Commentary: Ms. Marvel opens the door towards accurate representation of Muslims


Poster courtesy of Marvel

Ms. Marvel, the seventh MCU TV show, focuses and celebrates South Asian representation.

Coming-of-age, heartwarming and impactful. 

Ms. Marvel, a new Marvel television series  released in June 2022, depicts the process of the main character Kamala Khan gaining new powers and learning how to use them. Khan seems like a normal teenage girl but  upon entering her room, her fascination with Avengers and Captain Marvel through countless posters, is revealed. 

Throughout the show, Khan has to fight villains like the Clandestine, Kamran and the U.S. Department of Damage Control. She receives help from her friends, Bruno, Nakia and the Red Dagger. 

Khan holds a special connection to her faith as the first American-Pakistani Muslim superhero. While countless shows in American television showcase Muslims as always struggling with their faith, Ms. Marvel gives a more accurate representation of the aspect of feeling comfortable in her identity.

Khan’s faith was not forced but intertwined into her story, creating a sense of normalcy in her daily life. While being Muslim was something she felt comfortable in, it still did not become her whole identity. 

Even though the hijab is commonly associated with Islam, the main character does not wear one, even though her best friend does. This breaks the stereotypes that the hijab is the only symbol of a Muslim woman’s faith. 

Similarly, Khan’s brother, Aamir is seen as deeply religious while the other family members are not which provides a variety of ways that the Khan’s family practice Islam in their daily life. 

The Hindi phrases commonly used throughout the show such as “challo” and “beta” made it more endearing and comforting to watch, as much of the South Asian audience are familiar with these words. Similarly, the wedding scene with Aamir and Tyesha was heartwarming, leaving me to rewatch it multiple times. From the music featuring the song “Hadippa”, to the dance number, the accuracy was spot on creating a mirror image for the Pakistani weddings we see in real-life. 

Each episode highlights many South Asian songs. Many older songs are featured including “Ko Ko Koreena” to newer ones like “For Aisha” and “Pasoori”. The producers took their time and research to accurately portray music into the scenes. Including older and up-and-coming singers, the music appealed to many South Asians straying away from using popular Western music.

Not only did Marvel cover representation beautifully, they also dealt with tense historical moments like the Partition, a period of religious turmoil where Muslims had to leave to Pakistan in order to avoid the Hindu and Sikhs conflict staying in India. 

The ending scenes show a struggling Khan trying to think of a superhero name. Throughout the story her substitute superhero name is Night Light because it relates to her powers. Her dad tells her name “Kamal” means perfect in Arabic but in Urdu it is more closely translated to marvel thus creating her name Ms. Marvel. 

Many western television shows depict Muslims in a bad light or inaccurately. Through Ms. Marvel stereotypes have been broken while instead celebrating the religion and culture through the eyes of a Muslim teenager.