What Women Want!!

Today is 11th January and Google has a very interesting doodle on someone named Alice Paul. Not many of us in India would know of her but in the US, she is an icon, esp. for the rising breed of feminists and gender apartheid activists.

“Few individuals have had as much impact on American history as has Alice Paul. Her life symbolizes the long struggle for justice in the United States and around the world,” the Alice Paul Institute says. “Her vision was the seemingly ordinary notion that women and men should be equal partners in society.”

Before 1920, women in the US had no right to vote. It was only because of efforts led by Ms. Alice Paul that the government, and the US society of early 20th century, realized the importance of gender equality and their role in policy making. She continued her work in the field of women’s rights and was also instrumental in including the clause for ‘protection for women’ in the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which we know more about because Martin Luther King).

So to celebrate the birth anniversary of this legendary activist, today’s Needull is about a recent creative approach to showcase the much talked-about ‘Women Empowerment’ closer home in South Asia.This article introduces a 2013 animated superheroine named ‘Burka Avenger‘, a mild-mannered Pakistani school teacher by the day and a burqa clad Ninja-like warrior in the night. As a TV series, it currently runs on Nickelodeon Pakistan and ZeeQ India, and has already been recognized by Time as the most Influential Fictional Character of 2013. As international acclaim is pouring in and the Season 2 is on-air, a Hollywood financed film is also on cards. Obviously, like most cartoon characters, this one has its own stereotypes and biases. The question remains and the debate continues: Is Burka Avenger reinforcing stereotypes or creating an empowered new heroine?

But when our supergirl fights local thugs seeking to shut down a girls’ school (did I hear someone shout Malala), the message is clear – “don’t mess with the lady in black, when she’s on the attack.”   Well one thing’s for sure, Ms. Alice Paul would have definitely liked this lady in black.

So here you go: the Washington Post article by Aly Neel titled Burka Avenger, Pakistan’s new superhero.