This is what I learned about the body on social media: PETE students’ experiences with body pressure and body positivity
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In physical education (PE), learning about and with the body is central. During their physical education teacher education (PETE) program, students are presented with different understandings and practices regarding the body. However, PETE students understanding of the body are also influenced by sites beyond formal schooling. One such site is social media. There is limited knowledge regarding PETE students and their reflections on how the body is presented on social media. Inspired by activist approaches to PE, this article focuses on third-year PETE students’ critical reflections about different presentations of the body on social media. The data material consists of the PETE students’ visual photos, transcribed text from group conversations, and reflection logs. Working with the visual as public pedagogy of the body, our goal has been to enable the PETE students to reflect and raise critical awareness about different presentations of the body on social media and discuss how this approach can be used in PE teaching. The analysis revealed two contrasting stories about the body on social media: body pressure, and body positivity. Our research makes visible the complexities and paradoxes of social media as public pedagogy, its impact on PETE students’ embodied experiences, and their reflections on how they can work with social media as future PE teachers.