Friday, October 11

Bandwagons Don't Help Malala's

Uninspiring Article: Malala Yousafzai and the White Savior Complex

A couple things...

But first:
I am really surprised at the quest so many are on to find out who cast the first or largest stone/drone (The Western Imperialists or the Savage Beardy Men)...mostly because it's the Malala's taking hits from all sides in the process. Who is really protecting the vulnerable here without putting her in a convenient box? IT'S A TRICK QUESTION.

Second. The young lady has a book (
I Am Malala) . Some of us will boycott it assuming it's one way to fight the Western PR companies profiting from exploiting her. Others will read it. And only some of the latter will read it for the right reason--to hear another person's narrative with an open mind, out of basic respect.

Third. Women are denied agency categorically by most sides, across the globe. Yes, there is, and has always been, exploitation of women and children. It changes when women become agents--when they are the narrators of their own lives. Not as represented by societies or journalists, no matter how well-intended. We've heard about teaching a man to fish; women have at least the potential to do the same--and are frequently doing much more. It's hard to find perspectives (if we're ignoring the actual women speaking out) that explore how to empower women to become their own agents.

For months I've been seeing otherwise intelligent people fight over who is using Malala Yousafzai [more]. This is one of the reasons there continue to be so many Malala's out there--because those of us blessed with better circumstances are busy pointing fingers, raising our pedestals while trying to break those of others. Who is actually helping at all here? We can all agree the drones and the bullets, the imperialism and the patriarchy, are not helping. I think I'd be willing to read her book just to know what she thinks could possibly help when most of the world has clearly failed her and those left unheard...even if reading a book makes me complicit with some people's understanding of imperialism by default.

Is there a way to point out injustices like US drone policies, indefinite detention, the role of imperial powers in maintaining patriarchy, Palestine, and everything else we wish would get more coverage (and have been wishing so for decades), without using Malala? There has to be. It is inconvenient for us as we type up our emotions, but you know there has to be. Along with the drones and the bullets and the nonsense, I think after reading the very common sentiment in the article, it only manifests as part of the problem and fails to provide a viable solution in anyway.


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