“I have been a lifelong tomboy, sometimes being read as strong because of being more masculine, sometimes being read as weird because I was seen as not being feminine enough. Either way, I learned from an early age how important gender was for me, and those around me.”
Trent University professor, Dr. Karleen Pendleton Jiménez gave her audience a candid and honest glimpse into her own childhood on November 22 at a launch for her new book, Tomboys and other Gender Heroes, at Trent University Durham – Greater Toronto Area.
Prof. Pendleton Jiménez, who works in both the School of Education and the Child and Youth Studies program, captured her audience of students, faculty, staff and community members with an interactive event, beginning with a video entitled Tomboy, which Prof. Pendleton Jiménez’s used in her research to inspire student storytelling, followed by a reading from her book. The afternoon was capped off with the musical talents of Toronto-based singer/songwriter Kate Reid, whose comedic LGBTQ-themed songs complimented the launch.
The book, as described by a colleague, is “an unprecedented study of the thoughts and reflections of local students on gender and gender studies.” Set in both urban and rural contexts, the book provides endless examples of how young people interpret the ways in which schools and communities respond to their bodies, passions, and imaginations.
“I wrote this book as a way of collecting and affirming their experiences and ideas about gender,” notes Prof. Pendleton Jiménez. “I also wrote it to offer anyone working with young people (teachers, counselors, child and youth workers, coaches, etc.) strategies for creating loving and supportive environments for gender diversity.”
A self-identified social advocate, Prof. Pendleton Jiménez is intensely involved in advocating for gender curriculum in schools. “Gender development should be a part of the school curriculum,” she confirms. “Parents, teachers and students shouldn’t have to go looking outside of schools for resources.”
After the launch, Prof. Pendleton Jiménez held a reception and gave her guests the opportunity to purchase the book, try their hand at some gender activities, and made gender-themed lesson plans and rubrics available to all.
“Ultimately, I want all students to feel confident in themselves. In this way can we can help reduce and, someday, eliminate gender-based bullying.”