What is normal? The term normal has been something that is very hard to describe or distinguish, especially for young people. Is being a good girl or boy normal? Being pretty or handsome normal? Having good grades normal? Or perhaps, is being strong or have power normal? The truth is, what’s normal in one person’s opinion may not be normal to another person; and often times, what’s normal to children or teenager certainly may not always be normal to an adult. So, it is hard to make a fixed decision on what’s normal and what’s not.
In G. W. Wilson’s comic Ms. Marvel-No Normal (the first 5 chapters of the comic) it addresses a complexity of ‘normal.’ The storyline of Ms. Marvel depicts the life of Kamala Khan (also the protagonist of the comic), a teenage girl who struggles with finding out what and how she wants to live her life. Kamala is a sixteen-year-old ordinary girl from Jersey City, she lives with her parents and one older brother. However, Kamala seems to be an unhappy teenager, and part of her unhappiness is because of her parents, and sometimes of her friends as well. She is often caught sneaking out of the house without permission, talk-back and misbehaving or arguing with her parents, and this made her life and relationship with her parents very difficult.
Kamala is a Muslim girl, but she wants to be blond and popular, she wishes that her parents don’t have to put so much pressure on her and that she doesn’t have to ‘fight’ so hard to get her freedom from being an ‘ordinary’ teenager. In addition, Kamala also fantasizes her freedom of being a ‘normal teenager’ and have a normal life. This is when she had her first hallucination of ‘meeting’ with supernatural figures like Captain Marvel, Captain America and Ironman. Then, what came next, that Kamala had her wish granted of becoming a superhero herself that’s called Ms. Marvel.
Ms. Marvel, in its fist 5 chapters illustrates the ‘ordinary’ of teenage life, or at least a teenager’s craving of this ‘ordinary.’ Most teens, at this stage of their lives, faces a lot of complexity in life, whether it’s with family at home or at school with other teenagers. Teen-years is often the most difficult years of one’s life. Life of being a teen, is also where the teen boys of girls gets out of being a child and moves on to adolescent, and not old or mature enough to be an adult. But sometimes, teenagers like to think of themselves as adults, and this is where problems or conflict may occur, often with parents at home or with teachers at school. They are, somehow, at this ‘rebellious’ stage of their lives. In addition, teenagers fantasize life a lot, probably even more than children do, and this fantasy often lead teenagers to believe this is the ideal kind of life that they want to live. However, the truth is, a teenager’s fantasized life is often unliveable or unrealistic, but because this is just a process of being a teenager, so their fantasized life or imagined self is all a natural process of being a teenager. But, here is crucial and it is also important to educate teens on accurately distinguish between what’s right from wrong by parents at home and as well as teachers at school.
Finally, I think when I read Ms. Marvel, and see the struggle that Kamala experienced with the conflict that she faced with her parents, (being that she and her parents have different mindset on how to be a ‘normal’ teenager) it kind of brought back some of my memories of my own teenage life (especially the not-so-pleasant memories). But, it also made me realize that I wasn’t alone in this situation. Nonetheless, what I see now as a much more mature adult, I think of it as a process, it was just me being a teenager, and my parents, being parents. So, there is really no right or wrong in situations like this and that it’s all a phase, also a difference in perspective!
By: The Invisible Vision Project