Growing up in a Puerto Rican household with several brothers and male cousins, all of their superheroes were White men. All powerful, all overcoming obstacles, all living their best lives. But, none of them looked like us. None of them lived like us. So, it was hard for us to truly accept our strengths and use it for the benefit of others if we couldn’t fully relate to the personal lives of these superheroes.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the writer and creator of Puerto Rican mythological superhero, La Borinqueña, came to Penn State on Wednesday, April 17th to talk about the current crisis in Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane María and his comic book, La Borinqueña.
Little did he know, there were a few Puerto Rican women who grow up lacking this superhero and who were jumping inside of excitement that they can finally see themselves represented in comic books.
La Borinqueña is a college-aged Puerto Rican woman from Brooklyn, New York attending Columbia University. As a S.T.E.A.M. student, Marisol Rios de la Luz, is given the opportunity to study abroad in Puerto Rico for some research. And that is where the magic happens.
After being given earthly powers, the mother of Boríken explained to Marisol everything that was happening, and how she was now being transformed into the strong hero of all of Puerto Rico: La Borinqueña.
With her powers over the sea and winds, she uses it to protect the good people of Puerto Rico. And she represents how each and every one of us needs to protect our people and take care of this planet.
Not only is she one of the very few female mythological superheroes, she represents more than just “having superpowers.” She represents Puerto Rican patriotism, activism for social injustices and strength within a Puerto Rican woman.
Latinas growing up most likely did not see themselves correctly represented in the media. There were no superheroes that looked like me growing up and that contributed to my low self-esteem. I had to look up to Wonder Woman. A woman like me, yes, but the color of her skin was never like mine.
And to be a college-aged Puerto Rican woman finally reading a comic book about a college-aged Puerto Rican woman? I couldn’t be more happy about this representation. And I know I’m not the only one.
REPRESENTATION MATTERS. REPRESENTATION MATTERS. REPRESENTATION MATTERS.