Sunday, May 5, 2013

On Arab Female Superheroes: Wonderwoman

Photo and graphic from the site: Barrelhouse Magazine.
Editor Susan Muaddi Darraj's thoughtful essay on "Superheroes and Superpowers" an introduction to Barrelhouse Magazine's online issue reminisces about Wonder Woman and her mistaking Wonder Woman for being Arab when she was a young girl watching the television series.  Darraj states in her comments: she could pass for an Arab woman, with that black hair and that attitude. And those eyebrows! Or maybe it was just because there were no Arab heroes on television when I was growing up  (there still aren’t.) and I really longed for one. 

I suppose there are many reasons why children, who often feel powerless and often have a more certain belief in the moral rights and wrongs, end up being so drawn to superheroes.  Reading Darraj's essay brought to mind a show I grew up watching: Isis.  She didn't have Wonder Woman's bullet proof wrist cuffs, but she did have hair down to her waist and a snake crown, and I remember distinctly her l call: "Oh Zephyr winds which blow on high....lift me now that I may fly!" I remember being drawn into the story, which was wildly "orientalish" if there ever was an example.  Oddly, this Youtube clip for the "Shazam/Isis! Hour of Power!" (sudden and intense flashbacks of sitting in the TV room with the red shag carpet even as I write this) begins with a 70s-style love call to respect all people and all languages. Sad that her presentation sounds so naive and sincere to the modern ear.

(And thank you again, Barrelhouse Mag for printing my story in the first online issue: Heroes for Parties: 59 Bucks.)

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