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Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes

Confessions from the Classroom


Karleen Pendleton Jiménez

Have you ever been told that you’re too girlish or too boyish? We are all potential targets of the gender police, some more so than others. And how did you respond? Did you hide or change or rebel or hurt or gleefully celebrate your style? Tomboys and Other Gender Heroes is a study that brings together gender stories from approximately 600 children and youth. Set in both urban and rural contexts, these young people show how their schools and communities respond to their bodies, passions, and imaginations. As one 13-year-old student expresses, «My flowered jeans make me feel happy because they represent the sort of feminine side to me and at the same time show my masculine side. They also make me feel like I’m a part of a large force that stands up to bullying and criticism, to express themselves and to show the world that our lives have meaning.» In this book, student writings are framed by teaching strategies and gender theory, featuring themes of sports, film, media, landscape, joyfulness, and gender creativity. The research will be of great interest to university students in the fields of education, gender, sexuality and women’s studies, sociology, social work, psychology, counseling, and child development. This book is ideal for teachers, professors, parents, and community members who hope to create accepting environments for gender diversity.


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Resources (a Handful of Favorites)


Children’s Books Ewert, M. (2008). 10,000 dresses. New York: Triangle Square. Full Rainbow Collection (6 diverse LGBTQ picture books). (2015). Toronto: Flamingo Rampant. Kilodavis, C. (2011). My princess boy. New York: Aladdin. Leaf, M. (2011). The story of Ferdinand. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. Pendleton Jiménez, K. (2000). Are you a boy or a girl? Toronto: Green Dragon Press. Adolescent and Adult Reading Bornstein, K. (1998). My gender workbook. New York: Routledge. Coyote, I. E. (2012). One in every crowd. Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press. Cruz, C. (2007). At one time Fontana was the working-class Eden. In I. Killoran & K. Pend- leton Jiménez (Eds.), Unleashing the unpopular: Talking about sexual orientation and gen- der diversity in education (pp. 34–36). Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International. Eugenides, J. (2002). Middlesex. New York: Picador. Green, F., & Friedman, M. (Eds.). (2013). Chasing rainbows: Exploring gender fluid parenting practices. Bradford, ON: Demeter Press. 158 tomboys and other gender heroes Meyer, E. J., & Pullen Sansfacon, A. (Eds.). (2014). Supporting transgender and gender creative youth. New York: Peter Lang. Selvadurai, S. (1997). Funny boy. Toronto: Emblem Editions. Spoon, R. (2012). First spring grass fire. Vancouver, BC: Arsenal Pulp Press. Winter, K. (2010). Annabel. New York: Grove Press. Films and TV Berliner, A. (Director). (1997). Ma Vie en Rose [Motion picture]. Belgium: Haut et Court. Chasnoff, D., & Chen, S. (Producers). (2009). Straightlaced—How gender’s got us all tied up [Motion picture]. San Francisco: Groundspark. Gaitán, F. (Creator). (2006–2010). Ugly Betty...

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