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Welcome to Week 24 of the Wise Not Withered Character Showcase! This week I am happy to introduce Farah, our 45-year-old Super-Mom! Farah is a school teacher, and a struggling widowed mother of two, dealing with depression and insomnia. I thought it would be interesting for Farah’s superpowers to develop in her middle age, rather than in her teen years or twenties—again, we are trying to break the mold of a woman’s “prime” being only in her child-rearing years. Many of the amazing wise women in this project are purposely childless; I thought it was of utmost importance to show that bearing children is not a goal for every single woman, and it is also not the “ultimate” goal for a woman, as though having a child is where her added value to society ends.
That said, it was also important to me to include many mothers and mother figures in this project, since so many real women are mothers, and being a mother is an irrevocable identity that many women take pride and joy in. And to add in some more diversity, which is one of the more subtle yet extremely important aspects of this project, we decided that Farah would be a widow, forced by circumstance to raise her children on her own.
Farah’s writer is Tilyan, who was born and raised in Kenya, and identifies culturally as Persian, specifically Balouch. Farah’s illustrator is Stef, who is German. I found both of these artists on Instagram, where Tilyan had posted some beautiful poetry and Stef has some amazing character illustrations.
As usual, I wanted each of the artists’ cultural identity to be included in the story somehow, so our hero Farah is Muslim, born in Iran but raised in Kenya, and she would have a best friend, also a struggling mother, who is German. There is not much of a story to show thus far, but Tilyan and I did come up with a few ideas that I think are worth sharing.
I’ve always been intrigued by stories that have no human antagonist, and the plot is driven by the characters’ situation and development rather than a conflict between and victory over another person. I envisioned Farah saving a village or a town from something like an earthquake, a fire, or heavy rain. As I mentioned earlier, I would want Farah’s superpowers to develop during her story as a 45-year-old woman, not something she already had since childhood or adolescence. Tilyan and I thought it would be cool if she had some kind of mental superpowers, such as telekinesis and/or a mental forcefield or shield.
Unfortunately not much progress has been made on Farah’s story, so there is not an excerpt for me to read today. This was a very short episode, but Farah nonetheless deserved to be showcased, and maybe one day the potential in her character and story will be realized. Until then, stay tuned for the LAST episode of the Wise Not Withered character showcase!