The last couple of days, my Twitter has been flooded with opinions and debates about a little 16-year-old from across the border. A girl who wanted the right to an education.
There have been endless viewpoints. Malala is a pawn. She’s a hero. She didn’t write her speech. She’s being played. What a badass. She deserves better than to be treated like a mouthpiece for vested interests. It’s all been well documented by anyone with a point of view.
The world is a shitty place. Shittier if you are a woman. There isn’t any place on earth a woman feels completely safe. There just isn’t. If you aren’t battling sexual harassment in the workplace, you’re hoping to make it home safe – that you won’t get raped and beaten and left for dead. Even home isn’t a safe haven for some of us. The spectrum of wrongs a woman faces are well documented, and people more articulate than I will ever be, have commented on them many times.
When I look at Malala, I don’t see pedestals or mouth pieces or groups with vested interests. All I see is a little girl who stood up to bullies. All I see is a brave little girl.
I have a five-year-old daughter.
She is a regular five-year-old who goes to a fabulous school where her teachers won’t just teach her the 3 Rs but also to be someone who cares about the world around her. She is one of the really lucky ones.
But, the world is a shitty place.
I want my daughter to have role models she can look up to as she grows up to be a citizen of this world. Role models who stand up for what they believe in.
I wish with all my heart Malala didn’t have to be a role model. That she could be just another normal, happy girl. Just like my daughter. But she isn’t. Nothing about her life is normal. I could do with some of her courage. We all could.
I couldn’t ask for a better role model for my little girl.