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Physical Activity for Any-Body: Body Positivity and Inclusivity Within Physical Culture(s)

This project seeks to understand and promote the inclusivity of physical spaces, such as organized or casual sport occurring in community recreational centers. Researchers will develop an understanding of supposedly inclusive physical spaces and the experiences of those who participate in physical activity while self-identifying as having a ‘non-normative’ body. Scholars have criticized mainstream recreation and sport industries for promoting a narrowly defined normalized body that is young, male, thin, cisgender, straight, white, affluent, and able-bodied. Unable to achieve this ideal, many are dissuaded from participating in physical activity or opt to create their own segregated spaces, such as LGBTQ+ or women-only fitness centers.

The team will develop an evidence base that will support efforts to increase participation of a greater diversity of Canadians in spaces for sport and physical activity. This project can support sport and physical activity organizations (such as the YWCA, a primary stakeholder) in broadening the scope of who is included in and who benefits from the spaces they cultivate. Findings will be of key interest to organizations that seek to promote equitable access to physical activity and sport.

Researchers: Meridith Griffin, Ann Fudge Schormans, Chelsea Gabel, Kimberly Lopez, and Aly Bailey.