This week’s been a week of superheroes, and more to the point women superheroes. Oh but let’s take it one step further – female Muslim superheroes to be precise.
In the wake of Trump’s singling out of and hate-filled tirade against Muslims, people are beginning to speak out and turn their attention to justice and the truth in ways never been seen before.
The new series of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has a new character in town. Her name, Zari Adrianna Tomaz – who happens to be a Muslim computer hack from the future.
Announcing the character at a press conference in Beverly Hills this week, executive producer Marc Guggenheim said: “Not to get political, but something that we all gravitated toward in the writers room was making this character Muslim.”
Defining a character by their race, religion or sexual orientation is not the norm for Legends of Tomorrow writers, however in this instance it seemed to have a particular part to play.
Marc Guggenheim said his personal experiences inspired the decision to create a Muslim character, referring to his sister-in-law who is Muslim. “She was talking about how difficult it is to be a Muslim-American in the current political climate,” Marc Guggenheim. “Having a character who’s a computer hacker and is from the future but also happens to be Muslim, it’s a nice, important aspect of her character.”
Actress Tala Ashe, who plays DC Comics’ superhero Isis or Zari Adrianna Tomaz, said: “What I think is so lovely about this show is that the Legends are this tapestry that represent America today.”
The creative industries are powerful mediums when it comes to depicting what’s really going on in the world – dramas, comedies and comic books may be categorised “fiction”, yet they come as close to the truth and highlighting injustices more than the news media outlets.
In Pakistan, there is a new wave of female superheroes shining their light on TV and in comics, tackling challenges that are of significance to Pakistani society. Animated kids show, Burka Avenger, follows teacher Jiya, who combats those who attempt to shut down schools for girls. Her motto is “justice, peace and education” and when words don’t work, she isn’t above using “takht kabadi” — a martial arts form that involves the throwing of books and pens — to fight gender-based crimes.
Indian comic book artist Wasiq Haris has created Pakistan’s counterpart to Catwoman, Raat, who brings down corrupt cops who extort bribes from hapless civilians.
Such portrayals of female Muslim characters on TV and in comic books are endearing, engaging and empowering. Something that has been missing on TV and the big screen.
In the UK, there has been ongoing debate about the need for more Muslim men and women in mainstream roles on screen, something that British Pakistani actor and Rogue One star, Riz Ahmed, has often spoken out about. The media often responds in piecemeal and token ways.
However, with the emergence of characters such as Legends of Tomorrow‘s Zari Adrianna Tomaz, Burka Avenger and Raat, female Muslim superheroes are set to blast stereotypes to smithereens. There’s some new sistas in town and ones who will kick yo butt if you get in their way, leaving the likes of Trump sure to be quaking in his “anti-superhero” pants.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable lifestyle and living, wellbeing, and entertainments. Rosa also works as a psychic, counsellor, intuitive reader and spiritual life coach helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com