Newswise — Brenda Marston, curator of the Human Sexuality Collection – celebrating its 25th anniversary – in Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, says children who are being told to change their personalities to match gender stereotypes – like the girl who was ordered to stop acting like a tomboy by Timberlake Christian School earlier this week – is an example of society’s outdated view of sexuality.
"They should accept her however she identifies, and she identifies as a girl. End of story. The kind of shame this school is trying to impose on her, and the way that will control other kids' feeling of freedom to express themselves, is totally unacceptable. It's terrible what they're doing.
“The issue of dress reform – to give women more freedom to participate fully in society – was started in the 1850s, with Amelia Bloomer advocating for garments that would allow women to be involved in physical education and sports. It's too bad that the school is enforcing policies from two centuries ago. Women wearing pants was radical in the 1850s; should it be the same in 2014?
“This also reminds me of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I A Woman, also from the 1850s. Society can't have such a narrow view of what a woman can be. This little girl just wants her hair a certain way, and it's comfortable for her to wear pants and play. How can anyone deny her that?"
Media Note: An image from the Human Sexuality Collection that showcases the importance of women freely expressing themselves is available to download at: https://cornell.box.com/FemaleSexuality
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