March 23, 2005, - 8:01 pm

Harvard Chick Profs vs. the “Ice Princess”

By Debbie Schlussel

Oops.  Lawrence Summers isn’t from Hollywood, and he’s not a sexy starlet from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” or “Sex and the City.”

If only he underwent an “Extreme Makeover” to fit these characteristics, Summers might get away with his comments about lack of women in the sciences in academia.

After all, the Harvard President–who continues to be under fire for attributing gender differences to a lack of women in the sciences–recently suffered a vote of no confidence by Harvard professors.

Yet, this past weekend’s Disney movie, “Ice Princess,” said the same thing as Summers, without the whines and shrieks of condemnation.

In fact, there’s hardly a peep about “Ice Princess” from the normally boisterous female Harvard professors who’ve been so harsh on Summers.  And hardly a peep from the cornucopia of others who quickly got on the bandwagon to label Summers a male chauvinist.

Starring “Buffy’s” Michelle Trachtenberg, “Ice Princess” is the story every Harvard chick prof and assorted other feminists would despise.  Casey Carlyle, a high-school geek genius, is on the fast track to Harvard and a prestigious scholarship and career in physics.  Other girls are spending their summers going to the beach, seeing movies, and doing other things normal teen-age girls do, but not Casey.  She’s doing a summer project on the physics of ice-skating moves.

But like any normal red-blooded, teen-aged American girl—not the abnormal kind about which Harvard chick profs fantasize—Casey soon becomes enchanted by the girlish ice-skating moves, costumes, and make-up.  More enchanted with those than the unsexy, unfeminine boredom of studying physics—at Harvard or elsewhere.

While Casey’s unglamorous, hardened feminist single mother rants against the form-fitting, short-skirted ice-skating outfits that “set us women back fifty years,” Casey is secretly wearing one of those outfits and loving it and the boy Zamboni driver a whole lot more than physics.

Spoiler alert:  In the end Casey, the now-babe, chucks Harvard, a science scholarship, and a future as a physicist for the world of ice bunnies and competitive skating.  Lawrence Summers—and the laws of human nature—couldn’t have written it better—or differently.

“Ice Princess” was the weekend’s fourth place box office finisher overall, but it was the number one movie for pre-teen and early teen girls, the ultimate end-users in the Summers vs. militant chick profs debate.

Woe is the Harvard female academic set.  They may be able to attack Lawrence Summers with their butch angst.  But they and their holy science can’t compete with Mother Nature and the natural appeal of girlish things, like ice-skating, short skirts, make-up, and boys.  The appeal of this movie proves that.  If Casey Carlyle remained a geeky, awkward science nerd and went to Harvard, there would be no movie – except maybe at Young Lesbians of America vegan potluck meetings (tofu dessert).

While there’s nothing wrong with women pursuing careers in science, there’s a reason most of them don’t:  their natural tendencies are toward other things.  Most women in America don’t want to grow up being bitter, ugly feminist biddies, like Casey’s pushy Harvard-loving mother (played by Joan Cusack).  They’d rather grow up to be like Casey’s attractive skating coach (minus the deceit), played by “Sex & the City’s” Kim Catrall (minus the sex).  They want to be glamorous and feminine, be mothers and wear make-up.

(No, it’s not about sex.  The most risqué shot in this movie is a cameo of Michelle Kwan in a low-cut shirt displaying a silicone valley of deep cleavage.)

For those who think this is a movie that promotes women in sports, fuhgedaboutit.  There would never be a “Hardcourt Princess” about the WNBA.  Ice-skating is the only women’s sport that’s actually feminine, that could actually be legitimately juxtaposed against physics to make its point about women’s natural tendencies in life-choices and career decisions.

About the only thing feminist profs at Harvard would like about “Ice Princess” is its only bad message.  The movie’s absolute lack of men and fathers sends the wrong message to young girls and makes it a bizarre “Twilight Zone.”   Both the sexy coach and pushy, feminist mother are single mothers.  The only father in the movie is pushy and loses out.  He works two jobs to pay for his daughter’s skating career, but in Hollywood—where men are worthless losers—his gamble is worthless. His daughter fails.

I knew there was a reason feminists won’t attack Hollywood over “Ice Princess,” but spare no knives for Lawrence Summers.

Science or not, they want Harvard’s father figure and man-in-chief to be a loser or disappear.  Just like Hollywood.

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