Young women's negotiation of multiple fields of femininity and physicality in physical activity and Physical Education in an international school in Taiwan
Thomas, M. M. (2009). Young women’s negotiation of multiple fields of femininity and physicality in physical activity and Physical Education in an international school in Taiwan (Thesis, Master of Sport and Leisure Studies (MSpLS)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3601
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3601
Gender research over the past three decades has emphasised the socially constructed nature of experience in physical activity. Numerous studies have explored the influence of cultural, social, economic and political influences on young women's understandings of their bodies, physical activity, sport and physical education, although this research is limited to a focus on the western context. As a New Zealand physical education teacher in an international school in Taiwan, I set out to investigate the physical activity experiences of young women attending this school and the associated implications for teaching physical education. My study involved a focus group and in-depth interviews with four young women. I adopted a Bourdieudian approach in my data analysis in order to investigate ways in which the young women negotiated norms, rules, practices and expectations of femininity and physicality within and across multiple fields. A significant presence of an 'Asian mindset' was highlighted, which presented a focus on academic achievement and traditional Taiwanese forms of appropriate femininity and physicality. Resulting valuation systems often conflicted with those present in the physical education class. The findings revealed young women negotiated these value systems through various means. Some chose to accept and embody these values limiting their engagement in physical education, while other young women were empowered to challenge them, enhancing their engagement in physical education. This study contributes to gender and physical education research as it offers a perspective of the diverse nature of young women's experiences in physical activity within a non-western context.
The University of Waikato
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