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'Black Panther' Is As Feminist As It Gets

Culture & Entertainment

If you're one of the few who've yet to see the splendor that is Black Panther, do yourself a favor and get into the movie-ment.


Whether or not you've seen Black Panther, you're probably already familiar with the film's titular character King T'Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman. But what you might not be aware of is the fact that Black Panther is ultimately led by a team of winning women, and not only was the movie's pro-feminist agenda exceptional, it was intentional.

Recently actress Lupita Nyong'o, who plays "Nakia" in Marvel's latest franchise, opened up on Black Panther's strong womanist representation, and how it reinforces the message that feminism is not anti-men, but rather, pro-women and our fight for equality:

"I think in a sense it shows us an idyllic gender relation situation, where the women are allowed to assume their power. They're allowed to realize their full potential alongside the men, and the men are not threatened by the powers of the women. That the powers are complementary.
"And that's something for the entire world to take a look at and consider… The feminist struggle is not a struggle to strip men of their power. It's a struggle for equality. For us to be able to realize our own."

You hear that, fellas? We're just here to solidify our role as equally yoked individuals. We are not here to complete with you, so much as we are here to complement you.

With that said, check out the many ways the women of Black Panther represent the powers that be:

The Bald & The Dutiful Wakandan Warriors

First off, let's get into the awesomeness of the Dora Milaje — the all-female troupe of bonafide badass warriors who guard and protect the Black Panther and all of Wakanda. The best part is. they are known to fight insanely in sync as part of their "move as one" strategy, proving that we're always stronger together than we are apart.

Led by General Okoye (Danai Gurira), who is basically T'Challa's right hand (wo)man, this isn't some stereotypical hair-pulling posse of femme fatales. First of all, there is no hair, so you better come correct, because these women are prepared to snatch your wig, and break your neck, in the name of Wakanda.

The Tech Saavy Little Sis

Black Panther's kid sister Shuri is like the Robin to his Batman, but don't call her a sidekick. At a fairly young age, Shuri (Letitia Wright) is already Wakanda's Chief Technology Expert, and girl, does she know how to slay some code! In an uncharted move, Shuri gives a face to STEM, and does so in a truly melanated fashion.

Thanks to her skills, Shuri not only creates some of the best inventions and protection for big brother-Panther, but from time to time when he's on the field, she keeps eyes on him from the headquarters, and flawlessly narrates his next move. Proving that studies are correct, men should listen to women more.

The Not-So-Average Ride or Die

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From jump, we already meet Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) as the woman who has T'Challa's heart and can literally make him freeze in his tracks with her beauty alone.

However, Nakia is also for the people. A Wakandan spy, she is a member of the "War Dogs," a group of spies who are sent out on missions around the world to help others. Without giving too much away, in his time of need, Nakia doesn't just get to T'Challa in the physical sense, but gets through to him mentally, when she inspires him to shift his way of thinking as a leader, for the betterment of the people.

The Queen Mother

Being protected is more than just a physical need, it's a spiritual, mental and emotional one too. And that's exactly the type of protection, correction, and affection Ramonda, Black Panther's mother, provides. Played by Angela Bassett, Queen Ramonda of Wakanda assures and affirms her son in the moments he needs it most, especially when he questions his readiness to be king. In his weakest moments, she is a healer through her words.

What Black Panther is doing for the feminist culture is indeed epic, but moreover, what it is doing for the conversation on Black women, is priceless. For decades, people have ignored the detrimental effects and limitations intersectional feminism. The truth is, feminism was originally created as a fight for White women's rights, and their desire to be treated as equal to their male counterparts.

Feminism originated from a linear agenda that excluded women of color entirely, and only recently began to include the fight for racial and sexual equality as well (#SayHerName, #MeToo).

Which is why this movie couldn't have come at a better time. We're in an era where, "You fight like a girl," just got a whole new meaning for the next generation. How awesome is that?

So yes, "Black Panther" is the star, but the mighty women of Wakanda are the film's saviors.

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