31 May 2018
It all started in the sixth grade. I was going through an identity crisis. I went to a Catholic school were the majority of the people going there were white and blonde. So, at one point I began to believe that looking like that was the perfect way to live. I would refuse to praise my heritage, I wouldn’t speak Spanish and I would hate when my father had to go to parent conferences. I would see the looks people gave him as we walked down the hallway. He clearly didn’t fit into the white and blonde population of the school. It wasn’t until I reached my sophomore year in high school that I understood that diversity is not a bad thing and I was truly able to embrace my nationality.
This is evident in the comic book Ms. Marvel as well. Kamala also had an identity crisis and thought that in order to fit in she had to look and act a certain way. Much like my story, Kamala wanted to be white and blonde. After getting her powers she realized how she would psychically change into a white and blonde girl, Captain Marvel, and she didn’t seem very happy with this. This shows how sometimes things need to happen to us for us to fully understand why things are the way they are.
It wasn’t until I got to a public high school that I was proud to be a Latina. Kamala also had to go through some adventures such as fighting the robots, breaking the gym locker in her school and sneaking out of her house, to fully understand the reality. Kamala later understood that she is who she is for a reason. I think this is very important for everyone to understand because we live our life’s trying to be someone were not to try to fit into societal norms and this comic book really shines a light on this. More people should be proud of who they are, and it shouldn’t be as late as high school for kids to embrace this.
Reading Ms. Marvel was something new for me. As a child my father would bring me comic books and I would read them but that died down quickly after I discovered the Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection. This was my first marvel comic and I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it was more relatable compared to most books, especially with her parents. My mother is very strict, and I see how upset she gets when my sister doesn’t come home before curfew. My mother was raised in a strict household, so I understand why it’s so hard for her to let those ideologies go. It’s only natural she’s imposing them on us like Kamala’s mother is doing to her.
I also enjoyed being able to see how they made Kamala a bit of a nerd because you can easily relate to her. Many kids aren’t “lucky” enough to be the popular ones in high school so having Kamala be a nerd and not too popular made me feel like the comic book was directed to me. It may seem cliché to say that kids need to relate to someone in the media considering how much its talked about, however, this is such a serious topic. It is proven that kids need to be motivated whether its self-motivation or they get it from somewhere else. Letting kids see that the struggles they go through aren’t rare and scary as they think will help them. Seeing people that look and even act like them is a way of coping with insecurities. I remember being around twelve years old and artist Selena Gomez made a comment about how she too wanted to be blonde and try to look like the girls she saw on the television. For me this was my way of coping and realizing that I wasn’t the only one going through a moment where I wasn’t happy with my appearance.
Talking about these serious topics is very useful like the way Kamala talked to Bruno. I think this comic lets people talk about their insecurities a bit more. When I had my identity crisis I didn’t really tell anyone, but I know my mother figured it out especially when I asked her if I can dye my hair blonde at the age of eleven. I feel like these new books and movies that are full of diversity are helping people. Although there is a lot of light shining on minorities nowadays, I am still waiting for some representation for the Latino community. I don’t doubt that it is in its works considering the overwhelming demand to see more minority groups in movies and shows.
This comic had a lot of deeper meaning to it then I initially thought. This reminds me of when we read Anon(ymous) and we discussed all the topics that were within the play. It was so amazing to see how much Anon(ymous) included and how this information wasn’t in plain sight. You really had to think about some things just like in Ms. Marvel. At first sight, Ms. Marvel looked like another marvel money maker, however, after analyzing it through a different lens it was clear to see how it was so much more. Ms. Marvel touched upon very serious topics like being true to oneself and how diversity plays a role in society.
I was able to see parts of my story in Ms. Marvel and this is great. I really think that including people of all nationalities in books and movies can really help unify people. In my sister’s graduation last week, NYU had a guest speaker who happened to be the prime minister of Canada. I didn’t know who he was or why people were cheering so loudly for him until he started speaking. He talked about how everyone must be united even if we have opposing views with one another. He went on to say how we must at least give each other a chance to talk before we judge. He said that we keep dividing each other by not accepting each other. This spoke to me because I see this a lot. There was a story on the news about how a lawyer yelled at a Hispanic worker to speak English. Its ridicules at this point that people keep dividing each other over things such as skin color and language.
The creators of this comic really did what the prime minister said, they tried unifying people by making this comic about a Muslim girl in New Jersey. By not making her look like the typical superhero many people were empowered, not only the Muslim community but all the people who are underrepresented. I see this comic as a step forward for everyone as a whole because we are all one. We are the ones that keep building walls between ethnicities and I think it’s time to break down all these barriers. The talk about building walls (literally and metaphorically) are over.
Reflective Artist Statement
I learned a lot throughout this project. There are many things people fear to talk about and this class threw that away. I think it’s awesome to have a safe zone where serious topics such as the ones we see in Ms. Marvel are discussed. I know that everything I learned from this class I will be able to use throughout my life. I know now that there are many people who are tired of the injustices in the world and that’s comforting because one day things will change.
I chose to write my narrative essay by mixing both my story with Kamala’s because I felt like it added more meaning to everything I wrote. When I added specific details about my life and compared them to Kamala’s I felt like it meant more. Writing like this might also help the reader understand a bit more of my story and see how common these problems are.