Wakanda became the idealization of the third world power and Vibranium it’s superlative technology but what if I told you that the heroines of Black Panther were the real Vibraniums?
This is not a quest to fan the flames of feminist banter nor an “us against them” psyche but a literary exposition to long held societal belief as it pertains to women. Literature is the art of discovering something extraordinary about ordinary people and saying with ordinary words something extraordinary. More than for its ordinary entertainment, the interplay of persona, community, defeat and survival between these characters in the movie, challenges contemporary existing views. Infact, were it not for Nakia, Okoye, Shuri and Ramonda, the plot wouldn’t have descended from a turbulent climax of battle between Kilimonger and Tchalla to a timely resolution. I call them the “Human Vibraniums.” Here’s to the three magical lessons they showed the world and much more than magic, a paradigm shift from what we used to know.
1. Every woman is irreplaceable and sufficient in her own regard
it is a known fact in Africa especially, that women live in constant apology and denial. Apology for paradigms that are outside their sphere of control. This has fanned the flames of feminism all over the world but not much has changed about it. For instance if someone were to treat them wrongly, it is believed that she probably didn’t earn the right treatment. Something she did was probably responsible for such ill treatment. This is the bedrock of domestic violence. In order not to be labelled by the society as incapable of earning a better treatment, she remains in such deplorable condition of human indignity.
Moreso is the idiosyncrasy that the girl child is not enough to exist by herself and can be easily replaced. I don’t mean live alone to herself, I’m talking about the sufficiency of being. The acceptance and pursuit of her innermost desires. This is the reason for the pressure to get entangled with any man that strings along in marriage, even when she cant find a reflection of her ideals in that man. So, she grabs the opportunity and resigns to a life of perpetual denial and hope against hope.
While Nakia chose to leave Wakanda with Ramonda and Shuri when Kilimonmger took over the throne, Okoye refused to go with them. she remained loyal to the throne. However, at the nip of time she commanded her army and together they over threw the reign of Kilimonger . They all had a role to play and they did. I saw women who were sufficient in their regard. I can’t quite replace any of them for each other. If we can understand this principle as women, we would be able to live love and embrace our truest desires without the pressure to seek identity in unspoken idioms. While someone might have the same body features as you, they could never be you. You are sufficient in your regard because you have a role that is distinct to your personality and no one can replace that.
2. Sisterhood is possible:
Contrary to popular belief that women don’t do well together which is to an arguable extent true, the Wakanda women proved that sisterhood is possible. The cultural view that a woman is a variable in the constant equation of a mans life has sparked this reactive attitude of women towards each other. Instead of coming from a proactive place that says I am enough however slim plump, tall, short dark skinned, light skinned, introverted or extroverted, they compete over phenomenon that are out of their area of influence as humans. This insufficient ideology of the girl child was passed from generations past. A woman who had no male child was considered amongst other women as barren even if she has a battalion of female children. These female children grow up in such hash tags to feel insufficient in their being. They look at each other and see a gender that reminds them of their constant apology to life hence the hatred, fight and competition for relevance.
Oh! How effervescent the hall became when the three girls accompanied Tchalla to Korea in order to capture the drug Lord. Shuri on her latest technology, Nakia on her charming unpretentiousness and Okoye sparting like the general she is. Did you see her fling her wig away? It was show time. More than the acrobatic display of science fiction in that scene, was this binding force of sisterhood that melted our hearts. Sisterhood is possible. We can make it happen. Only if we stayed sufficient in our regard.
3. Beauty is authentic: I do not find it agreeable that beauty is solely in the eye of the beholder.This is because the impression of the “beholder” has led many women into all manner of practices from eye blinding contact lenses to surgical distortion of skin layers. While physical adornment has always been our pride as a gender, it is however mundane to think that a fabulous outlook can make up for a horrible disposition. I mean I couldn’t care less about Okoye’s choice of skin hair cut nor Shuri’s awkward style of dressing which her brother even teased her about. It was their selfless contribution to the success of the story that held us in apt.
When I saw the risk Nakia took as she sneaked into the garden to steal the flower that brought her ex lover back to life, I’m awed by her love for him. Okoye was Tchalla’s determining force. Even from the beginning of the movie at Sambisa forest, she saved his neck when he hesitated to strike the enemy at the sight of his ex. When Ramonda grieved over the death of her son, I felt the compassion of a mother. I cant quite say any of these women were more beautiful. They were all equally beautiful by definition of the contribution and sufficiency of their role. It goes to say, that beauty is authentic, not some superficial shade of color and features.
These are just the three lessons I picked from the Heroines of Black Panther. Share your own views in the comment section below. Thanks.
Written by Crown Nwachukwu.