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I wanted to do a classic character that was simple yet easily recognizable. Superman is an iconic favorite so that’s who I became. My hijab is a part of me so any cosplay that I do incorporates my hijab. I worked to incorporate elements of Superman that were authentic to his cartoon/comic look while also being authentic to myself and that’s how my costume was born. I would never wear Superman’s or Supergirl’s traditional spandex costumes - that’s not how I typically dress and I would feel very uncomfortable doing so. I’ve always loved Superman’s costume colors from the cartoons I grew up watching and his iconic swooshy cape. I also drew inspiration from Supergirl’s costume to put together my Superwoman costume with a red maxi skirt that is also swooshy. Basically, I wanted to be swooshy.
I wasn’t very happy with any of the options available on the market so I pieced everything together with ready-made items. I got a Superman cape and swapped out the logo to match the one I had sewn onto my blue shirt. Found a blue hijab that matched the blue shirt, bought a red maxi skirt, and added a gold belt and red shoes to tie it all together.
People flipped out. Like, actually stopped me, engaged in involved discussions, with tears and hugs. The response was overwhelming, honestly. Little kids would yell out “Hello Supergirl/Superman/Superwoman!” at AwesomeCon and on the streets of DC. I’m grateful for the love I received, including being featured on an NBC Washington DC news segment. So many people told me that they saw me on the Friday evening news!
Cosplay has humbled me. I didn’t realize how badly fellow Americans wanted to see an Muslim woman superhero until I put on a cape and walked the streets of Manhattan and Washington DC. Many parents introduced their children to me and many people of color were just so proud of me. I am feeling a lot of the love and support that the media hides - Americans have more than hate and xenophobia in their hearts.

I think it’s possible to do feminine cosplay without being explicit or very revealing. I think comic artists should challenge their perspective of feminine displays, characters, and costumes, and I also think that female-presenting cosplayers should feel comfortable to adapting a character to suit their own personality while incorporating aspects of the character’s TV or movie costume.

- @helalipop

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