BREAKING BARRIERS: New Ms. Marvel is a Muslim Girl
Kamala Khan is the new Ms. Marvel. The publisher announced that she would be the new character to take on the role of the popular Marvel heroine. While the news of a new Ms. Marvel coming back may not be shocking in and of itself, the story is getting a lot of attention because Kamala is a Muslim teenager from New Jersey.
Kamala is the creation of Marvel editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat (herself a Muslim-American). According to the NYT article, Amanat said “I was telling [Wacker] some crazy anecdote about my childhood, growing up as a Muslim-American. He found it hilarious.” The pair then brought on G. Willow Wilson, a convert to Islam, to write the book. Kamala is of Pakistani descent, and upon learning of her new abilities, including shape shifting, she takes on the moniker of Ms. Marvel.
While the editors themselves admit there may be some negative response initially, I personally think this is a great idea on a number of levels. First and foremost, it breathes new life into a popular character, and there is a lack of female heroines dominating an otherwise male-centric comic book universe. Marvel already has Black Widow in their films, and she’s proven that women can hold their own when the going gets tough. Second, it brings a fresh, cultural perspective.
Let’s face it, when it comes to Marvel characters it’s no secret the majority of the popular heroes are white. Fuck, even Thor who comes from a realm far, far away is white with golden locks (and a catchy accent). While you have the Black Panther as a (semi) popular character, the fact that he hails from the jungles of Africa seems a bit racially insensitive. I think creating a teenage girl from a different cultural background will help empower young females and also give children a chance to see the world from a different point of you.
Also, I’m excited and thrilled because I was fortunate enough to marry a Pakistani girl who is beautiful, intelligent, and unlike anyone I’ve ever met before. She loves superheroes almost as much as I do, so I can’t wait for us to root for the new Ms. Marvel together. Now, if I can only convince her to name our daughter Kamala…