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Marvel criticized for first non-binary superhero named “Snowflake”

Snowflake is a non-binary superhero, and along with their twin brother Safespace, they're the newest members of Marvel Comics' The New Warriors.
The new super-twins.Photo: Marvel Comics

Earlier this week, Marvel Comics introduced its first-ever non-binary superhero, a person of color named Snowflake. Snowflake and their twin brother, Safespace, will appear in Volume 6 of The New Warriors, a series about a young superhero team with an ever-changing roster.

But while Snowflake’s creators intended the character’s name as a way to show “teens fighting against labels that have been put on them,” because “snowflake” is right-wing web-slang for an over-sensitive person, some fans have criticized Snowflake as a misguided attempt at inclusivity.

Related: Marvel’s “The Eternals” will show the studio’s first out gay couple & same-sex kiss

Snowflake and their twin are just two of The New Warriors’ five newest members: there’s also Trailblazer, a large-bodied young woman with a magical backpack; Screentime, a teenager whose eyes and brain remain perpetually connected to the internet; and B-Negative, a “living vampire” with a goth style and a love for turn-of-the-century music.

Snowflake has the power to create crystallized snowflake-shaped shurikens (ninja throwing stars), and Snowflake’s twin brother, Safespace is a “stereotypical jock” in a pink costume who can create force fields to protect others.

An image of Snowflake, Safespace, Screentime,Trailblazer and B-Negative, the newest heroes of The New Warriors.
Snowflake, Safespace, Screentime, Trailblazer and B-Negative of The New Warriors.

In a press release, Marvel writer Daniel Kibblesmith said that Snowflake and Safespace’s names are a “post-ironic meditation on using violence to combat bullying,” adding, “These are terms that get thrown around on the internet [but] that they don’t see as derogatory, to take those words and kind of wear them as badges of honor.”

Here’s a video of Kibblesmith discussing Snowflake and Safespace:

But the name Snowflake plays into a stereotype of non-binary people as over-sensitive. Their relation to Safespace, a term for places where marginalized people can meet and share their experiences without fear of being silenced, plays into the stigmatizing idea that non-binary people and people of color need to be protected and sheltered from a hostile world because they’re weak.

The idea is hardly flattering or super-empowering, as some fans on Twitter attest:

 

 

Some of the Twitter commenters have mistakenly said that both Snowflake and Safespace are non-binary when only Snowflake is.

Also, seeing as most of The New Warriors superheroes exist only for a short time in each volume before disappearing into obscurity, the same is likely to happen to these super twins, no matter how groundbreaking they’re meant to be.

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