Here's a bit of Friday feel-goodery: American comics fans aren't the only people excited about Kamala Khan, the teenage Muslim Jersey girl taking the role of Ms. Marvel on February 5th. So are Pakistani women, who hope that the character will inspire Pakistani girls and help their country's image.
UPI interviewed several Pakistani women, who were almost universally pleased about the new character:
Anum Kazmi, an FM radio announcer in Lahore, said she expects the character will represent a combination of traditional values and modernization.
"The positive impact of the new Ms. Marvel will give Pakistani girls the confidence that they have a role to play for the betterment of the society," Kazmi told UPI Next.
Ruby Razzaq, a senior journalist based in Lahore, sees Kamala Khan as a part of the evolution of women's status in Pakistan. ...
Mobarak Haider, a Virginia-based Pakistani author who wrote "Taliban: The Tip of a Holy Iceberg," a book about fundamentalist Muslims, sees Ms. Marvel as an amalgamation of Muslims living in the United States.
"Pakistanis will feel proud to see their girl helping people and playing a positive role," Haider told UPI Next. "Kamala Khan is not only representing her compatriots in this role, but Muslims as a whole. Her character could have a great impact on Muslim families living in the U.S. The concept will make parents understand that by giving girls confidence, they can build a fabulous future."
Alas, I did say "almost":
"It is unrealistic for a girl to be a superhero," housewife Sanam Iqbal told UPI Next. "The dress Kamala Khan will be wearing doesn't represent our Muslim culture either.
"I can't expect that Kamala Khan is going to build our country's image. I am sure there will be a conspiracy behind this idea, either to disrespect our family values or to damage our religion."
Still, the overwhelming majority (that UPI interviewed, at least) supports Marvel's new heroine. The whole article is an excellent read, and an optimistic reminder of the cultural impact even something a small as a comic book can have. Now, if we can somehow make sure that people buy the damn issues...
[Via Comic Book Resources]