Boys’ Body Image in Early Childhood: A Qualitative Approach Using Drawings and Narratives

Abstract

While there is literature reporting on studies of children's wellbeing by health professionals, there have been claims that the voices of children have been conspicuously absent from this literature. There have also been suggestions that the majority of studies in this area are about children and on children, but rarely include children. This is a research case about boys' bodies in early childhood. The significance of such a case, and the research that underpins it, is based on the notion that boys and young men also have the potential to be negatively affected by body image concerns that are constructed through Western cultural ideals. Listening to voices of boys in early childhood in terms of how they perceive the world in which they live as well as around issues such as bodies, health, sport, physical activity, and masculinities is central to understanding how older boys and young males come to view their bodies and health. The case will outline the manner in which the research took place, the issues that the researchers faced in collecting valuable data, and will provide a basis upon which other researchers can utilize similar research methods.

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