DCIB Book Club: Ms Marvel Vol. 3 “Crushed”, Chapter 4, Sexual Assault, Self-Blame, The Gift of Fear

Oh boy, another great chapter to talk about! Where we start getting into the really fun sexual assault metaphor which manages to give the emotional lesson, without being scary and explicit.

Hi Emily! Still just you and me, don’t care. Someday someone looking for Ms Marvel content is going to stumble across these posts and really enjoy them. And in the meantime, we are enjoying them!

Being a teenage girl is so HARD!!!! Women are trained from childhood to think about the feelings of others, to be perfect, to blame themselves. That’s just how it is. And then you become a teenager and, like all teenagers, you grow up and make mistakes and do dumb things. But if you are a teenage girl, because of your training, you go inside yourself and blame yourself for everything that happened to you, not the people around you. Especially when you make dumb mistakes related to teenage boys.

That’s what this whole chapter is about. Kamala’s “gift of fear” instinct kicked in at the end of the last chapter and she started questioning if Kamran really was a perfect guy. And now, in this chapter, she sees she is in a terrible spot and he is a terrible person. That’s not the real problem though, the real problem is on the inside. Is she going to be frozen up by self-blame and guilt and unable to save herself? Or is she going to fight through that and see that the enemy is on the outside, not the inside?

This is such a perfectly written chapter. It is teaching girls how to react when they are sexually assaulted, without ever explicitly talking about it and spooking them. If you liked a boy and got in his car, that does NOT give him the right to do whatever he wants to you forever. You have the right to say “No, stop, I don’t want this” at any point.

At the same time, it’s okay to feel sucky. That’s something that these fictional stories miss all the time. They try for the wish fulfillment, the super strong woman who never feels guilty or bad, just punches her way out. That’s not helpful. That’s just going to make people feel worse because now they feel sucky for feeling sucky. If you see what I mean. This story says “yes, you are going to feel sucky and horrible and it’s okay to feel sucky. But it’s also okay to let your survival instincts take over and just ride them out of the situation and deal with your emotions later”.

Oh, and it’s okay to ask for help! Kamala feels in danger and uncomfortable in this situation, and she immediately calls for help. She doesn’t let fear or shame make her stop reaching out, she trusts her friends to understand and support her.

In the context of the comic book, this is a cute boy she trusted who took her to a Supervillains lair and tried to convince her to join an Army of Evil. But really, this is the story of a teenage girl who had a crush and made some bad decisions and ended up in a place where she didn’t feel safe or in control. But instead of doubling down, instead of saying “I already made bad decisions, I don’t have a right to change my mind, I am stupid and ruined and worthless”, she said “I am stupid and ruined and worthless, but my body is telling me to fight my way out of here, and my heart is telling me to call for help, and I am going to get the heck out of this situation and figure it all out later”.

Ms. Marvel - Vol.3 #15 | Project Fandom

It’s not just Kamala’s response, it’s also Kamran’s. He doesn’t turn into a sneering villain, he stays the same cute boy he has been all along. He wants her to stay because she is making him look dumb in front of his friends. He reminds her that they have this magical connection. Until she says “no” one too many times, and then he reverts to trying to hit her. Again, PERFECT for the story of the cute older boy who takes you to a party you don’t like. Don’t give in to him saying “make me look cool, don’t embarrass me”. Don’t give in to him claiming to “love” you. Done deep he is selfish, and he is going to hit you if you don’t give him what you want.

The title of this volume is “Crushed”, and that’s what it is about. A first crush on a bad choice, and that overwhelming feeling of being “crushed” by your own bad decisions when it is over.

2 thoughts on “DCIB Book Club: Ms Marvel Vol. 3 “Crushed”, Chapter 4, Sexual Assault, Self-Blame, The Gift of Fear

  1. Yes, we give our thoughts to the internet and someday someone who needs some kindred spirits to talk about Ms. Marvel will find them! It’s the beauty of blogs.

    I think your reading is exactly right. Crushed also because of how a crush can take your power and confidence and leave you vulnerable. Once Kamala is standing before the bad guy, Kaboom, and Kamran, feeling ashamed and miserable, they literally take her power. She has to use her wits to figure out how to escape, and after Kaboom zaps her she loses her embiggening powers and has to just scrap and scramble. She calls for help, as you say, and uses her knowledge of this place where she’s trained to trap Kaboom, but she’s too flustered to find her way out on her own. Enter Kamran again, always when she’s feeling helpless. Again, his main concern is for his male ego, she made him look like an idiot. It seems like if he played her emotions here she might still be vulnerable, but the realization that he’s going to physically hit her makes her see him for the “total buttwipe” he is and gives her her power back. She fights better than he does and that’s that.

    I love how Bruno’s main contribution is bringing a water taxi and promptly getting caught so that Kamala has to rescue him in order for them both to escape. And yes, being the friend she can open up to about her broken heart. We know she’ll be okay. (Love the art in that last page, so beautiful.)

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    • One thing that occurs to me, which is really a theme through out the series, is that Kamala’s powers really aren’t that powerful. It is that she trained and learned and worked to use them. In this story, Kamran’s explodey powers are way more impressive, but he never works at it, or thinks ahead, just is lazy really. Kamala has to plan and trick and be smart about it in order to win Kind of turning her weakness into a strength, her powers are of the type which force her to work for things.

      On Wed, Jul 28, 2021 at 11:20 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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