Friday, June 30, 2006


A quick note on the superheroine issue. When Abdelrahman Mohamed gave his covered character, Jana, telekinetic powers, he said is was because "she couldn't run around, jumping and fighting is she was wearing an abaya". Well, look at all the long-caped or mysterious hooded characters in comics. They're covered and they seem to do just fine. Not to mention manga's kimono-clad heroes and villains. And just because a girl is covered doesn't mean she has to wear an abaya. I mean, i'm always going out in jeans and still adhering to the hijabi code of modesty. And look at all those female athletes in Iran. Politics aside, those Iranian girls just wear baggy pants with a long shirt and dive into the game. Hijab doesn't stop them from doing that.

Mohamed is trying to connect to all of his audience, as his creation of Jana shows. And that's great. But not all girls are forced to wear the scarf, Mohamed. In his interview, he divided the girls in today's society into two groups: those "who come from open-minded families who don't have to cover up, who go out and have fun", and those who come from conservative families and "have to cover up and don't do the same things as the other girls". That's a bit too black and white. Lots of girls who are hijabis come from open-minded families. They themselves choose to wear the scarf. (And yes, they still have fun.) There are plenty of instances in which the mother in a certain family is not a hijabi, but the daughter is. Or two sisters from the same family (even twins), one wearing the scarf and the other not. So it really is a matter of choice. Or at least, that's the way it should be. There are girls out there, especially in the Gulf, that are forced to cover, and that's a pity. So thanks is due to Mohamed for addressing their issue.

Oh, one last thing. Mohamed said that he wanted to inspire hijabi girls, so that they could think, "Although I am in the abaya and the shaila, in my mind I can be a superheroine". That's sweet man, but.. "in my mind"? I'm planning to be a lot of things, and not just in my mind. And so are thousands of other hijabi girls. Let's not forget to keep that in mind.

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