This article examines the way in which former athlete Tonya Harding was perceived within the world of figure skating and how she was portrayed by the media, especially after she came under suspicion of being involved in the attack against her team-mate Nancy Kerrigan (on January 6, 1994), an event that captured public attention, especially in the United States, as few sport-related incidents had done before. Endowed with exceptional athletic abilities, Harding was often regarded, during her competitive career, as lacking in artistry, an essential component of figure skating. More susceptible to subjective biases than the technical part of the sport (such as the jumps, which were Harding’s forte), artistry, in women’s skating, has traditionally been conceived of as virtually synonymous with physical attractiveness and conventional femininity. Measured against the aesthetic ideal first popularized by champion-turned-movie star Sonja Henie and later embodied by American Olympic champions Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, Tonya Harding was regarded as an anomaly because of her appearance, her powerful skating, and her social class. The almost obsessive media focus on Harding’s lower-class background, her dysfunctional family of origin, her muscular body, her style of dress, and her supposedly un-ladylike behavior, makes her story a case-study of classism and gender stereotyping in America.

Il corpo estraneo: classismo e stereotipi di genere nella vicenda di Tonya Harding

Leonardo Buonomo
2023-01-01

Abstract

This article examines the way in which former athlete Tonya Harding was perceived within the world of figure skating and how she was portrayed by the media, especially after she came under suspicion of being involved in the attack against her team-mate Nancy Kerrigan (on January 6, 1994), an event that captured public attention, especially in the United States, as few sport-related incidents had done before. Endowed with exceptional athletic abilities, Harding was often regarded, during her competitive career, as lacking in artistry, an essential component of figure skating. More susceptible to subjective biases than the technical part of the sport (such as the jumps, which were Harding’s forte), artistry, in women’s skating, has traditionally been conceived of as virtually synonymous with physical attractiveness and conventional femininity. Measured against the aesthetic ideal first popularized by champion-turned-movie star Sonja Henie and later embodied by American Olympic champions Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, Tonya Harding was regarded as an anomaly because of her appearance, her powerful skating, and her social class. The almost obsessive media focus on Harding’s lower-class background, her dysfunctional family of origin, her muscular body, her style of dress, and her supposedly un-ladylike behavior, makes her story a case-study of classism and gender stereotyping in America.
2023
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https://www.acoma.it/ultimo-numero
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3052198
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