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Wakanda Forever!

I just saw the Black Panther movie on Sunday and have been excitedly discussing it with my new paramour ever since. If you haven't watched it yet, spoiler alert! Most of my comments are just about worldbuilding but I may mention some plot details.

Others have written far better than I can about this movie as a beautiful affirmation of all things African. Complimentary to that, it's also a powerful display of feminism. While the lesbian subplot of the Coates run was missing in the movie, it's still full of strong women who are realized as complex individuals. They also have different strengths from one another: prowess in battle, understanding of technology, knowledge of herbal lore, mastery of politics. Often in Hollywood speak "strong female character" seems to be code for "Jean Claude Van Damme with boobs." Here instead is a display of strong women as respected and integral members of society, not mere tokens.

Obviously any feminist take on Black Panther would be remiss without addressing the Dora Milaje. They kick ass like nobody's business, for sure. But they are also much more complex than that. Their purpose is not military might for its own sake but protection of peace and prosperity for the civilians. Wakanda reminded me less of Themyscira than of @celeste teal's description of Herland. Even General Okoye emphasizes that war is an absolute last resort. When's the last time you heard a male general arguing vehemently against war?

Afro-futurism holds out the promise of a world in which technological progress enables everybody to live free of oppression and that's beautiful. In battle and politics, we need to remember not just what we fight against but what we fight for. We may not have vibranium in real life but we can still have good government. Wakanda forever!


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