Tomboy is a graphic novel the literary world desperately needs. A major theme I ascertained from the work was being true to one’s self, regardless of society’s pulls and pushes. We definitely see this message prevail throughout Tomboy.
Liz Prince recounts her childhood, and how all she wanted to do was her own thing, and didn’t want to become a girl growing up, and liked baseball and comics a lot, and wanted to be friends with both boys and girls. She resisted the urge to become a girl and everything that society dictated that should be. “I dress like a boy because it feels natural to me.” “I liked the Liz that I was. Being a normal girl was just never an option for me.” What’s wrong with that?
I completely relate to her resistance. Boys similarly experience this. They see the magazines such as Men’s Journal (like girls see Cosmopolitan) and see the cover model’s bulging six-packs, and they sit in high school and see the athletes’ popularity and feel crappy about themselves. In the working world, they see the success of flamboyant peers, and wonder, “if I could be like that…” or “if I had just gotten that MBA…” At least, I admit that I do. Tomboy addresses these feelings of inadequacy, and to me, says, “just do your thing, because being true to yourself is more important.”
The work also addresses reconciling this with the inevitable change coupled with growing up. Liz gets her period, notices the growth of her breasts and butt, and starts feeling hormonal and romantic attraction towards boys. She realizes she’s becoming a woman, if biologically. But she doesn’t just submit to any idea of being a woman, per se; she still finds a way to be herself. And that’s beautiful.
To conclude, every artist has his/her own style of artwork, and perhaps if Liz Prince created art different than what appears in Tomboy, she wouldn’t be true to herself as an artist. In essence, this perfectly corroborates the book’s theme of being true to yourself. Critics with opinions to opposite effect, in my opinion, are wrong.