I wasn’t going to write this originally, but after seeing the sheer number of “Why Black Pather’s Feminism is Superior to Wonder Woman’s” articles, I had to speak up.
Why can’t we have two mainstream movies that show and glorify two different but powerful brands of feminism? Why do we need to choose? Why can’t we just jump into the “Who Would Win in a Fight: Wonder Woman or Black Panther?” that dominate superhero discussions? (for the record, it would be Wonder Woman. she fights and defeats Gods, sorry T’challa)
Why should only ONE portrayal of strong woman succeed?
Wonder Woman and Black Panther both bring amazing, strong, and diverse women to the forefront of superhero culture. Wonder Woman shines for its leading female hero and it’s powerful display of how kindness and love doesn’t undermine women’s strength. While the movie does not have a diverse foreground of main characters, the women shown as Amazons in the film are of all shapes and sizes and are all strong and capable. Meanwhile, Black Panther displays a king who is only successful in his endeavors due to the strong and diverse women around him – his guard, his former lover, his sister, and his mother. These women show not only diverse roles, but a diverse range of abilities, motivations, strengths, and yes, weaknesses. All of these women, while not the main character, shine perhaps more than the panther himself because even though they are all vastly different individuals, they all exhibit different brands of strength that a woman can have.
It is true that Black Panther’s portrayal of diverse woman is objectively broader than Wonder Woman’s single point of view of female strength, but this fact doesn’t detract from the power that Wonder Woman has, nor does the lack of a single female leading “hero” detract from the value of Black Panthers’ strong characters.
My Point? Wonder Woman and Black Panther both portray fabulously wonderful woman. These movies highlight the strength in feminism and its different forms and brands, and they DO NOT undermine each other and they DO NOT need to compete each other. They both succeed as movies and as portrayals of strong women and diversity.
Neither of these movies need to be the best portrayal. Neither of these movies were perfect. But BOTH of these movies are examples of what we, as diverse and strong nerds, should request and expect in our media. Black Panther and Wonder Woman don’t need to compete about which was the best portrayal of diversity.
Let us stop arguing which movie did it better. Let us instead demand more movies that portray strong women. More movies with diverse women. More movies with characters that we can show our daughters with pride.
And instead, we should just argue about what the white nerd boys argue about –
Who would win in a fight? Black Panther or Wonder Woman?
Please leave me your thoughts in the comments below! This is the first time I wrote a piece like this and it’s vastly influenced by my facebook feed and late night musing while unable to fall asleep and staring at the ceiling in bed. Please subscribe if you’d like to see more content like this from me~!