After watching the movie The Black Panther I was amazed to see that the warriors, or better yet, the protectors of Wakanda were fearless women who were skilled in the art of war. These women were prepared for battle at any moment and worked together to take down any opponent that stood in their way. That’s why, for Women’s History month, I chose to discuss the Women of Wakanda, also called the “Dora Milaje.” These women fiercely protected the nation of Wakanda and although they are fictional characters in a movie, they deserve to be discussed during this time of female empowerment!
I choose the Dora Milaje as my topic of discussion for Women’s History month because they are the epitome of strength, pride, and unity. These women worked together to defend the nation of Wakanda, and they didn’t require the strength of any man to assist them. Not only are these women a unit that values loyalty, life, and love; but they are led by a phenomenal woman named Okoye. Okoye, played by Danai Gurira, is the head general of the Dora Milaje, as well as the head of Wakanda’s armed forces. She, along with her army of skilled and highly trained officers, work together as a team to protect the royal family by any means necessary. These women depict strength and discipline, and also show how powerful women can be when they come together as one. We are so used to seeing male-dominated armies, but the Dora Mijale, under the rule of Okoye, who prides herself on respecting culture, loyalty, and good character, show us an army of women that fights as successfully as any other army.
Throughout the film, the women of the Dora Milaje leave their mark on every scene they are in. Whether they are protecting the royal family, moving together in perfect unison, or sharing simple conversations with one another, their presence had a lasting effect on me. These women rarely ever smiled, but were caring individuals and avid believers in upholding the laws of the land. Okoye was so loyal to the Wakandian throne that during the major battle scene, when it seemed to be the only option, she was willing to kill the man that she loved in order to protect the Black Panther, his throne, and his family’s honor! Okoye’s act of loyalty to the crown showed showed that she wasn’t dependent on men to validate her, and didn’t let men influence her decisions. The women of the Dora Milaje were astonishingly strong, and although they are actors in a movie, as I watched, I found myself hoping that I could one day develop some of the characteristics that they displayed in the movie. Most of all, I hoped to learn to become faithful to a cause the way Okoye was devoted to the throne.
Okoye’s character stood out the most to me in the movie because she displayed the strength that I’ve seen in the women like my mother, aunts and grandmothers who hold my family together. Okoye’s “no nonsense” attitude—along with her unquestionable loyalty to her proposed purpose—struck a cord deep within me. As I became more and more familiar with her character, her mannerisms won over my heart. I saw her as a pillar of strength, and the powerful leader and fighter that I strive to be for the people I love. She taught me that you must always protect what or who is important to you regardless of the circumstances. Most of all she taught me not to let my loyalty to a position cloud my judgement when it comes to what is right, and what is wrong. Okoye’s personal journey throughout the movie was so special for me to view because I saw so many similarities between her and myself. She was strong, serious, passionate, and yet flawed like we all are. However, she was also kind-hearted, brutally honest, fun-loving, and able to admit her mistakes and learn from them.
In my opinion, Okoye and the rest of the Dora Milaje represent the true essence of strong, unapologetic women of African descent who are willing to protect their loved ones by any means necessary. Their power as a unit showed me how great and powerful women can be when we come together for a purpose, stand strong in our beliefs, and are led by a woman who is the absolute epitome of “Black Girl Magic”—the beauty, power and resilience of black women.The performances in this movie had an impact on my understanding of what kinds of people can serve in an army, or be an army general. I interpreted their success in these roles as being an example of non-traditional leaders. It made me realize that my notion of who can be a leader was limited by race and sex, and I didn’t even know it!
Woman are, and have always been leaders in their own right, but their promise is often downplayed because of the expectations society imposes on minorities. However, in this film, women are respected and honored, and are the true protectors, innovators, and leaders of Wakanda.
Of course, this was my personal analysis of The Black Panther movie, what’s your opinion? Did your views on what a leader could be change after you saw the movie? Do you think women could do just as good of a job leading armies as men? What are your thoughts on being a woman, a leader, an innovator, or a mother? Give me your feedback in the box below. I’m excited to see the differing opinions about this topic, especially because this month is Women’s History month!
Be honest, be free and let’s start this dialogue!