Malala Yousafzai is awesome and it would be difficult to find anyone who disagrees with that assessment. When asked on the John Stewart Daily Show what she would say to her attacker, she said she would wish for him that his children get a good education. She says she wants peace and that she wants to fight the Taliban through her words. She is just a teenager and has survived a brutal attack; being shot in the head in front of her friends. She says Islam teaches forgiveness. She exhibits grace and kindness at the tender age of 16 not everyone can claim. That she survived is a miracle, that she is not angry is a fascination. She is awesome. Period. And without denigrating her amazing strength, her beautiful spirit or the lessons she has for all us, the question must still be asked: is there room for a different view?
It seems that women are most celebrated when they exhibit tenderness, compassion and forgiveness. The Malala memes have flooded Facebook; the video of her on John Stewart has been shared by many thousands of people who often accompany the update with a message like “Wow this girl is so amazing! This is how everyone should act!” When viewing the video, there are some women out there who feel a tiny bit of embarrassing resentment. There are some women who try to silence that little voice inside them that says “no.” No, I don’t forgive. No, I don’t wish peace on the attacker. No, I don’t want his children to get a good education. In fact, I don’t even want him to have children. Or even be alive for one more second. There are women out there who are pissed as hell, and with good reason.
Why are we not allowed to feel overwhelming rage at the Taliban and what they did to Malala Yousafzai? Why are we being made to feel as though, and even told in no uncertain terms, that we must echo her sentiments, and if we don’t, well, then, we’re not good people?
Because you know what? F*** that. No, really. F*** that. Instead of going on and on about how everyone should-must, in fact-think and act with total compassion and forgiveness, how about turning that energy into asking why the United States has never, and will never, go to war specifically over women’s rights? Why not call for implementing secret yet widespread self-defense classes for women in countries where that’s a possibility, then send troops in to train them on exactly how to conceal the fact that they are trained assassins in the martial arts? Why not start shipping mace and stun guns to women in countries where gang rape is a problem? Why not make a real change in Pakistan and Afghanistan by sending in more troops embedded there with the sole purpose of freeing women from the horrible oppression they face?
Why not? Because it’s a joke. Already the comments down below are piling up before they’re even written; “we can’t fight violence with more violence!” “You’re just a very angry person!” “How can you say such horrible things and disrespect Malala’s struggle!” “You’re an idiot!” Rest your hands; everyone already knows what you’re going to say. Women’s rights, including the right to not be shot in the head while trying to get an education, are just not very important in the world arena.
And that’s why the answer to the title question is a firm and resounding “no.” No, there is no room for a different view when it comes to Malala Yousafzai; for softness, compassion and forgiveness are the only qualities that can be celebrated in women. War-mongering and anger-no matter how effective it’s been in making colossal, vast and permanent changes in the political and economic spectrum of world affairs-is not. Not in a woman. No way.
Malala Yousafzai is awesome, but is there room for a different view?
By: Rebecca Savastio