The Pink Dumbbell Problem: A Feminist Analysis of Gender-Specific Fitness Myths

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Roberts, Terri M.
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Mount Saint Vincent University
This thesis explores the concept of Gender-Specific Fitness Myths (GSFMs) as identified by certified fitness instructors in Nova Scotia, Canada. Thirty-one certified fitness instructors participated in a survey about whether they did, or did not, experience workplace interactions that were rooted in incorrect and gender-biased information. The information participants provided on their own age, gender, and which fitness certifications they have revealed there is no one group of fitness instructors that has had more or fewer of these experiences than any other. Qualitative analysis of their responses revealed several themes in which GSFMs could be categorized and analyzed for origin and meaning. The survey responses also indicate that fitness instructors who are aware of and able to recognize GSFMs are responding with appropriate pedagogical strategies, but that they are also seeking more resources to do this. This research concludes with a series of recommendation that could improve access to physical activity spaces for girls and women.
Fitness myths, fitness instruction, gender