Malala Yousafzai is an iconic leader when it comes to standing up for women’s rights. Needless to say, when the bright young 20-year-old updated the world about her new life as an Oxford freshman last Monday, we were thrilled.
5 years ago, I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls' education. Today, I attend my first lectures at Oxford. pic.twitter.com/sXGnpU1KWQ
— Malala (@Malala) October 9, 2017
Her continual fight for a better education for herself and other women is fearless, and we can all take a few points from her. Unfortunately, some people weren’t too interested in Malala’s intellectual achievements, but rather something society is typically more worried about when it comes to women. You probably guessed it, it’s her body.
According to Teen Vogue, a Pakistani news outlet released a photo of what is supposedly Malala, and in it she's wearing a green bomber jacket, dark jeans and ankle boots. Although the outfit seems normal for a young woman to wear in the U.K., trolls combusted at the sight of her in Western clothing. Some rushed to criticize, while some rushed to Malala's defense.
now jeans..shoes...soon that dupatta will be out
— Lunatic living. (@Lunatic6923) October 15, 2017
— Junaid Akram (@junaidakram83) October 15, 2017
— Imam Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) October 18, 2017
More people lost their minds over Malala wearing jeans than when she got shot. Our priorities demonstrate why we are our own worst enemy.
— Imaan Mazari-Hazir (@ImaanZHazir) October 17, 2017
People were terribly harsh on how Malala, an intelligent and revolutionary young woman, should present her own body. While the public’s opinions are split on her outfit's "appropriateness," the bigger question to ask is why does it matter what she wears at all? Ultimately, it was Malala’s own personal choice to wear traditional clothing in Pakistan, just as it’s her own choice to wear jeans on the streets of Oxford. She has done so much from such a young age to better the lives of women, and she is now attending one of the most prestigious universities in the world. But is it really a surprise that people were more concerned with her clothing choice rather than her incredible intellectual and social achievements? Unfortunately, no, it’s really just another case of society’s preoccupation with a womens' bodies.
We hope that Malala continues to dress according to her own sense of fashion and pays no mind to the haters, just like we all should. She continues to serve as an awesome example of owning who you are and your values, and presenting yourself in whatever way you feel comfortable. GIRL. POWER.