Little Girls in Pretty Boxes

Joan Ryan, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-385-47790-1
``The female gymnast's career is a race against time and nature,'' writes San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist Ryan, and the same appears to be true of world-class female figure skaters. In both sports, the contemporary ideal is a girl with a boy's body: sans breasts and hips. To achieve this ``ideal,'' the athletes overtrain at a time when their skeletal development is supposed to be the greatest, suffering injuries to vertebrae, arms and legs at the same time that they are constantly being ordered to lose weight. The result: anorexia and bulimia. This expose, which absolves the exploited trainees of most blame--though some are apparently monomaniacal about becoming Mary Lou Rettons or Dorothy Hamills--is scathing on the subjects of parents, coaches, judges, the U.S. Gymnastic Federation and the U.S. Figure Skating Association. Ryan concludes that females aged 13 to 18 are not only exploited but abused. Such a powerful plea for reform may have some results. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-446-67250-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-446-67682-3
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-91396-6
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