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Former NOW President Patricia Ireland '66 Assails "Backward Thinking"

December 14, 2009

Patricia_Ireland 2006.jpgDecember 14, 2009, Greencastle, Ind. — "There is nothing wrong with being glamorous -- but everything wrong with placing women in a box where they're expected to conform with someone else's expectations," argues Patricia Ireland, former president of the National Organization for Women. Ireland, a member of DePauw University's Class of 1966, issued a statement to the Orlando Sentinel in response to a Florida sportswriter's criticism of the Web site for Florida State University's women's basketball team, which features photos of team members in elegant dresses. A column suggested that the images (one is seen below) are objectionable and send questionable messages to young women.

"Women fought long and hard for Title IX so we could put on a uniform and compete on the court -- without having to sacrifice being women," Ireland writes. "We didn't fight against dresses, but did fight against the fallacy that said if you wore a dress, you couldn't be a competitor. To now suggest the opposite -- that if you playFSU Women 2009a.jpg sports you shouldn't wear a dress -- is the same kind of backward thinking that in the past attempted to block women from full equality."

She concludes, "We should accept these FSU women athletes for who they are and celebrate their achievements on and off the court. And we should support them not by criticizing what they choose to wear, but by attending their games, supporting their teams and honoring their competitive spirit."

Read the complete statement at the Sentinel's Web site.

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