Show: Queen Sono (6 episodes; Netflix)
I chose this film because it had a leading female role, but also including a male roles who were just as assertive and strong. Although it may seem as the typical female empowerment show, it is much more than that. It incorporates Western culture and African culture, and humanity as a whole. Safiya Sono is the daughter of a dead activist and she fights to honor and carry on her mother’s legacy. She is a spy who works for an agency that is dedicated to protecting Africa.
She faces the sexist stereotypes and double standards that many women in our society have faced in the past and present. Her ability to complete her missions is always doubted no matter how many times she has proven herself to be successful and highly capable. She is commanded and supported by men. Her boss is a man, and her crew are also composed of men. She is the only active woman spy in her field. This shows how even though she is given the leading role, a huge male presence is still included to make a point. I can connect this to many points we have made in class. Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman” speech speaks highly to this because Queen Sono exemplifies what Truth was trying to depict. Although they are just “women,” they can still do twice as much as men can. This also refutes Rousseau’s claims of the purpose of the presence of mea=n and women. He claims that women are supposed to be submissive and are there to basically build a man’s ego and compliment him. He made women out to be weak and to be treated as objects. Queen Sono, depicts the complete opposite. This show displays that there can be a scenarios where the tables are turned. Women can dominate in a environment filled and controlled by the opposite sex.
What makes this show very interesting to me is the continuous challenges Safiya Sono has to face. Her role holds no sympathy. She is faced with the same challenges that her male counterparts face and even more extreme obstacles. She is forced to go against every stereotype and push through her emotions — known to be a females biggest weakness. Society believes females are not as strong and assertive because our emotions get in the way.
There was a specific scene where Queen Sono went on a mission and the location was at a Ball. She was dressed the part and had the objective to gain access and get information from a dealer.Immediately, the man saw her and gained a liking to her and started lying to her about his identity. He was unaware that was a spy. He completely sexualized her, and while she hates it, she still did not break her cover. Eventually he finds out that she is a spy and threatens to kill her if she did not leave. Another enemy was at the Ball (also a man with his male crew), and this created a dangerous confrontation. Queen Sono had no backup and had to fend for herself. Her intel (also a man) warned her to get out of the building, but she refused until she completed her objective. A gun war broke out and she was the only one left standing. Both crews were dead, including the leaders. This relates to the course because it shows just like women in history were underestimated so was Queen Sono. Her sex, made her unfit to many people. In class we’ve talked about many women who were discredited, such as Gloria Steinem. Steinem has managed to accomplish a great deal, but because she is a woman, many of her accomplishments were painted differently. Queen Sono does not directly mention women’s rights, nor is it directly depicted through her story but it can still relate to the oppression and intersectionality that many women continue to face.