A new photo of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai has surfaced on the internet which has raised a furore. The unverified picture was shared by a Facebook page, claiming the girl in the picture was Malala. In the picture, “Malala” can be seen sporting a pair of jeans with brown boots along with a hijab wrapped around her head. The picture has apparently sent shockwaves across the internet as Malala has only ever been seen her in traditional Pakistani clothing. So people had, therefore, assumed she would not dare wear anything else. While the legitimacy of the picture is yet to be affirmed, people were not happy with the thought of Malala Yousafzai in this new avatar and proceeded to slut-shame the young activist. Because isn’t that the natural response to any woman to does not conform?
Malala has recently started college at University of Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). Based on how normally some students, when heading off to college, experience a “wild phase”, people have started mocking Malala, calling her out on her “shameless” behaviour. All because she is wearing jeans with a jacket and hijab.
There was even a gentleman (#lel) calling her the “next Mia Khalifa.” There isn’t any confirmation yet as to whether it is actually Malala in the photograph, but even if it is, does that really warrant her being slut-shamed? Who are you tell a woman what to wear and what not to? Who are you to police her clothing?
The image was initially uploaded to a Facebook page named Siasat.pk with the caption “Malala Yousafzai in UK” on Saturday. The photo has over 3,200 shares and nearly 2,000 comments, most of which are people being nasty towards Malala.
Here are some of the comments from the post:
Social media ‘warriors’, go home. You’re drunk.
For the sake of the argument, let us assume that that is indeed Malala in the viral photo “shamelessly” donning a pair of jeans. So bloody what? Have the rest of us not chosen to do away with conventional traditions before? Do you wear a dhoti to college? Do women in India wear sarees only? Do men in Pakistan wear Pathan suits to schools and colleges? Are they shamed into doing so? No? Then shut up and take a couple of seats.
Have we, as humans, never modified our religious practices before? Our customs are, and always have been, in a constant state of flux. So why is it that people chose to attack a woman exercising her freedom to wear what she wants to wear?
The incident just goes to show how we still believe females are not equals, but rather men’s inferiors whom they order about and dictate terms to. In our society, a woman, any woman, no matter how old or how young, must always maintain a male-approved exterior lest we devour them.
Showing even the slightest signs of deviation for “sanctitude” is death to them.
And THIS is why we need feminism. No, it has nothing to do how women want men to suffer. It has nothing to do with how women want to enjoy privileges without ever having to lift a finger. It is about wanting equal rights TO EXIST, because the truth is, they don’t. That is all. And anyone who chooses to deny this fact has been privileged for far too long.
So, yes, Malala Yousafzai can wear a pair of jeans. She can wear a pair of boots and if she wishes to, she can also choose whatever profession she wishes to. It is her choice. Not yours.
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