Journal of Student Engagement: Education Matters


This paper will examine three young women’s perceptions on the body, health, physical activity, beauty and media. These ideas will be explored through a post-structuralist and educator perspective, where media, healthism and fitness discourses will be discussed. Participants engaged in a semi-structured interview, where questions were focused on media, health, beauty, their own body perception and their perceptions on ‘non-traditional’ female bodies. The young women still used the healthism and fitness discourses to describe how bodies should and should not look, and these discourses exerted pressures on the young women to conform to a fit, toned and slender body shape. They also confirmed that the media does not portray healthy body shapes and that a physical identity can be formed through a personal attachment to physical activity.