i love the way the black panther film pretty much uses its female characters to also tell a story of the dangers of toxic masculinity
i love that t’challa is a hero free from the constraints of toxic masculinity, that he is surrounded by and ultimately held up by female influences from his mother, his sister, Nakia, and the Dora Milaje - he is not stilted in his emotions or somehow is embarassed to show them -
one could greatly argue that the reason t’challa is such a well-adjusted person is because he has such well-rounded women in his life, he has a balance
even ross, the american/white guy in the story, falls outside of the normal toxic masculinity constraints - he, like t’challa, spends much of the film in the presence of female characters and taking directions from them, yet not one moment does he belittle them just because they’re women - he follows nakia’s orders without question, he wakes up from nearly dying yet doesn’t question why a teenage girl could heal him and he just goes along with everything that shuri says, at no point does he question their abilities to make himself seem the hero
if any character is perhaps the victim of toxic masculinity, it’s killmonger who we see basically fridges his female love interest for the sake of his own plans, who seem to take pride that he’s about to kill shuri - killmonger who grew up with nothing, whose mother is dead and not in the picture - one could argue the lack of female influences in his life made it all the more easy for the hatred and anger to grow
but more than all of that, the women are allowed to be women, not stereotypes of women, especially stereotypes for black women - here they are allowed to have unique personalities and wants and desires and dreams, they are allowed to be three dimensional characters just as real women are, they’re not pigeon-holed into any boxes - they’re all strong and powerful and vibrant and compelling in their own way and they can all co-exist in the same story without it being a competition or one belittling the other.