A children’s animated series premiered in Pakistan last month, with a strong female character fighting for the rights of Islamic girls. “Burka Avenger” takes down the bad guys with books and pens:
She was not born into royalty. She does not obsess about her beauty. And she definitely does not want or need to be whisked off on some white horse or magic carpet.
No, Jiya, or the Burka Avenger, is too busy defending women’s rights and education for all. Her weapon of choice against corrupt politicians and Taliban fundamentalists who try to stop her? Books and pens.
Now that’s what I call a role model for girls.
While the reaction has been mostly positive, there were some concerns that the heroine is still wearing a garment considered oppressive. Faiza S. Khan had this to say about any backlash:
A working woman is seen deciding to put on a burka to hide her face to go beat up bad people without getting caught, and we’re stuck on “Why a burka?” God help feminism, for that day has arrived when feminists are more concerned with what’s on a woman’s head than with what’s in it. It is, after all, possible that Burka Avenger may provide some inspiration, some hope to young girls made to cover themselves up against their will that women’s lives in similarly constrained situations have potentially more to offer. The debate about what the burka signifies has always been surprisingly low on concern for and resistant to knowledge about the women who actually wear them.
Though currently the four episodes are only available in Urdu, with English subtitles, there are plans to release the series in English, too. Here is a trailer for the series in English: