Parallel Session 1

Diverse Bodies on the Move: Redressing Stigma and Inequitable Power Relations in Physical Culture



Bodies and physical culture are incredibly diverse. Unfortunately, not everyone has welcoming and pleasurable experiences in motion, and many people face multiple barriers to physical activity. These barriers ~ be they racist, ableist, sexist, ageist, homophobic, healthiest, and/or sizeist ~ intersect to deny the basic human rights to play and health. These barriers also stifle the joy of recreational movement, dance, play, and sport via body-based stigma. In this 90 minute interactive workshop we are going to unpack stigma along many social dimensions related to these barriers, encourage you to move & grove in diverse ways, while thinking and ‘restinking’ issues of body-based stigma. Workshop topics include: (i) introduction to unpacking stigma; (ii) size stigma and risky public health messaging; (iii) racialized stigma and stories of newcomer inactivity; (iv) transnational stigma and the experiences before and after immigration; (v) gendered stigma in international media narratives and PE curriculum; (vi) healthist stigma in school-based food policies and curriculum; and (vii) a lessons learned wrap-up for redressing stigma. 


Knowledge Level: All. Parents, students, teachers, recreation leaders, public health professionals are among those who may find the topic of interest. 



Workshop Moderator:

Margaret MacNeill is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and PE at the University of Toronto (UT). She is cross-appointed to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Director of the Media and Motion Collaboratory at the Goldring Centre, serves on the executive board of the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women’s Health, and is an International Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. Broad areas of research and teaching include health communication, physical cultural studies, health media studies, human rights and Olympic media studies. Her current research projects include: participatory action research with athletes to examine social media rights and health ambassador programs; active health literacy in GTA activities; and is producing a documentary about indigeneity, gendered identities and youth lacrosse culture. Her favourite activities include hiking, skiing, lacrosse, and cartwheels in the park.

Workshop Co-Presenters:

Laura Elliott is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate Department Exercise Sciences at UT and is a physical education teacher in the Toronto District School Board. She received her Masters degree in Social Justice Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Laura’s PhD research critically examines how Canadian and Brazilian students conceptualize and experience gendered and racialized identities and relationships within physical education classes and media narratives of the ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ body. Laura’s current research will contribute to health and physical education and public health policy at national and international levels. It is her hope that the capturing the voices of young people for this project will assist in breaking down gendered and cultural barriers in PE and sexual education courses in Canada and internationally. Laura looks forward to sharing her research and practical experiences with the audience at NEDIC in 2017.

Sarah K. Gray is a PhD candidate in the Department of Exercise Science in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at The University of Toronto. She has worked as a secondary school science and physical education teacher within Ontario. Sarah has worked across the province facilitating workshops for educational workers. She is currently employed as an instructional program leader in research and accountability with the Halton District School Board in Ontario. Sarah’s master’s research examined nutritional knowledge, eating behaviours and body image of adolescent females. Her current doctoral research explores sex, gender and their intersections within health and physical education courses and policy. 

Debra Kriger spends most of her time asking folks to sculpt bodies and use collage to give their creations lives and identities as a PhD candidate in the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences, sociocultural stream, at the University of Toronto. Her CIHR funded PhD research, ‘Beyond the Present Fat: Risk and Body-Size Stigma in Public Health’, uses arts-based methods to examine how we understand quotidian concepts that shape our health. Debra also dabbles in research on queer hair style, and has been involved in projects regarding critical health, anti-racism and oppression of Indigeneity, gender and sexuality in sport, and sexual violence. Her academic and professional background is in epidemiology and public health.

Urooj Shahzadi is a Master of Science candidate in the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences (UT). Using Chai & Chat focus groups, Urooj is exploring the experiences of Pakistani women in Toronto. In the GTA, she is also Project Coordinator at Newcomer Women’s Services. 

Bahar Tajrobehkar is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Department of Exercise Sciences at UT. She is an Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Research Fellow. Her doctoral research involves critically examining the physical education experiences of Iranian female immigrants in Canada and Iran, with particular attention to the intersections of gender, ethnic, and religious (or the lack thereof) identities using a post-colonial feminist approach. During her Master’s research, Bahar studied women’s bodybuilding competitions, and the ways in which hegemonic femininity is mandated, constructed and understood in these competitions.  Bahar’s broader academic and research interests include immigrant experiences, education policy, sex work, and gender expression/performance.