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How Black Panther overcomes toxic masculinity?

T’Challa is not the typical hypermasculine black superhero attributed with traits like emotional sensitivity, thoughtfulness and respect. On the other end, Killmonger the villain of the film has many traits closely associated with the black action hero and the stars of the blacksploitation films. Explore and contrast the gendered depiction of T’Challa and Erik Killmonger and how masculinity is constructed in Black Panther.

  • There haven't been a whole lot of black superheros. Is it sensible to talk about 'hypermasculine black superhero' as a large grouping? Maybe better to broaden this to all male hypermasculine superheros. Also, it would be wonderful to get a clear sense of what the specific traits are that Killmonger shares with conventional black action heroes. Great topic though! – hwilkinson 2 months ago
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  • Thank you for the feedback Hwikinson. While hypermasculinity is a part of all male superheroes, the black superhero is doubly fetishized, due to their race. This is particularly true in the blaxploitation films of the 70s that first brought many popular black male superheroes to light and served as role models or many others - think Shaft, Superfly, Luke Cage and Black Lightning. These were more often than not one-man inner-city vigilantes, detectives, and ex-cons waging a war against the establishment. Often in Blaxploitation films, the hypermasculinity of the male action hero was used as a tool to replace old stereotypes of submissive blacks with new stereotypes of hyper-sexualized, violent, anti-social blacks living in a fictionalized ghetto world characterized by vice and lawlessness. These traits are remarkably more similar Killmonger, who also wants to destroy the system that he considers as oppressive than to T'Challa. – bansari 2 months ago
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