WARNING: VERY MILD POSSIBLE SPOILERS, AS I HAVE NOT SEEN THE SERIES AND THUS CAN’T SPOIL IT VERY MUCH.
I loved Captain Marvel, and have always loved the Captain Marvel character. Then a privileged white woman from the American Northeast decides that ohmygod Islam is so amazing and empowering, and shoehorns into Captain Marvel’s spotlight by writing a Pakistani Muslim character deeply associated with her. (Does the fact that Wilson is about as far separated from Pakistan and Islamic societies as I am from the throne of England bother anyone else? We’re constantly being reminded not to appropriate someone else’s culture, which is a valid point, but it’s okay for this one well-off American white person to say she can write a Pakistani Muslim character? Whatever.)
The MCM has never involved religion. I’ve loved that. Sure, Captain America made a quip about how there’s only one god, but that was written as a jocular jab at his character. He was looking at a god, for Pete’s sake. I felt deeply uncomfortable with Ms. Marvel from the start, because her character was explicitly Islamic and was supposed to be an inspiration to young girls. Some people tried to tell me “It’s no different from Black Panther, she’s just supposed to give an under-represented group a good presence in comics” but it’s not. The difference is that Black Panther is associated with a race, a nation, NOT an ideology. Thus I don’t like the idea of “Captain Marvel, but Muslim” any more than I would like the idea of “Black Widow, except she’s Mormon and that’s so amazingly cool, she’s an example to young girls everywhere, especially the Mormon ones, who need to be reminded of how special and amazing their culture and faith is.” Basically I don’t want someone elses’s patriarchal beliefs being marketed to me as empowering to me as a woman. Fuck that noise.
I know Ms. Marvel is written with a sort of “oh, she has these very strict parents, what a bummer” kind of a deal, but again, that’s how Wilson writes it, almost like a teenage girl having strict Muslim parents is just another freaky, awkward part of teenage girlhood. Oh no, I said something stupid to my crush and my dad is deeply upset that I ever even had a crush because I need to be keeping my eyes lowered! What’s a girl to do, right??
But I figured, so long as I avoided Wilson’s glassy-eyed stare and her comic books, I’d be okay. After all, it’s not like they’re going to emphasize Ms. Marvel’s religion in an actual MCM series, right? It’s 2022. They’ll trim it down. Her being Muslim will just be like Captain America being Christian: an afterthought.
I haven’t seen the series yet, but I got a rundown from one of my friends. His take was that Ms. Marvel’s Islamic faith is very much emphasized in it. It’s not like a commercial for Islam, but apparently there are jinns, and they come from a mystica dimension called “Nur”, the Islamic word for God’s light. Apparently there are all sorts of references to Islam in the series, he said, again, not like a recruitment effort or something, but almosr as though it’s just assumed that Islam is true and real.
Again, I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know. Is it really like that? He and another person I was with debated over it, she said that they just do stuff like visit a mosque and celebrate an Islamic holiday but the specific place isn’t that important to the story. But she did admit about the jinns, the Nur dimension, and the regular references to Islamic culture. I don’t know. I’m uncomfortable with the whole thing, but is he wrong? I don’t want to watch something that will just end up pissing me off, but I also don’t want to miss something good.