Kelly's World | Superwomen are all around us
So I know that Black History Month just ended (February, on a whole, always seems to move by sooo quickly), but I want to revisit something that came up during the month.
The movie Black Panther came out, and look yah nuh, all who never used to wear African-inspired clothing all of a sudden find dem. For the (still) uninitiated, the movie is based on the eponymous Marvel Comics character. Whoever holds the title of 'Black Panther' is the leader of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. By the way, I wouldn't be surprised if people start name dem pickney so.
That's not the point of my diatribe, however. Though the Black Panther in the movie is a man, his bodyguards are the Dora Milaje - a kick-ass group of warrior women. This is one of the reasons the movie was so hype, and greatly anticipated. The black women in the movie were portrayed as leaders, scientists, and warriors. This is a far cry from the 'usual' depictions of black women in movies. You know what kind of roles I'm talking about - the prostitutes, the gang members, and the unemployed single mothers. One of the female stars of the show said she didn't have these types of characters to look up to growing up, so it's great to give that to younger generations.
But therein kinda lies my problem - believe it or not. The strong women and girls I know today didn't need a movie to remind or tell them that they were awesome. To the best of my knowledge, they didn't have these characters, whether in cartoons or movies, for them to look up to either. But they are the most independent women I know. So you might ask, where did they get this sense of self-worth from? Ahm, their mothers and grandmothers. How about their female teachers and principals? The women in their church, perhaps? Some woman they might have seen in an interview or read about in a story? I'm just saying it can't be that an entire generation of females can't find or probably just don't see actual positive characters to copy.
Their role models shouldn't have to be a fictional character (although I'm told the Dora Milaje are based on an actual tribe). Still, their role models first and foremost should be the women who they interact with on a daily basis. You're telling me a woman who works two jobs to support her children and send them through college isn't inspiring? How many times have we heard of women losing children to violence, but they grit their teeth and continue to fight on? That takes serious courage and strength right there. If I crack my phone screen, I fall into a state of depression.
There will always be a place for fictional characters in this world (some may argue that boys and young men need even more role models), but I just hope they haven't completely replaced the real women who walk our streets every day. Bless.
- Link me at firstname.lastname@example.org