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Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist and the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate. The world learned about the girl after a gunman burst into a school bus and shot the girl in the head, thereby avenging her criticism of the Taliban and neglecting the prohibition to attend school. Although Malala’s life is still in jeopardy, she does not stop advocating for girls’ right to education. The activist has established a charity foundation, opened a school for Syrian female refugees, and regularly holds many events to support her ideas. This essay examines how Malala is portrayed in social media and why this young lady is considered hugely influential nowadays.
To begin with, in the article by Sharon Masige, Malala voiced her opinions on the current situation on female education and also shared her story of becoming an advocate for girls’ rights. Malala stated that “When my right to education was taken away – when my future was taken away from me – I knew that I had to do something” (Masige). Consequently, since her early years, Malala spoke out for the right to educate girls and was even blogging about her experience for BBC. The young activist attributes her motivation to fight for girls’ education rights to her father, Ziauddin, who ran a school for young girls in his country. Thus, the article provides the background of Malala’s success, especially her devotion to deal with such a complex issue as the lack of equal rights for education.
The second article by Isaac Chotiner gave a more in-depth insight into Malala’s life as it includes an interview with the activist icon. The young lady describes how she spends her typical day, deals with negativity, travels with education campaigns, and reinforces women’s rights. Malala also stated that she had no intent to become popular only to “hang out” with the world’s most influential people (Chotiner). As stated by Malala, “I always think about representing the girls who do not have the voice, who do not have the opportunity to go to the stage and speak up for themselves” (Chotiner). Hence, the article mostly concentrates on the activist’s current life and also provides the reason for the girl’s motive to fight for human rights.
It might be claimed that both of the articles emphasize the young lady’s inner strength and perseverance to empower young girls. Thus, these articles, where strong character traits and altruistic intentions of Malala are highlighted, affirm her honorary status as an activist idol. Regarding her powerful character, I must strive to be like Malala in terms of lifestyle, as she makes the world better. The girl sets an example to other adolescents, and her image in the media proves that everyone needs to become civically engaged to ensure total safety and freedom in their communities. Furthermore, it could be seen that the analyzed magazine publications adduce the person’s “success” story: she was a normal girl with the noteworthy aspiration to attain education and empower other girls to fight for their rights. These articles also highlight that “going against the rules” is a social norm nowadays, as, for example, in the Middle East, the common standards are outdated and have an urgency to be reformed. The analyzed magazine publications maintain the hegemonic discourse by showing that a person at any age with any national and cultural background can reach success and become a role model. Malala’s portrayal in the media gives evidence that she deserves fame and respect. Henceforth, such articles in the mainstream media evoke readers’ sympathy and adherence to the described public figure.
Malala is undeniably a hero of the 21st century, who has risked her life and well-being to fight for human rights. These articles demonstrate that ruining stagnant stigmas and social norms (in Arabic culture, for example) with philanthropic and charitable determination might turn an average person into an inspirational leader.
Chotiner, Isaac. “How Close Should an Activist Icon Get to Power? An Interview with Malala Yousafzai.” The New Yorker. 2019, Web.
Masige, Sharon. “How to Change the World: Lessons from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai.” The CEO Magazine. 2018, Web.