Asked by Anonymous Anonymous
I receive this complaint often and while I understand where it’s coming from, I absolutely disagree with it, and I’ll tell you my reasoning.
> because this is a webcomic on the internet, in English, it is available to a wide range of readers, both local and international.
> Qahera was created to combat the patriarchy and misogyny I am familiar with. Islamophobic logic often means critiquing your own society will result in others using that as an excuse to claim you are “oppressed” and “backwards” and “a victim of your own culture.” Therefore Qahera combats misogyny and Islamophobia.
> The women who bear the brunt of Islamophobia are invariably hijabi Muslim women, because they are very visibly Muslim. This is an indisputable fact. All of the Islamophobic stereotypes, and many others, are heaped upon their heads. Therefore Qahera wears a hijab (not a niqab). She is a superhero who wears a hegab, not a superhero because she wears a hegab. I’m approaching this from a social perspective, not a religious one. I’m certainly in no position to preach anything, nor do I want to.
> Adding on to that, Qahera is an Egyptian character. The majority of Egyptian Muslim women wear a hijab (hegab). Despite that, they are underrepresented even in their own media. And in most other media, they are vilified, misrepresented and dehumanised. I wanted to contribute some representation of visibly Muslim women that is not dehumanising. With me so far?
> With regards to Qahera being a “savior,” she is the hero of every comics because the comics are about her as a superhero. It is not that I want to portray a Muslim hijabi character being superior to others, it is that the main character of this comic is a Muslim hijabi character doing what main characters do in superhero comics. And I find it interesting that we are so unfamiliar with this visual that many people’s immediate reaction was that Qahera was out to prove others inferior. We are literally bombarded daily by images of white (usually American) men saving the world, yet because we’re so used to that being the status quo, we rarely complain that they’re out to show “everyone else as helpless and unable to protect themselves.” (despite that being the subliminal message of many things.)
The issue here is lack of representation. I’m very aware there is a lack of representation of non-hijabi Muslim women too, but I can only tackle one thing at a time in comics as short as these.
> “On Sexual Harassment” does not show that non-hijabis can’t protect themselves. If you read the comic closely, it is actually about clothes being irrelevant with regards to sexual harassment. Qahera gets harassed despite being fully covered, and she explicitly tells Layla that she “does not need to be like her to be amazing.” Layla can’t defend herself because she is being attacked by several people at once. Nobody can defend themselves in that position, unless they have superpowers. The point is showing how ridiculous it is to need superpowers in order to deal with your daily life.
It is by no means a real solution to sexual harassment. It’s just a method of raising awareness through a different medium.
You should be following both Qahera and then artist behind it
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