Ah, the superhero female.
I remember seeing Wonder Woman spin round on the screen, when I was a girl, transforming into a scantily-clad-yet-hard-as-nails force for good, with her golden lasso and perfect curls. She was my grandfather's favourite.
And it's easy to see why!
Comic books, a genre whose audience has classically been overpopulated with boys and men, has included female characters – and even female superheroes – for decades now. But they've had a rather unique way of making women welcome in their genre: namely, by styling them for the male gaze.
Once you realise that's a thing, you see it everywhere. Advertising. Film. And especially comics and gaming.
Indeed, when I went to Blizzcon 2010, to celebrate my love of MMORPG World of Warcraft, there wasn't much of a queue for the ladies. And then, of the women present, many of them were in 'cosplay' – dressed in incredibly skimpy outfits. I walked up to one of them who was an absolute perfect blood elf, posed next to her in my long camouflage trousers and black jumper, and was surprised to notice lots of dudes taking our photo, besides the one I'd handed my camera to.
Now, that's just weird.
Why am I telling you this?
Because there's a difference between being invited and being included. There's a difference between just being present and being truly welcome.
I loved the story of illustrator Sara Alfageeh who pushed right back when she spotted Marvel's Niqabi X-Men character Dust, being depicted as a very sexualised version of an Afghan woman. She decided to take matters in to her own hands and redraw Dust in a way that made her feel empowered – as a Jordanian-American who wears a hijab.
The results? Much better. The online Muslim community says so and frankly, as a non-Muslim, Alfageeh's idea of what female empowerment looks like in comic format is a lot closer to how I would like to see myself. I'd quite like to see her redraw ALL of them.
We may invite women in to our comic books, but we kindly ask that their boobs defy gravity while they save the world. And that they wear latex. Even if they're niqabi.
We may also invite women, or black people, or people with a disability, into our boardrooms – and what do we ask of them there?
Do we welcome women, as long as they contribute their emotional intelligence and empathy?
Do we allow people from underrepresented groups in, as long as they play their part in establishment power structures?
And - toughest question of all - does that then mean that we become satisfied that we've done our bit for inclusion when actually, we are using underrepresented people to reinforce oppressive structures?
It's important to include people that you are representing in the design process. I wrote about this previously in addressing the concept of 'inspiration porn' and the use of disabled models in runway fashion shows, without including them in the creation process.
Wherever you are depicting a certain group, for whatever reason, the best thing you can do to be inclusive is to actually include them. Not just as a part of the story. But as architects of the story.
Ms Alfageeh, "fuelled by bitterness and a deep love of street fashion", decided to take matters into her own hands and redesign the hero's attire - echoing a recent trend on social media to redraw comic book characters seen as sexist. Her images of Dust have been liked nearly 20,000 times on Twitter. And hundreds of people have replied to praise the "amazing" images. Many young Muslim women commented to applaud the fashionable designs.