cute in your wife beater. Seriously cute. And secondly, you finally did get a date and then some with such an adorable guy. But, hey, I get it. My daughter was pretty rough and tumble and she CHOSE to dress like a boy so I let her. Then one day.....she wanted to wear nothing but dresses and paint her nails and spend all her money on lip gloss. Puberty perhaps. I think it's interesting that clothing is such a big part of who we are and who we are perceived to be. By the way, I had a very controlling mom, too, that insisted that I dress like a little nerdy prepster. It was so embarrassing but it made her happy so I complied. She still can't accept that I don't want to dress like the girls in the Land's End catalogue. Such an interesting, thought provoking post, Hollie.

  6. Hollie, this post is why I love reading your blog. I will be waiting for the rest of the story. And although we had different experiences growing up, one thing we do have in common was that feeling of alienation when it comes to boys. I was a great student in high school but pretty much invisible to guys. I'd like to think that that didn't really affect me, but it did....the joys of high school.

  7. I luv that last pix. It's like the cliffhanger in a to be continued series. hmmm. What's gonna happen now???!!!

  8. Clothing really does influence how we see ourselves and how others perceive us.

    Really interesting read.


  9. You have to take into account that was quite the style during that time period. I doubt there were many flouncy over-the-top girly girls schlepping around in ruffly maxis.

  10. How interesting, sad also. My sister was made to wear handmade ruffly dresses when little, with lacy socks and ribbons in her hair, now you rarely see her in a dress, so it goes both ways I suppose.


Don't by shy, you dirty little stalker you. Leave a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...