That’s me in fourth grade.
Playing team sports year-round and growing more aware by the day of the dynamics between and differing treatment of boys and girls, I was a full-fledged tomboy by this point in my life, a stage that I now see as critical in my development as a feminist.
I’d have to consult my journals from the time (yes, this was when I started keeping them) to be sure, but I’m pretty sure Idgie Threadgoode had something to do with all of it.
“Fried Green Tomatoes” came out in 1991, which was right around this time, and it starred Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch, a woman in modern times hell bent on overcoming her midlife crisis, and Mary Stuart Masterson as Idgie, a rule-breaking, gender-bending restaurant owner in the 1930s who wouldn’t take shit from anyone.
She refused to conform to anyone’s standards and had heart big enough to love anyone who walked through her cafe’s door, including a woman named Ruth who became her life partner.
I’ve written about some of my early literary heroines before, but reading the Fannie Flagg book for this month’s book club has reminded me just how much I looked up to her during this critical stage of my life. (I even named my first cat Iggy after her.)
I have a lot more thinking and writing to do about why and how my rejection of all things feminine at an early age shaped my current idea of being a woman and a feminist, but I’m glad to have read this essay from Angi Becker Stevens on EverydayFeminism.com on making sure that celebrating tomboys isn’t an extension of enforcing patriarchal norms.
So, we’ll be talking about “Fried Green Tomatoes,” the book and the movie, at our August book club meeting. (I’m excited that my sweet sister, Chelsea, who also loved the movie and is reading the book, will be visiting us from Boise. You all can tease use about our identical haircuts in elementary school.)
Let’s plan on meeting at 7 p.m. on August 10 at Central Market North, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd. Hopefully, it won’t be too hot and we can meet outside on the patio next to the playground. (Take note that this is a Saturday, not our usual Tuesday. We’ll get back on the Tuesday schedule this fall.)