Challenging Weight-Based Oppression Through Critical Education
Edited By Erin Cameron and Constance Russell
Part Three: Researching Fat Pedagogies
Part Three Researching Fat Pedagogies Eleven Fat Bullying of Girls in Elementary and Secondary Schools: Implications for Teacher Education Hannah McNinch Bullying in schools is linked to various forms of oppression: racism, homophobia, sexism, and clas- sism, to name a few (Walton, 2005) However, one form of bullying that remains barely addressed, and indeed is blatantly tolerated if not perpetuated by adults in power, is related to body size In an attempt to understand this phenomenon better and to raise awareness, I focused my Master of Education thesis research on fat bullying in elementary and secondary school contexts I used a qualitative approach and interviewed six female pre-service teachers (ie, students in the final year of their Bachelor of Education [BEd] program who spend significant time in schools on practicum and who will soon be certified teachers) Using pseudonyms to protect their identities, I analyzed their retrospective accounts of being bullied on the basis of being labeled fat and their future plans for addressing fat bullying as teachers Using critical discourse analysis, the results revealed systemic oppression of fat youth through bullying and exclusion that was often tolerated, and occasionally even encouraged, by staff in health and physical education (HPE) settings such as gymnasiums, outdoor fields, and the girls’ change room, as well as other environments including classrooms, the cafeteria, and recess space Further, I found that these participants, although once victims of fat bullying, reproduced fat-phobic discourse when discussing their experiences and future plans, thereby creating the possibility that...
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