Netflix has released the official trailer for the upcoming Elite season 2. While I’m excited to see these characters again, I have also been reading some online chatter about how Nadia is a stereotypical portrayal of Muslim women in media.
I wrote a recommendation when Elite season one came out in October of last year. It can be considered a trashy show (who am I kidding? It’s completely trashy), but it’s the kind I enjoyed watching. It featured some well-written moments here and there along with being fun to binge-watch.
With the series coming back for a second round on September 6, 2019, the trailer shared some moments which made me understand where the Nadia-centric backlash is coming from.
Here’s the trailer!
A couple of scenes in the trailer show Nadia with her head uncovered. The trailer also seems to imply Nadia and Guzman will grow closer in the upcoming season.
And then there is the backlash, which does make sense and holds value because it’s coming from Muslim women who wish to be seen in a different light in media than the usual stereotypical fare that shows young Muslim women feeling oppressed by their religious beliefs and always being in search of a white savior.
Here’s my reaction to the trailer!
Some of the tweets mention the Muslim character named Sana from Skam and how her portrayal, while not perfect, was far better than what Elite is doing with Nadia.
The conversation appeared on my radar when Twitter user @sleepyamel shared her thoughts on Muslim characters in media.
You can tell there is definitely an issue here. While representation is important, said representation has to be of quality and not a rehash of problematic stereotypes. I personally enjoyed watching Sana’s journey in Skam. I can’t say the same thing regarding what Nadia has gone through in Elite. Her arc included being drugged during a party so Guzman (her current potential love interest) could sexually assault her to please his girlfriend. Guzman had a change of heart and didn’t go through with it, but then again, that entire event was another example of trashy writing.
And coming to some of you who might be thinking about it, no, a well-written fictional Muslim woman doesn’t need to wear a hijab. Kamala Khan, over at Marvel Comics, is doing just fine without one. The Muslim X-Men and Champions member codenamed Dust is a good example of how you can continue being a superhero even when fully covered. It all comes down to what is being represented and how.
As I said, Elite is a trashy show. It has nothing of substance to say (yet) even though it has some good moments of queer representation. That’s why I don’t expect the writers to deliver a well-crafted character arc for Nadia.
People waiting for better representation of young Muslim women will have to search for it elsewhere. (We’re open to recommendations, if anyone has any!) Maybe the second season of Elite will surprise everyone and actually handle Nadia with care? I wouldn’t hold my breath, but let’s see what happens.
Are you a fan of Elite? What do you think of Nadia? Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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