Muslim Female Superheroes


I spent much of my childhood and teenage years obsessed with anime and comics. Growing up in Mexico, I was part of a generation that saw the introduction of strong female characters in mainstream media, including anime, comics and TV shows. No more Candy Candy with her eternal emotional conflicts over boys, and no more Hello! Sandybell, who spent several season looking for her mother and meeting boys along the way. Similarly, the 90s and 2000s saw a greater focus towards female super heroes that … [Read more...]

Rejected (Muslim) Princesses: awesomely offbeat women in history


If you're our regular reader, you know that mainstream media sorely lacks female characters who have a range of emotions, abilities and ambitions - in other words: real women.Children's animated films are of no exception. It was only in 2009 that Disney introduced its first Disney princess of colour, black princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. More recently, Princess Elsa of Frozen (2013) was lauded for being a "complex and contentious heroine" by the Feminist Wire. But most cha … [Read more...]

TED Talks and Superheroes: New Representations of Muslim Women


I have a friend who is obsessed with TED Talks, and who recently sent me link to this TEDx Talk with the title “I am a mad Arabian woman.” I rolled my eyes a little. Anything with the word “Arabian” (when its not followed by the word “horse”) makes me roll my eyes. But then, this was the same person who had sent me the video of Palestinian-American stand-up comic Maysoon Zayid’s talk “I got 99 problems... palsy is just one,” which (although Zayid makes a point of saying “I’m not inspirational”) I … [Read more...]

When Bridging Between Cultures Doesn’t Help

Image of the "Fragrant Concubine." [Source].

Responding to a question on the potential of art to transform at Jewish Book Week last year, Palestinian-Israeli writer Sayed Kashua commented: “Sometime people talk about culture and literature and art as something that can connect people together…to bridge between cultures. I hate bridging between cultures. It should be tunnels.”I was reminded of Kashua’s undercutting of too-easy attempts to celebrate the transformative potential of art by the recent revelation of a 3D cartoon which hopes t … [Read more...]

Ms. Marvel Reviewed


Can a young American, Muslim woman who discovers her superpowers change the way Muslim women are perceived in the United States?My knowledge of comics is limited to what is presented in mainstream film incarnations—who among us hasn’t seen one of the many films that portray superheroes onscreen? Those cosmic tales where protagonists (predominantly male, of course) appeal to so many for the escape of life’s misfortunes—that ability to transcend the everyday drudgery through spectacular feats, … [Read more...]

Veil Stereotypes: Constructing and Distorting Muslim Women

A screen capture of a Google image search for “Muslim women.”

This post was first published at wood turtle.Last summer I spoke at a conference about some of the media stereotyping of Muslim women and the consequences that negative images and Islamophobia have on Muslim women and their families.Over a series of posts I’ll be sharing some of my research looking at the various ways Muslim women and mothers are presented by media, how this effects women’s relationships to their families, religion and Selves, and how women are in turn, responding to thes … [Read more...]

Beard Memes and the Proper Hijab Narrative


This post was originally posted at wood turtle’s blog.The day my friend took off hijab was disappointing. While everyone was offering congratulations on the new look, I couldn't help wonder if my friend was having a crisis of faith. And when I asked if everything was okay, I learned a secret truth that sent me reeling.He never wore hijab in the first place.Naive assumptions led me to stereotype my friend as the "type of Muslim" who sports a beard out of religiosity, modesty and a refl … [Read more...]