Life in Pakistan: Superhero Avenges Wearing Burka

Photo courtesy of Unicornblack via The Atlantic

Photo courtesy of Unicornblack via The Atlantic

There is a new children’s show in Pakistan, Burka Avenger, featuring Jiya, who is both a schoolteacher and a superhero known as the Burka Avenger. As the superhero, Jiya dons a full-body black cloak complete with face veil to fight an evil magician and corrupt mayor who try to close schools and steal charity funds. While there is support for the cartoon as it speaks to empowered women, camps are divided regarding Jiya’s chosen superhero costume: her burka.

Read the full story on The Atlantic here.

Critics note that the burka is seen as a symbol of female oppression and the use of it by the superhero sends a mixed message. Former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., Sherry Rehman noted via Twitter that a scarf would have sufficed. Supporters of the cartoon’s costume disagree, saying that Jiya has turned “a symbol of confinement into something spunky and adventurous.” “When she takes back the power of the burka, she’s taking back the power … of every woman,” said journalist Mahvesh Murad.

Check out the first episode here:

For more on the cartoon visit the Burka Avenger website or Facebook page.


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