NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ924713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-1740-8989
Exploring How Girls Navigate Their Embodied Identities in Physical Education
Fisette, Jennifer L.
Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, v16 n2 p179-196 2011
Background: Educating adolescent girls about their bodies provides girls with the opportunity to make meaning of their embodied identities for themselves. Knowledge of, and understanding of, embodiment has the potential for adolescent girls to be empowered within the physical education context. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how adolescent girls articulate their embodiment and navigate their embodied identities within the public and private physical education context. Two research questions were addressed: (1) how do adolescent girls articulate their embodiment within the physical education context?; and (2) how do adolescent girls navigate and negotiate their socially constructed embodied identities within the public and private physical education context? Participants and setting: Participants were eight seventh grade girls in a same-gender and coeducational physical education class in a suburban middle school located in the Northeast, United States. Multiple data sources were used to explore adolescent girls' embodiment in physical education. Data collection: Data sources included: (1) critical incidents forms; (2) formal interviews with the adolescent girls; (3) journals; and (4) descriptive field notes of the girls' physical education classes. Data analysis: Data analysis was ongoing throughout the data collection process. Field notes were word-processed into narratives and interviews were transcribed verbatim. Critical incidents forms, transcriptions, journals, and field notes were coded using content analysis and the constant comparative method. Findings: Results indicated that participants' embodied identities in physical education focused primarily on the socially constructed idealized female body. Two major sections will represent the findings of the data: (1) meaning making of the body: the outer shell; and (2) public display of physical body: "all eyes on me". A central category is used to summarize the findings at the end of the results section. First, most participants' thoughts, feelings, and perceptions focused on the physical aspect of their bodies. Physical appearance, specifically body size and dress attire, was a repeated topic when participants provided descriptions of their own bodies. Second, aspects of physical education that publicized participants' bodies were changing clothes in the locker room, exposing the body based on clothing attire, and comparing self to others within activities. These eight girls were able to articulate their embodiment based on their current understanding of who they are, who they believe they ought to be, and how they believe others perceive them. Based on participants' own sense of self and concern about how others may survey and judge them, they created strategies (individually and collaboratively) to feel comfortable, safe, and trusting of others within the physical education environment.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A