In a world where women empowerment and feminism is at its peak, Sara AlFageeh a Jordanian-American illustrator took it upon her to give an ‘over-sexualised niqabi superhero’ a makeover.
Dust, a fictional comic character in the Marvel World, hailing from Afghanistan has the ability to transform her body into a malleable cloud of dust. She is rescued by the X-Men and is currently a member of the ‘Young X-Men’ team.
In a video shared by AJ+ on their Facebook Page, Sara talks about the current portrayal of Dust and her alternative designs.
She said that the drawing she came across grabbed her attention for two reasons: for being “unoriginal” and because it “mirrored the recurring, oversexualised design tropes that people see in comics”.
Thus, she felt like it was her responsibility to present other alternatives that could make her look “that much more compelling of a character, yet stay traditional.”
Inspired by from modest fashion as well as the X-Men Universe and after doing her research on how other Muslim women present themselves, she also wanted to “channel that attitude”.
After her redesigns were out, everyone all around the world loved them and said that the idea of bringing “Muslim fashion, which can be so dynamic into fictional spaces” was brilliant.
In a space where the “sexist portrayal of heroines” is done on a regular basis, Sara’s illustrations seem to be breaking the norm. Not only that, publishers are recognising their existing audience and have started to be more inclusive by bringing in “female creators, LGBTQ creators and so on”.
AJ+ is an online news and current events channel run by Al Jazeera Media Network (AJMN). It was launched in 2014 and has been at the forefront of the social-media news revolution. It offers news coverage from around the world, and also covers topics like lifestyle, culture and technology with very little text. Its videos range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes in different languages including Arabic, English etc for different audiences.