Stereotypical Views of Beauty and Boys STILL Not Letting Girls Play: A Student-Centered Curriculum for Young Girls Through an After-School Activist Approach

in Journal of Teaching in Physical Education
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  • 1 George Mason University
  • 2 California State University
  • 3 University of South Florida
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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how a student-centered curriculum engaged participants in critical analysis of the “female ideal” and to identify perceived barriers to physical activity. Method: Participants were nine fifth and sixth grade Hispanic/Latina or mixed race girls, and two researchers at an urban elementary school in Southern California. Participants met one to two times per week in an after-school program. Data sources included researcher and participant journals, field notes, and semistructured interviews. Trustworthiness and credibility were established through prolonged engagement, member checks, and peer reviewer. Results: Two themes permeated the data. The first theme involved boys acting as a barrier to physical activity. The second theme involved alignment with the ideal female body. Discussion: This study highlights how boys still act as barriers to girls’ physical activity in many school settings, but also identifies how role models for girls have increased girls’ ability to critically examine media messages.

Marttinen is with George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA. Meza is with the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, CA, USA. Flory is with the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA.

Marttinen (rmarttin@gmu.edu) is corresponding author.
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