The attack on Nancy Kerrigan at the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit set the stage for a Winter Olympics spectacle: Tonya Harding versus Nancy Kerrigan. More than the war of genocide in Bosnia and President Clinton's first trip to Europe, more than David Letterman's mother's interview with the First Lady, these two young women were the center of a media frenzy that fascinated and repulsed millions of spectators.
"Women On Ice" collects the writings of a diverse group of feminists who address and question our national obsession with Tonya and Nancy and what this tells us about perceptions of women in twentieth century America. Some of the essays focus on the events themselves--the"hit" on Nancy Kerrigan, a "beautiful young woman from a good family"; the life of struggle for Tonya Harding, "a beer-drinking, pick-up driving working class woman"; and how the attack on Kerrigan pitted the two women against each other, setting the stage for an Olympic showdown. Other essays look at the ways the events were packaged, reported and received. "Women on Ice" explores a number of disturbing issues raised by the Kerrigan/Harding incident: the roles women are expected to uphold in public; the price that is paid for violating our notions of femininity; American fantasies of social class and upward mobility; the role of the family; and the ways in which the media reaffirm stereotypes of gender and culture.
"Women on Ice" is a timely collection that takes on the image of two kinds of women, good and bad, virgin daughter and slut. The contributors' insightful analyses help us to understand the deeper meaning of the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident and what this tells us about the conditions of femininity and feminism in America.
Contributors: Cynthia Baughman, Stacey D'Erasmo, Zillah Eisenstein, Abigail M. Feder, Jane Feuer, Sandy Flitterman-Lewis, Nicole Gantshar, Marjorie Garber, Laura Jacobs, Ellyn Kestnbaum, Marsha Kinder, Judith Mayne, Helena Michie, Diane Raymond, Lynn Spigel, Samuel J. Stoloff, Jill Swenson, Melanie Thernstrom, Robyn Weigman, Mimi White, Patricia R. Zimmerman, Lynda Zwinger
"The soap opera from hell explained with a genderized twist."
"The contributors of "Women on Ice, all aficionados of the forever up-and-coming academic discipline of cultural studies, scrutinize the Kerrigan-Harding wars in ways that have nothing to do with sports but everything to do with winners and losers in America."
-"IN These Times, Dec.25, 1995
"That these passages constitute bad writing is merely our opinion. It is arguable that anyone wanting to pursue an academic career should assiduously imitate such styles as are represented here. These are your role models."
-"Philosophy and Literature
..."most essays in this collection are are as intellectually agile, impudent and occasionally dazzling as one of Surya Bonaly's trademark backflips...There's also a nifty glossary of skating terms in the back of the book that'll be a must-have TV accessory for the next Olympics."
-"Newsday, Sun., Nov.19, 1995