“Not so fast! BANG!” The man falls defeated to the floor. But Qaheera, Egypt’s first-born webcomic superhero, is combatting more than crime.
She hangs misogynous men on a clothesline, skillfully fights street harassers, and dares to stand against a FEMEN’s demonstration to confront the ‘save them’ discourse. It’s all in a day’s work for superhero Qaheera: she’s here to turn the stereotype around.
“I’ve always wanted to do a webcomic starring a badass Muslim superhero who defends women while shutting up all the feminists who try to co-opt the struggle”, says its young creator, Deena Mohamed.
The women who bear the brunt of Islamophobia, she claims, are invariably hijabi Muslim women because they are visibly Muslim. “All of the Islamophobic stereotypes, and many others, are heaped upon their heads”, she explains.
Creating a veiled superhero did not spare the artist from criticism, as some young girls felt un-represented. But Ms. Mohamed asserts that the real issue is not clothes, but lack of representation.
“It is not that I want to portray a Muslim hijabi character as being superior to others. It is actually about clothes being irrelevant when it comes to sexual harassment. Nobody can defend themselves in that position, unless they have superpowers,” she explains. “The point is showing how ridiculous it is to need superpowers in order to deal with your daily life.”