This paper aims to discuss critically the aversion of girls on physical education in secondary school. The discussion evolves on the determined points that explain the girls’ avoidance on the non-academic subject including the physicality of women as the ideal of femininity, the immateriality of physical education, and pedagogy of teachers.
Society expects girls or women to be physically beautiful without traces of imperfections or flaws. Callaghan (1994) indicates that the body is the standard measurement of a girl’s beauty because they are the object of men’s pleasure. Thus, the society structured what is considered as beautiful that girls must conform. The author emphasizes that this perception creates power struggle in the concept of feminism and masculinity. Women’s body is subjected to scrutiny because of the masculine’s perception of its weakness and limited endurance to engage in physical activities such as “marathons, weightlifting, and cycling” (United Nations, 2007, p.2).
Recently, the society is creating another image of a girl. The incorporation of physical education is the result of bringing consciousness and awareness to the girl’s body. According to Garrett (2004, p.224), the western culture spread the new concept of a beautiful body is thin while fat is considered as “ugly.” The promotion of physical education is to entice girls to participate to achieve a beautiful body. This contradicts the perception of the United Nations (2007, p.8) that “sport as a vehicle for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” If there is really equality in gender through physical education, then girls must not be conscious with their bodies as the standard of beauty, but the opposite happens. The feminist view asserts that the standard norms for the physical attribute of girls resulted to their continuous checking of themselves whether they look good or
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