The Athletic Body as an Ideal for Girls

By Tina Kelley

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON — JEAN ZIMMERMAN and Gil Reavill, who live in Hastings-on-Hudson, traveled around the country interviewing girls before writing ”Raising Our Athletic Daughters,” (1998, Doubleday), about the impact of sports on girls’ lives. In an interview at their home, joined by their 12-year-old daughter, Maud, they discussed how athletic activity can protect girls from eating disorders, provided they do not take it to extremes.

The couple have seen girls who are less than svelte gain confidence by excelling in sports, as did one basketball player Mr. Reavill said he knew.

”She was out there, a leader on that team,” Mr. Reavill said of the ballplayer. ”I thought about what her life would be like normally, with kids in the halls poking fun at her. She did not have a supermodel image, but she did find an arena where her body was a positive and effective thing.”

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