Hermione's Bookshelf










the same people who assume that diversity in media could only come at the expense of quality never seem to imagine that media might be currently choosing whiteness, maleness, straightness, cisgenderedness, and ability over quality.

Privilege is seeing yourself as a default that everyone can relate to while making no attempt to relate to others in different circumstances.

Marvelous: How Carol & Kamala Are Changing Superhero Comics



My latest for Slate: how Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel are changing superhero comics. I feel like maybe the Big Two are finally starting to understand that by investing in a wider range of characters, they’re cultivating a larger, wider range of readers. Comics fans are only getting more diverse and sophisticated, and it’s time for publishers like Marvel to lead instead of lagging far behind. 

I’ve been waiting a long time to be able to write a piece like this. I’m peeking through my fingers, hoping the good news lasts.


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PBS Idea Channel discusses why Ms. Marvel is culturally significant and how should be a sign of progress in comics and geek culture in general. A worthwhile 11 minutes of your time! 

Why Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel is Important


Recently, Kamala Khan has been announced to be the new Ms. Marvel. Not only that, but she is also a Muslim, Pakistani-American teenager, living in New Jersey. Naturally, this has been met with some degree of controversy. Let’s take a step back and try to put a few things in perspective. Much of this post contains my thoughts and experiences as a Pakistani and as a Muslim. These thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of these groups, nor is it my intention to do so. Rather, I hope to provide my take on this new series.

Growing up in the United States, I wasn’t surrounded by a large Muslim population or a large Pakistani-American population. The vast majority of my family remains in Pakistan and India, even to this day. I’m a first generation American, born to immigrant parents who eventually became U.S. citizens. My childhood was hectic at times, having to deal with fluid living situations and my parents’ employment. I must say that under the circumstances, my parents were absolutely phenomenal (and extremely fortunate). Their number one priority was to make sure that my siblings and I were provided for.

I point all this out for a reason: we were never completely able to integrate ourselves into the Muslim or Pakistani community. Let me provide some examples:

The first Muslim I met outside my family wasn’t until I was 8 years old when my neighbors moved in.

The first Muslim I went to school with wasn’t until I was in seventh grade (around the age of 13).

The first Muslim I became close friends with wasn’t until I was in college (around the age of 18).

My experience living in my neighborhood and attending school involved being surrounded by predominantly white, Christian people. Anyone who sticks out among a crowd can tell you that it doesn’t feel all that great. Flip open my elementary school yearbook, look for my class, and guess who pops out (spoilers: it’s me).

Of course these people were my friends. Of course I had friends that weren’t Muslim/Pakistani. I’m not saying this was inherently bad, by any means. I am saying that not having someone to identify with on some level outside of family is a very difficult (and isolating) experience. This is particularly true after an event like 9/11. As kids, we spend a solid 6-8 hours at school away from family and so we’re forced to function socially. As a Muslim kid after 9/11, dealing with people (both children and adults) who made racist blanket statements about a group of people that included both me and my family was both painful and stigmatizing. Losing friends because their parents don’t want their kids to hang out with “a kid like me” makes it worse.

For years, I felt obligated to be apologetic for events that were in no way related to me, other than the fact that it involved people who were from the same part of the world as me. So in dealing with a post-9/11 world with literally no positive representation in any form of media, what is a Muslim, Pakistani kid to do? Besides lower their self-worth.

This is where a character like Kamala Khan comes in. A Pakistani-American Muslim teenager who is also a superhero. A character that isn’t reduced to being the villain in every single American film. A character that doesn’t rely on worn out stereotypes. A character like me. A character like other people who went through the same childhood I did. A character like a lot of people who haven’t dealt with the harsher realities of life quite yet.

I know there was some feelings of uncertainty about how it’s strange that Kamala is getting a lot of attention that other Muslim characters haven’t gotten in the past (Faiza Hussain, Monet St. Croix, Sooraya Qadir, etc.) and how she isn’t the first Muslim in comics. I don’t think it’s good to approach it with that attitude. I think in viewing Kamala, she should be looked at as adding to the mix and diversity of positive representations of Muslims. She is not the epitome of all Muslims or all Pakistanis or all teenagers. She’s a superhero who happens to be Muslim.

And to be honest? That’s a dream come true. I, for one, will be walking into my comic shop one week from now to pick up my copy of Ms. Marvel (okay, more like my six copies but whatever). I hope that others consider doing the same and welcome Kamala Khan into the Marvel universe with open arms.

Planning to start watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.



Any there people here among my followers who are fans? What so you think of the show? Will it be my next obsession? Though I love the Avengers, S.H.I.L.D. seems a bit sketchy/questionable to me, especially after the second Captain America movie and after their issues with mutants and the X-Men. I’ll try to watch season 1 before season 2 starts.

It gets better in the second half of S1 — the first half of the season is more like a procedural than anything, but (I’m assuming you’ve heard about how the Cap America 2 movie ties in), the eps after CA2 were released become more sequential, and stronger. Characters are okay, though they may take a while to grow on you (except Melinda May, who’s awesome start to finish). Don’t expect it to be like Avengers, though, it really is about non-special people doing the best they can in a super-powered world

Prepare for wank if you join the fandom, especially over the reveal about one of the characters on the main team.

Thanks for the reply, th1syearsgirl

I’ve heard good things about Melinda May. And I’ve heard that Captain America 2 takes place in between two episodes. Even though I love superheroes, I’ve always thought that the non-superhero characters can be just as interesting. And after Coulson in Avengers, I’m looking forward to the series.

I’ll try to avoid the fandom wank.

Replies Re: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In response to this post: http://hermionesbookshelf.tumblr.com/post/97256573073/planning-to-start-watching-agents-of-s-h-i-e-l-d


stephanidftba said: It gets better as it goes on


evanna11 said: i wasn’t a big fan from the first ep, but after the first few eps i got really into it :). And it ties in with Cappy 2 :)


Thanks for the replies! Will make sure to watch at least a few episodes before judging.

Give Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a try. I fell in love with this series after Episode 6, so I'd suggest trying to make it this far and then decide if you want to move on. :D It's all a bit downsized compared to the movies, which results in more dialogue scenes and lots of character development. There are also lots of interesting female characters. :)

To vablatsky

Thanks for the reply! I always love some good character development and interesting female characters.


The Marvels and their pets.

Captain Marvel #7 & Ms Marvel #8