Sexualities, Genders, And Fatness In Physical Education By Heather Sykes

1466 Words 6 Pages
“Queer Bodies: Sexualities, Genders, & Fatness in Physical Education” is a research based novel by Heather Sykes. Sykes is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto and specializes in educational studies and physical education (Sykes, 2011). Heather Sykes has been published in a variety of academic journals for her research in critically analyzing issues of gender, sexuality and fatness in physical education as well as sports sociology. Her book, “Queer Bodies: Sexualities, Genders, & Fatness in Physical Education,” was published in 2011 by Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. based out of New York, New York. Despite being published by an American publication company, the bulk of Sykes’s research comes from Canadian citizens who identify as …show more content…
4). In other words, there cannot be queer bodies, without the normalized body. Society states that the idealized body is one that is white, straight, slender, and one specific gender, and anyone outside that distinctive circle is classified as queer. Sykes demonstrates the extreme flaws within this system and the tragic consequences that result from such a system. Examples of these tragic consequences of the normalized and queer body coexisting are fears such as transphobia, homophobia and fatphobia (Sykes, 2011). These phobias then result in discriminating attitudes and biases of queer bodies, and thus create a discriminatory environment for queer bodies in physical education. We ultimately set up these individuals for failure within physical education, and instill lifelong negativity surrounding physical activity. For example, a physical education teacher, who prides themselves on the ideals of health and wellness, have fatphobias to some degree, and thus fears his students becoming fat or being fat. This fatphobia then drives him to believe his fat students cannot perform certain abilities, and this results in a discriminatory …show more content…
It was a very dense and research-intensive novel, but Heather Sykes executed her arguments eloquently and really causes the reader to question the current physical education curriculum and standards. I learned so much about my future profession and myself by reading this book, and I highly recommend anyone considering entering physical education read it too. This novel provided me with a greater understanding of what the queer body is and how these people learn to operate through physical education despite their hardships. It also gave me the opportunity to be self-aware of the queer body, and will allow me to analyze hardships for people with queer bodies that many physical educators overlook. For example, I will not identify push-ups on your knees as “girl push ups” and I will not allow this kind of push up to be done by my patients because it insinuates that specific genders have specific kinds of movements and also alienates individuals who don’t identify as either male or female. It’s very simple and minute actions like I stated above, that can make a huge impact within physical education, and this book can start to make physical educators aware of these actions and attitudes. This book is not a signal to change in order to solely benefit individuals with queer bodies but to benefit everyone in physical

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