Maddison Penn’s Major Paper Presentation

Title: “The Construction and Maintenance of a Hegemonic Masculine Ideal within Physical Education”

Supervisor: Dr. Patricia Vertinsky (Kinesiology)
Second Reader: Dr. Maria Gallo (Kinesiology)

Abstract: Despite numerous studies offering insight into more critical ways of physically educating students, Elite Boys’ Schools are still heavily focused on imparting traditional understandings of masculinity unto their students. Prescribed curriculum, traditional and anachronistic teaching pedagogy, as well as mandatory participation in rugby, operate to legitimise a certain hegemonic masculine ideal. While these operate to advertise what it means to ‘do’ masculinity, they also function to render invisible other and alternate ways of embodying masculinity. Applying Connell’s (1995) concept of hegemonic masculinity, complemented by a Foucauldian understanding of the ways in which power is maintained through surveillance, policing and discipline, this paper explores how the hegemonic masculine ideal is maintained within the Physical Education (PE) schooling context. Furthermore, this paper will offer an insight into ways in which this mainstream understanding of adolescent masculinity within the PE schooling context can be critically questioned and challenged. The aim is to offer a view of more transformative practices within PE, ones that are inclusive and free from the outdated patriarchal rhetoric of traditional PE as an inherent man-making device in Elite Boy’s Schools. By providing concrete approaches through both the use of film and dance as a critical teaching tool, it will become possible to imagine other and alternate ways of conducting PE and sport within the context of the Elite Boys’ Schooling system.