Inej Ghafa: The Breakdown Of The Mysterious Brown Girl
Start writing a post

If you're quiet and have black hair, odds are you have been called "mysterious." It was most likely unprompted, while you were eating lunch or just talking to a friend, and was probably said by a white dude who's just trying to "figure you out." Why? Who knows. Is it a compliment? Who knows. It's a comment that's about one degree away from calling you "exotic," but this time the fact that you don't just talk to this man makes you a puzzle to solve in his eyes.

In fiction, this is doubly true. If you have dark hair, you are instantly a shadowy creature. Quiet, dark-featured characters, especially women, even more so. They're mysterious, they're shady, they're a little spooky in their silence. If they're not a complete mystery, they are, at the very least, kinda evil. I cannot even imagine a blonde woman being described as hiding in shadow or sparking mystery, because it is always these black-haired, dark-featured girls who are constantly drilled into our minds as puzzles, shadows, witches. And, as unfortunate as this trope is, there's no doubt my childhood (and adulthood) love of female villains is more than a little tied to how easy it is for me to physically see myself in them.

So, it's no question why I found myself both instantly attracted to and wary of the way Inej is written in Leigh Bardugo's fantasy heist novel, Six of Crows. Inej is a dark-haired, silent killer. Her dark features hide her well in the shadows. She is hardened, impossible to read. Her silence allows her to exist in rooms unnoticed, causing half the characters to jump when she finally speaks because they didn't even realize she was there. She is, at first, that age-old trope.

But this book has several narrators, one of them being Inej herself. And, in truth, she's none of that. She's not a mystery. She's not scary. If you look at her from afar, you only see the dark-eyed mystery girl trope. Take a step closer, though, and she becomes human. So, in Matthias' perspective, Inej remains a phantom. From Nina's perspective, Inej is a close friend to sing and share waffles with.

And it is so refreshing to see a character break out of the trope I've grown up on, especially in this way. So often, quiet female characters remain quiet constantly, even with friends, or have some hidden reason they're quiet, or they really do just need that One Man to figure them out. But Inej is quiet around some people, talkative around others, and easy to figure out if you just get to know her. You know, like an actual quiet person.

I have told multiple fans of this book of my love of Inej, and, more often than not, the response is, "Of course you do. She's you." For some, this means, "Of course you do. You've got the same personality." For others, though, despite Leigh Bardugo's excellent portrayal of Inej, it means, "Of course you do. You're both dark mystery women." And until we have more characters like Inej in fiction who break through this trope, women like her and I are going to have to continue finding the flattery in comments like that, just as we did as children playing the Shego to our friend's Kim Possible on the playground.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Pexels

As the holiday season draws nearer, many of us find ourselves drawn to the same old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials and the perennial favorite, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." However, I would like to suggest an overlooked alternative, "Arthur's Perfect Christmas." It is a heartfelt, funny, and surprisingly inclusive Christmas special that deserves more recognition.

Keep Reading... Show less
Reclaim Your Weekends From The 'Sunday Scaries' With 'Self-Love Sundays' Instead
Olivia DeLucia

Laid back and taking it easy — sometimes that is the motto we all need after a busy week. Sunday scaries? Yes, they are valid – but you know what else is? A Sunday full of self-love. A lazy Sunday spent doing what you feel needs to be done to ease into the next week. Self-Love Sundays are a guilty pleasure that isn't only essential for our mind, and body, but are also a surprisingly proactive way to devote the upcoming week with a clear mindset.

So, what is a more suitable way to dedicate your week's end than a beautifully, connected playlist to accompany your face masks and journaling? Cheers, to a Self-Love Sunday (and a playlist intertwined with it to match). (Please note: "Sunday Morning" isn't included in this list, due to the obvious, but feel free to blast it anyway, we know you want to).

Keep Reading... Show less
Sunset Girl

The sun rose and peeked through the sheer curtains. Rose’s alarm shrieked. The loud bells caused her phone to jump on the side table. It was time for her to get ready for church. Blindly reaching for her phone, she shut the alarm off and pulled at the covers providing her a cocoon of warmth and tossed them to the side. She swept her bare feet across the bed to touch the cool wooden floor.

Rose softly tiptoed to the corner of the bedroom to grab her clothes dangling on the arm of the bedroom chair. Scooping all of the items of her chosen outfit, she headed to the bathroom hoping that she wouldn’t drop anything.

Round, piercing blue eyes stared back at her in the bathroom mirror. Rose fingered the wrinkles forming around her eyes. So many of them bore signs of laughter and smiling. Slowly dropping her hands, she couldn’t remember the last time she laughed in her home with Tom. Shaking her head as if to erase the negative thoughts, she reached for her makeup bag and went through her regular routine.

Applying her favorite deep rose lipstick, Rose headed downstairs to make her coffee and bagel to take with her to church. The smell of dark-roast coffee swirled in the air as Rose sliced her cinnamon raisin bagel. Hearing the Keurig sputter with the fresh brew, Rose found the interruption of the stillness comforting. The toaster signaled that her bagel was done with a soft pop. It had a delicious golden brown color. Placing the bagel on the counter, she generously spread honey nut flavored cream cheese across both halves. Gathering her bible, notebook, and pens from the side table on the porch she stuffed them into her purse. Purse hanging on her right shoulder she juggled her coffee and bagel in both of her hands as she headed to the garage.

Keep Reading... Show less
Environment

This Holiday Season, Choose To Be Eco-friendly And Reduce Pollution

Many of us have old magazines lying around, fully read and not of much use anymore. However, we can use their bright colors and prints as a stylish and trendy wrapping paper!

942
Presents

It can be overwhelming to see the detrimental effects of climate change and pollution on the news, from animals dying and forest fires spreading, but there are smaller changes that we can all make to reduce our carbon footprint, and it begins with our gifting season.

On average, Americans throw 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Years, which translates to 25 million tons of garbage. That's 1 million extra tons per week.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

This Feeling Hurts

A Poem on Love

2518
Ronny Salerno

This feeling hurts. I must declare

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments