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Posts Tagged ‘ritual combat’

In the past, I’ve written about negative tropes around women in literature and media. In fairness, I want to mention one that my husband pointed out to me. This is when men are forced into single combat as a method of deciding leadership.

Daron first told me this while we were watching the movie, Black Panther. Our Hero, T’challa, inherits the throne of his homeland, Wakanda. But as part of the coronation, he has to fight challenges in single combat against any citizen who aspires to the throne. Later in the story, he is suddenly challenged by a cousin, Killmonger. (Honestly, who thinks of these names?) After apparently killing T’challa, Killmonger is allowed to assume the throne. “It’s our tradition,” T’challa’s friends and family say.

Bear in mind, Wakanda is supposed to be the most advanced civilization on Earth. They have all kinds of gee-whiz technology and spies in place all over the globe. Daron found it ridiculous that such an “advanced” society would choose its leaders through a ritual of combat.

Last night, we were watching another comic book, movie, Aquaman. Once again, Our Hero was told that he had to fight a duel to the death in order to seize the throne of Atlantis and stop his brother from making war against the Surface World.

Again, Atlantis is supposed to be the most advanced civilization on the planet. Yet they have this “tradition” of choosing leaders through battle and the outcome is binding. What gives?

Sure, fist fights are exciting and comic book movies are full of dazzling effects that amp up the drama. But, still. We modern people like to think that we’re pretty advanced, too. Most nations in the world today choose our leaders through the ballot box. Why do we have this myth that leadership isn’t real until somebody is bleeding?


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