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Why Is Newly-Married Malala Yousafzai Facing Trolling & Extreme Opinions Instead of Good Wishes?

Sit your ass down critics...Malala Yousafzai took a bullet to her head instead of bowing down to pressures far more serious. If she decided to marry, I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s doing!

Marriage is a big deal. So why can’t this young woman – despite her experiences and pedigree – question the institution of marriage?

My social media exploded today with the news that Malala Yousafzai got married a few days ago. Sadly, there I am seeing trolling, mean comments and extreme opinions instead of good wishes. “Hypocrite! Two-faced! Undeserving of the title of youth icon! She should return her Nobel Prize! Liar!”

This is also one of the very few times when the right wing and the left wing have united in their cause to make fun, question, and interrogate an inspiring woman who is in a position of power. And what’s gotten everyone’s panties in a wad is that Malala Yousafzai said something completely different a few months back and went back on her word.

Malala questioned marriage in the Vogue interview…but isn’t is smart to question something before you commit?

This is based on the interview she gave to Vogue magazine a few months back. She said in the interview, “I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?”

So, maybe I don’t ‘get it’ but all I interpreted from the above is Malala questions the institution of marriage. She also questions most people’s desire to get married. She never says that she doesn’t ever want to get married herself! What is wrong with that? What is hypocritical or two-faced about that? Isn’t it smart to question something before you commit to it?

I had a friend who agonized for months as to whether going to Harvard was the right choice. HARVARD! She got into Harvard and she wondered if it was the right choice for her! She worried if taking a loan that ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay tuition was worth the degree she’d get from the university. She questioned if going into debt was worth it. Would it pay off? All valid questions and we discussed the pros and cons of her situation even as she was inundated with queries from others who wanted to know, “Then why did you even apply to Harvard?”

So that’s it? It always has be an either/or scenario? It HAS to be black or white with no shades of grey at all? Even though we all live our lives among these shades of grey on a day-to-day basis?

I remember recently – during the April/May oxygen shortage in India during the second wave and where so many NGOs and philanthropic organizations were asking for donations. I did my due diligence and asked questions. Even with organizations that were reputable and well-known I still did my homework and did not just hand over my money. I wanted to make sure that my hard-earned money went to the right organization who spent it on the right cause. Because we need to question ideas and institutions.

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Marriage is a big deal. So why can’t this young girl – despite her experiences and pedigree – question the institution of marriage? And then decide that it’s OK for her now and that she’d like to take a chance on the same institution she had the temerity to question?

Taslima Nasreen’s tweet reflects exactly what people are questioning about Malala!

This is what Taslima Nasreen tweeted today and a LOT of my friends (people I trust and people I look up to) are asking the same question about Malala. “Quite shocked to learn Malala married a Pakistani guy. She is only 24. I thought she went to Oxford university for study, she would fall in love with a handsome progressive English man at Oxford and then think of marrying not before the age of 30. But…” So are we saying that there are no Pakistani men who are ‘progressive’?

Look…I’m not saying that I don’t have questions either. Sure, I do. I’ve had some interesting conversations today. Some of my liberal friends question her because horrors! ‘How can she be a role model when she seemingly changes her mind so quickly?’ When you counter by saying she is just 24 and can she not change her mind (if indeed that’s what she actually did) pat comes the response – NO.

She is a Nobel Laureate (but she is 24, I sneak in again) and that comes with responsibilities. But she never said that people shouldn’t get married, I said again. She only questioned society’s need for people to get married. Not to mention she is still just a young girl who is trying to figure things out and never ever said she wouldn’t do it.

And for all of those who think she caved to ‘family pressures’ to do the ‘right thing’ and ‘settle down’ at 24 – this is a girl who took a bullet to her head instead of bowing down to pressures far more serious and life threatening. If she decided this was the right decision for her – I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s doing.

All those who are questioning this young girl’s choice based on that one Vogue interview? This is ALSO what she said in the same interview: “Even until my second year of university,” she continues, “I just thought, ‘I’m never going to get married, never going to have kids – just going to do my work. I’m going to be happy and live with my family forever.’” She turns to me, full of revelation. “I didn’t realise that you’re not the same person all the time. You change as well and you’re growing.”

YES. We all change and we all evolve. And we should change and we should evolve. That’s the only way to grow. Change is the ONLY constant in our lives.

Malala decided to get married. She didn’t pick up a gun and shoot people!

We are human beings above all else. We get up, fall down and get up again. That’s the cycle of life. Just because someone won the Nobel Prize at the tender age of 17 doesn’t mean he/she cannot make mistakes and if that ever happens – let’s not f…ing demonize her but support her if that ever happens.

Let’s put things in perspective here. Malala Yousafzai is 24. These are the years to explore your lives, walk down paths you haven’t taken before, grow with age and time. Malala decided to get married. She didn’t pick up a gun and shoot people.

So, let’s all say congratulations and best wishes on this new chapter in your life, Malala. May life bring you happiness and smiles and laughter – all of which you so richly deserve.

For those still objecting – calm the f*** down. And while you’re at it SIT YOUR ASS DOWN as well!

Image source: Instagram

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About the Author

Roopa Swaminathan - The Messy Optimist

Hi...I'm Roopa. I'm also a messy optimist! I'm an academic-cum-artist. I'm a writer, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. Academically, I've a Double Masters and a Phd read more...

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