Al-wazedi, Umme: "I Am the Maker of My Image. Marvel’s No Normal and the Comic Book Muslim Woman." In: South Asian Review 39.1–2 (2018), S. 239–251.
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|Resource type: Journal Article
BibTeX citation key: Alwazedi2018
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Keywords: "Ms. Marvel", Ethnicity, Islam, Religion, Stereotypes, Superhero, USA
Collection: South Asian Review
In 2014, the editor and writer of Ms. Marvel, Sana Amanat and G. Willow Wilson,1 created an extraordinary new superhero-a young Muslim girl Kamala Khan. She is like any other middle-class girl in New Jersey in many ways, and critics like Noah Berlatsky feel that Kamala’s story is an “assimilation fantasy” (“What Makes”). This essay argues that the story goes beyond the idea of assimilation. It shows how the comic depicts Kamala as a Pakistani-American often battling misconceptions, stereotypes, and racism. Rather than desiring assimilation, the comic book suggests that assimilation is something that each individual negotiates. This essay shows how the new Ms. Marvel series critiques the stereotypes young people like Kamala face. It makes visible her desperate wish to be an American while straddling two cultures, her negotiation of confining gender norms that exist in her home and community, and her defiance of the hegemonic norm of white, male superhero. This essay argues that the new Ms. Marvel series questions and resists American comic master narratives through Kamala’s identity crisis; it creates resistance by breaking cultural and political assumptions about South Asian Muslim women and teenagers in general, and indeed, about Islam.
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