An examination of how Butler challenges sexual norms, from the incest taboo in the Patternist series, to interspecies sex in the Lilith’s Brood trilogy, to pedophilia and rape in Fledgling, and arguably all three of these in her short story Bloodchild. These stories show us how norms, particularly sexual ones, are flexible between worlds, cultures, and especially individuals.
The obvious reason for more diversity and inclusion in comics is to allow marginalized people to better identify with the characters. For white fans, whether they are willing to accept it or not, the white default actually makes characters less interesting. A bold claim, I know, but bear with me. Superheroes, I think, are more interesting for being more human, for having trauma, hardship, and conflict. To the great extent that white folks – particularly cisgendered heterosexual men – have privilege and power, it further insulates them against the kinds of scenarios that give birth to heroes.
Gender inequality, even where it takes on a distinctly “Islamic” character, is not specific to Islam as a religion, or Muslim society. Rather, it is a consequence of patriarchy – a phenomenon that knows no religious or cultural boundaries. How patriarchy manifests in any given society, the ways that people – particularly women – respond to it, are simply different. We must be careful not to presume that these differences are qualitative.