I, Tonya



In 1991, talented figure skater Tonya Harding becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel during a competition. In 1994, her world comes crashing down when her ex-husband conspires to injure Nancy Kerrigan, a fellow Olympic hopeful, in a poorly conceived attack that forces the young woman to withdraw from the national championship. Harding's life and legacy instantly become tarnished as she's forever associated with one of the most infamous scandals in sports history.



After a second viewing of I, Tonya last week, I found myself wondering if we could consider this film (or Tonya Harding's life as a whole) in accordance with the feminist movement.

Obviously, the movie is a good time.  Margot Robbie as the fiery Tonya Harding does not disappoint, and the back and forth between her and Allison Janney as LaVonna Harding gives me life.  But something I noticed during the second viewing was Tonya's constant struggle to fit in with the other skaters, who were all conforming to what the judges, and America, wanted to see in their figure skaters.

Time after time, Tonya would skate unbelievably, but to an unconventional music choice or in an unconventional outfit and would receive seemingly lower marks than deserved.  Despite that, she tried to be unapologetically herself in her routines.  She knew that she was a redneck, that she didn't fit in with the other girls who usually competed in figure skating competitions, but she knew that she was good at what she was doing.



New Wave Feminism, to me, is about building up other women.  Yes, we should definitely take down the patriarchy, but I feel like we can't do that if we're not on the side of all the other females that are trying to do the same.  So, this story poses some issues since the whole plot of the film revolves around whether or not Tonya Harding actually had anything to do with Nancy Kerrigan's knee bashing.  Obviously a woman who was looking out for other women would't do something like that to her ally, but if we believe what the film wants us to, Tonya was completely oblivious to what extremes her ex-husband and his associates were going to in order to take out the competition.

But like, I still got really excited for Tonya when she landed the triple axel in competition.  Which, by the way, was recently landed by American figure skater Mirai Nagasu during the 2018 Winter Olympics just this past weekend!