[Guest Post] Searching for Black Mothers: Looking in the Margins of Black Panther and Into the Spider-Verse

This awesome guest post comes courtesy of Samira Nadkarni! Images in the header are from ComingSoon.net (Spider-Verse) and KissThemGoodbye.net (Black Panther).


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Earlier this week, I read Zina’s post on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the character of Miles Morales, and the idea of authenticity. While agreeing wholeheartedly with the post itself, I found myself struggling to articulate my current position, which is that while these films construct nationalistic racial and cultural narratives in ways that allow for reclamation and representation, the process of these claims seem to hinge on specific connections between fatherhood, masculinity, and nationality.

While women are present, and while mothers are present, they’re somehow not part of that narrative. This is a complex and confounding thing because these films aren’t being positioned as inherently patriarchal or lacking in female characters, yet the underlying implications of its narrative suggest extremely traditional patriarchal ideology.

My hope is that I can briefly trace this out here, and maybe that we can consider the ways in which films like Into the Spider-Verse and Black Panther centre Blackness, authenticity, heritage, a coming into oneself, and national identity, while also seeing how this amazing intergenerational space is somehow all about Black fathers and isn’t necessarily leaving a whole lot of room for Black mothers.Read More »