Resurfacing to share this glorious image:
The December #20 issue of Sensation Comics features our badass heroine representing the Justice League on a space ship traveling to the first human settlement on Venus. She arrives straight from a relief mission on Earth, saving children in the Punjab from raging floods.
Natch, she’s still wearing her dupatta and baggy kurta pants. Because, you know… she’s awesome:
Once introduced, she soon realizes that she’s not only battling Venician monsters, but sexism served with a condescending tone of misogyny. The leader of the ship “welcomes” her by lamenting the fact he got her instead of Superman.
Wonder Woman in hijab is pretty fabulous. But things get even better when in later panels, she goes on to challenge gender stereotypes and inequities between superheroes and is critical of media who would rather sexualize her than be interested in her humanitarian efforts. All in three pages of a seriously fierce rant:
I love Wonder Woman. We sing her theme song during dance parties. Ivy dresses up as her when we play superheroes. I own all three seasons of the classic television series. And a t-shirt. And an action figure.
So seeing hijab representation by my favourite super-heroine is pretty damn awesome.
That said, there’s a small part of me that couldn’t help wonder if someone at DC Comics was checking out the #hijabi cosplay hashtag on Tumblr and was inspired by badass Muslimah Tumblrer Nour and her collection of hijabified and gender bent superheroes… And then decided to capitalize on the concept behind her viral images.
I mean, it’s what Disney did back in 2000 when an executive went to a “Disney on Ice” show in Arizona to find hundreds of little girls in homemade princess costumes. What an outrage! What a missed marketing opportunity! And that’s what inspired the “Disney Princess” brand. If parents were willing to go through the headache of making homemade costumes, they would most definitely be willing to stand in line for days to purchase officially licensed, pink sparkly dresses, shoes, crowns, dolls, accessories, and baking supplies.*
So if your average teenaged Muslim Canadian girl is producing viral images of hijabi superheroes, why not sell a few more comics to a starving and receptive audience? Authentic representation is exciting!
Or maybe DC is following in Marvel’s footsteps with the highly successful and empowering Ms Marvel. Maybe the authors decided to throw in a little representation because at the heart of every comic is a hero rising from the forgotten, unpopular, downtrodden, shunned and ignored masses. In a world where women in hijab often take the brunt of Islamophobia, why not have a mainstream Muslimah superhero? The comic hero is often based on the story of a person rising out of personal adversity and righting wrongs. Fighting for your rights. In satin tights.
Regardless of the motivation behind Wonder Woman’s bad hijab day, I’ll be interested to see how many hijabi Wonder Women are inspired to show up at the next Comic convention!
*Fact check: “Cinderella Ate My Daughter” by Peggy Orenstein