I, like most of the people I know, have been super hype about Black Panther. The depiction of Black superheroes in a mainstream film, Black love, a non colonized African nation, etc. While no movie is perfect, and there’s lots to debate, I wanted to direct my attention to the depiction of black women in the film particularly, the Dora Milaje or the “Adored Ones.” These women are strong, fearless, beautiful, and not so surprisingly, underrated. These characters, I learned, parallel the all woman warrior group of the Dahomey who were responsible for protecting their king. Essentially, we’ve been doing this.
Just in terms of aesthetics, what I appreciated is that these women didn’t have to have 24-inch deep body wave hair, an equally curvaceous body and pass the brown paper bag test with flying colors. To see them all with short hair cuts and dark skin, was every bit of beautiful to me and obviously a stark contrast to mainstream Euro American beauty standards. They were the exact opposite of that and were, relatively speaking, respected by their community (the extent of that love and trust is questionable). When Danai Gurira took her wig off and threw it as a distraction during one of the fight scenes, I was done–for a minute, I contemplated cutting my hair too, but I’m in love with my locs.
Moreover, I appreciated seeing that these women were also loved and pursued by Black men. Their mental and physical strength was what made them attractive. I wish that was more of the norm in real life, but maybe the film will start to broaden people’s understanding of all that beauty has the potential to be. These characters were honesty really important to me because I’ve always had an ‘athletic build’ and especially muscular arms, and in many cases, I’ve spent endless time debating whether or not the straps on a shirt were too small to balance out my physique.
Fuck it. I’m strong, and I look like it.