7.30.2013

An Amazing Female 'Superman' in Pakistan: Burqa Avenger. The Rise of Islamic Women Heroes?

By day she's a schoolteacher, by night, clad in a burqa, a traditional Islamic cloak, she beats up the Taliban. She's an Islamic Wonder Woman and her weapons are school supplies. 

This is a new cartoon series like no other, based on a totally original concept: a female teacher fighting on behalf of girls education. 

Makes sense considering that only 25% of the women in Pakistan can read and write. 

Here's the trailer:



Okay, this doesn't look like a Pixar movie. But it's an awsome Indie job, produced with a team of only 22 people. Compare that with the hundreds of people involved in producing any cartoon series in the West...I would say congrats to the show's maker Aaron Haroon Rashid.

The show has been an immediate success in Pakistan but it has raised some criticisms too, mostly centered on the question whether the heroine's use of the all-covering burqa is, as the NYT puts it, "subverting a traditional symbol of segregation and oppression or reinforcing it". For more on that, read the article here.

What's your opinion? I think the irony is palpable, there's no reinforcement of segregation here. It does point though to what is probably the single aspect of burqa-wearing that is most disturbing to non-Muslims: the hiding of the wearer's identity - and as we all know, that is what brought France to banish it from public places for security reasons...


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