Body image(s): Problematizing future physical education teachers’ beliefs about the body and physical activity through visual imagery
Visual culture affects the way people understand the world and themselves, contributing to the creation of certain roles and stereotypes, some of which are related to body image. This study focused on interrogating future physical education teachers’ beliefs about the body and physical activity to understand the construction of bodily subjectivities and their perceptions of how these are influenced by visual (physical) culture. Data were collected through the use of visual methods consisting of photo-elicitation and individual interviews with 23 students from a Primary Education Degree with a specialization in physical education at a Spanish university. Data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The results of the study show that these future physical education teachers are aware of both the great influence of gender stereotypes and the values of consumerism in the field of physical activity stemming largely from the media, which inevitably will shape their future professional practice. However, the results also highlight how these future physical education teachers consider and position the subject of physical education as an important space where they could help students problematize and challenge these beliefs. We suggest that a focus on visual (physical) literacy is needed for future physical education teachers (and their students) to understand the world from a socially critical perspective and transform it in the interest of equity and social justice.
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