Move over you stale, generic, and overplayed superheroes with your conservative ideals of good and evil, as well as your conventional methods of fighting crime. There’s a new kid in town, and she doesn’t play by your rules.
Meet Kamala Khan, a teenage Pakistani-American from Jersey City and Marvel’s première female Muslim superhero. Among the character’s refreshingly unique disposition, the generally accepted and customarily revealing bodysuit -one that accents the heroine’s every curve and clings to every part of her except the conveniently exposed cleavage and bare legs -is not included. The series not only follows Khan’s encounters with multiple supervillains and teenage struggles but also (rather admirably) explores conflicts within her home life and religious priorities as a Muslim woman.
And that’s not even the best part (although let’s be real: it’s pretty f****n’ bomb). No, the best part of this story is that Kamala can be seen fighting real evil in the real world, right on San Francisco’s public transit system.
As early as the beginning of this year, several ads (undeniably racist and islamophobic in nature) were purchased by Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative and placed on San Francisco’s buses. It might be of particular interest to learn that this very same initiative is recognized by both the UK and the Southern Poverty Law Center as a well-known hate group… perfect. The buses with the ads promptly seen peppering the city equating Islam with Nazism, Muslims with Jew-Haters, and urging onlookers to “stop the hate” by essentially redirecting it from the Jewish community to all Islamic affiliates.
But have no fear; Kamala is here; and she’s giving it everything she’s got to literally stamp out the hate and instead spread messages of love and raise the general public’s consciousness about what should already be known as bigotry and racism. As posted by Street Cred:
Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) and Street Cred, creators of the quick-witted graffiti response, told NBC News that they “took action because Pamela Geller’s repeated hate speech campaigns have normalized Islamophobia and verbal violence in the community we love. We appreciate what Marvel has done in introducing Kamala Khan, who gives young Muslims a positive image of themselves and their power.” Not to mention doing this and all the while acting as a strong, young, politically correct, feminine influence for all girls and women alike.
While many students here at Randolph don’t follow the superhero/comic scene religiously, the general consensus of Khan is a mix between approval of her multi-layered backstory, and surprise that Marvel would take such a notable step towards combating racially prejudiced and sexist monotony.
Overall, it seemed to have left them rather impressed with both the progressive nature of the comic, and the radical methods in which the character, and all she symbolizes, can be used to resist closed-mindedness in society. If anything, she, and the events in San Francisco, have served as an intriguing example of the many different ways that we as young, intelligent, individual thinkers can make their voices and opinions heard.
Beat that Batman.