PPL’s 2022 Exhibition & Program Series Will Kick Off April 1; Tomboy Exhibition Opens April 1

March 22, 2022

Providence Public Library is pleased to announce its 2022 Exhibition & Program Series is back in person and will kick off April 1. Program and events will run through June 30 . This year’s program series is entitled Identities and our spring exhibition is entitled Tomboy. The exhibition and all events are free and open to the public.

Who we are is always changing. Through seasons of introspection and upheaval, the identities we take on, become, are given, and encounter intersect to define and redefine us. The Identities series of exhibitions and programs offers new ways of exploring who we want to be and who we are. Try something unexpected, learn a new skill, meet people like yourself, all at the Library. And as part of the Identities Series, don’t forget to check out our spring exhibition, Tomboy, which takes a look at the many meanings of that rough-and-tumble identity throughout history!

Providence Public Library, 150 Empire Street, Providence. For continually updated calendar of programs and events, visit: https://www.provlib.org/programs-exhibitions/ Visit Tomboy Exhibit during Library’s open hours.

Appearing first in the 1590s, the term “tomboy” was defined as a “wild, romping girl, who acts like a spirited boy”; or “strumpet, bold and immodest woman”.* This exhibition interrogates the history of cultural expectations and gender norms for girls & women, especially in the interplay between lifestyle, aesthetic, play and self-identity. It looks at historical shifts in definitions of femininity and gender to understand how tomboys have challenged cultural norms to have a dynamic influence on fashion, literature, sports and popular culture.

Visitors are encouraged to ask themselves about the relevance of the tomboy today. How have various societies and cultures defined femininity? Does the term “tomboy” hold meaning currently? As society has developed a more nuanced understanding of femininity, is it a term that holds continued relevance? If so, for whom? Do current cultural conversations about the intersections of gender identity and queerness complicate the use of the term? In what ways?

We invite you to learn more by visiting the exhibition (PPL’s Joan T. Boghassion Gallery, 3rd floor, will be open during Library’s open hours), attending programs and events, and checking out our suggested videos and readings about tomboys.

Exhibition produced in partnership with the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University.