Originally I wanted to call this “Why Do Girls Hate PE?”, but then I felt this was more of a sweeping generalisation- and “Why Do Most Girls Hate PE Other Than Those Really Scary Competitive Ones?” didn’t have the same ring. Not that being competitive is wrong, however I’m betting that when you read that at least one we-can-never-lose person from your PE past came to mind.
I have this theory that we’re all kind of taught to hate PE from a young age. That high school age, when things become a bit more awkward and pubescent. I adore exercising, but I hated PE. And although this wasn’t the sole cause of my being a slightly chubby tween, it didn’t much help with fixing the problem. So, my reasons why I think we teach girls to hate PE, and what could fix it. Let’s get started…
- I was forced into activities I didn’t like. As adults it is okay to say ‘I hate sports like X/Y/Z- but I know I love A/B/C’. As a teenager telling your teacher you hate running, but would happily do some downward dogs, or Pilates? Not so much: 3 more laps of the field.
- Outside. In all weathers. I’m from Yorkshire. We’re a hardy bunch, used to rain. The fine stuff that gets you really wet. When I can go straight home afterwards it doesn’t bother me. When I have to then sit through four more hours of school looking like a toilet brush with 100volts running through its bristles? Not so much. Summer meant shorts too. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the sun that summer had arrived. 11*c is the warmest you get on a good day.
- Lack of variety. This links back to the “activities I didn’t like” one. I would have looked forward to PE a whole lot more if it wasn’t netball every week. Dodgeball if we were lucky, or the teacher was feeling sadistic. I feel like we need to introduce girls to exercise in a variety of forms: yoga, weights, Pilates, running, boxing, gymnastics, dance, team games, swimming…I had to find out about the majority of these via YouTube. Ironic really, considering that the internet is basically what many adults attribute our lack of physical activity to…
- Uniforms. No colourful, motivational clothing allowed. Prison uniforms only. I also felt horribly unattractive in mine. So much so I actually couldn’t wait to get back into my school uniform.
- Overly competitive team members. I was always picked last, as our teachers allowed certain pupils to choose teams. Even when teachers did choose teams, the sighs and moaning at who was on said competitive child’s team was enough. This drives in the message “I am no good at sports. I hate sports. Sports are humiliating.” Mixing up team and non-team focused sports would give girls a chance to say “Hey, I may not be so great at netball, but I love sports where I can focus on me”.
- Teachers who think they’re the next Gillian Michaels. We all had that terribly “inspiring” teacher in PE. The one who makes you do three more laps, or 50 burpees, or whatever other horrible thing they’re been scheming since the day you broke that skipping rope in Year 7.
I could go on, but those are my top reasons for despising PE in high school. So what do you guys think? Are there any reasons you had for hating PE? Did you hate PE? Or were you the overly competitive child such as I always aimed at in dodgeball?