Why we all should Marvel at this Muslim superhero

My hope is that it will tackle some misconceptions and help a growing generation understand and redefine what it is to be a Muslim woman

Share
Related Topics

A Muslim superhero! A female Muslim superhero, fancy that!

That was my response when I read news that Marvel were introducing a teenage Muslim girl into their world. I was positively delighted for many reasons. Firstly a growing number of Muslim women, including myself, are frustrated by the popular misconception that all Muslim women are oppressed or lack autonomy and independence. While it is granted that there is a percentage of Muslim women who unfortunately fall within that category, it is not true for the majority. We are women just like any other woman. It is for this reason that I welcome and applaud Ms Marvel.

Since the tragic events of September 2011 and subsequent terror attacks, Muslim women, especially those who are veiled, have become obvious scapegoats. Their veil is a symbol of Islam and has to some extent become an object associated with terror and hate. The Muslim woman has become an unknown entity, difficult to understand and appreciate. Why would women want to cover up? Is she forced by her father or brother? Why would she want to do it out of her own choice? These are familiar questions that many Muslim women will identify with.

Many of the young Muslim women I have spoken to are frustrated with the different struggles they deal with daily. Struggles with family expectations, and struggles with trying to identify themselves to others whether in college, work or university. They speak resentfully of how in the public sphere they are seen as only ‘Muslim women,’ and how there is a lack of understanding of what that really means, and the multiple identities within that very label. Especially given that most of the time people are questioning whether you can have multiple identities, i.e. is it really possible to be a British/American/Muslim?

So it comes as a great relief that Marvel have stated that they will explore this conflict within a Muslim woman they ‘say she will be forced to deal not only with her developing superpowers and the day-to-day struggles of adolescence, but also with the strict demands placed on her by her family.’ 

My only concern would be if the portrayal was to be one-sided, further reinforcing the negative view that all women are forced into certain decisions. The ideal representation would be that of a teenage Muslim girl facing her multiple struggles and dealing with them autonomously, because in all honesty, thats what happens most of the time.

Even if it doesn't do that, my hope is that it will tackle some of the misconceptions that exist; it could help a growing generation of children understand and redefine what it is to be a Muslim woman. When I was younger I loved the pink Power Ranger (I mean, which girl didn’t?), but I would have loved to grow up with a character like Ms Marvel because many of my generation will identify with her backstory. The need for a character such as hers wasn't as urgent as it is now. There is a growing population of Muslims in the West, and it is imperative that they are visible in all aspects of society to prevent marginilisation and isolation.

There is no doubt that the decision to introduce a Muslim female character into Marvel will bring controversy. I can tell you know that there are some who will argue that such a character is not needed, that she will become a flawed role model. I say to hell with the haters and a massive congratulations and thank you to Marvel for finally acknowledging the identity and struggle of a Muslim woman. She is strong, she is resilient, she is fierce, she is determined. She is Ms Marvel.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Read Next
George Osborne appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, 5 July 2015  

George Osborne says benefits should be capped at £20,000 to meet average earnings – but working families take home £31,500

Ellie Mae O'Hagan
The BBC has agreed to fund the £650m annual cost of providing free television licences for the over-75s  

Osborne’s assault on the BBC is doing Murdoch’s dirty work

James Cusick James Cusick
Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high