M.s Marvel tells the story of a young Pakistani girl (Kamala Khan) who is living in the United States with her very desi family. The series takes off from when she discovers her superpowers. When the series was first announced, all the attention was on how will Marvel authentically show a Pakistani Muslim household. For decades, Muslims, especially Pakistanis, have been reduced to one-dimensional characters who either just put their hands up and do the bhangra or blow up places while yelling Allahu Akbar. However, it seems like Pakistanis finally feel represented.
The show hit the nail when it shows how Pakistani kids are treated by their desi parents. Marvel has shown the nuance of a Pakistani family. How important humor and love are in desi families and how it is portrayed. The series spoke even more to desi Muslim Americans as many had to struggle with their clashing identities. Seeing this represented in a major TV series has been a nice change of pace. The series is even praised for showing the much controversial hijab/niqab as empowering rather than oppressive.
Lastly, the series even addresses the partition of the sub-continent. As any Pakistani knows, the partition was a traumatic experience for anyone wanting to immigrate to Pakistan from India. Many lives were lost, families were broken apart, and the people of the sub-continent still remember it like it was yesterday. Showing this part of the desi identity on screen was a huge step forward.
There are still many episodes to come. I, for one, am very excited to see how else the directors and writers will tell desi stories. And I am also excited to see what becomes of Ms. Marvel and how she fits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Having a desi superhero is one thing; having her interact with the big names such as Thor or Spiderman would be a dream come true.