Menstuff® has compiled information on the issue of Tom Boys.

Do Mothers Create Tomboys?

There has been a major trend in medicine recently examining how things that happen in the world have an effect on our health. For example, studies have looked at how the nutrition of pregnant women might affect a child's risk of developing a disease in the future.

Well, here is an interesting study along that line. This study, conducted at City University, London, looked at how a mother’s testosterone levels can decide whether they’re more likely to have a tomboy.

Researchers found that women with higher than average levels of testosterone during pregnancy are more likely to have girls who are tomboys. They studied three-year-olds and found some of the tomboys had a tendency to prefer playing with toy trucks and racing cars and showing an interest early in sports. They were also more likely to choose boys for their closest friends.

Mind you, they started with three-year-olds here. But when women tested with low levels of testosterone during pregnancy, women tended to have girls who displayed the typical “girlie behavior” –- playing with dolls, dressing-up, and using mom’s make-up.

Environmental factors played a big role also. Tomboys tended to have older brothers and parents whose behavior was highly masculine and influenced them as they grew-up.

But as they dissected it all out and did their numbers here, they once again felt this was a significant effect that was very real. Feminine girls tended to have mothers who were low in testosterone. 

I don’t know what it all means. Testosterone plays a funny role in a woman’s body. It has a lot to do with libido. I have a study that I haven’t had a chance to do on the air yet. This is a study on young girls, teenaged girls with acne. They were found to have higher than normal levels of testosterone in their bodies.

We’re suspicious that when a 30- or 40-year-old-woman starts developing acne that she does have too much testosterone. Acne is a direct a response to too much testosterone. So you can see, it is normal, and natural even, for women and girls to have testosterone in their bodies –- but too much can have profound effects.

Source: BBC News, June 4, 2001.  

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