Be Glad for Malala, but Please Don't Patronize Her

Let's skip this 'bravest girl in the world' sentiment: columnists
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2014 1:20 PM CDT
Be Glad for Malala, but Please Don't Patronize Her
Malala Yousafzai speaks during a media conference at the Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, England, Friday.   (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

While Slate's Joshua Keating argued previously that the Nobel Peace Prize should go to no one this year, he's not about to begrudge Malala Yousafzai, who was named a co-recipient today. The 17-year-old Pakistani activist is certainly worthy, he writes at the website. Just one thing, though: Can we please do away with the "irritatingly smug and condescending" coverage of her being "the bravest girl in the world," he asks. It's a disservice to her, and it belittles what she's up to these days. The good news is that the poise she has shown on the world stage, along with her willingness to challenge leaders including President Obama, suggests that she "isn’t going to let herself be reduced to a cuddly caricature."

Which is the way it should be, observes Amy Davidson at the New Yorker. "It is past time to stop seeing Malala as simply the girl who survived, as a symbol," writes Davidson. "She is a girl who leads." Consider that death threats against the teen have not stopped, but nor have they silenced her. "The worst insult to Malala would be to regard her as nothing more than a child performer for peace, kept in a moment we want to keep hearing about." She became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize today, but it's as much about her future as her past. Click for Davidson's full post, or for Keating's full post. (More Malala Yousafzai stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.