Malala Yousafzai, Time’s Person of the Year?

Malala Yousafazi, the fifteen year old activist, was shot in the head by the Taliban for her activism, fighting for girls to get equal access to education.

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Yousafzai is not Time’s “Person of the Year.” That title goes to President Obama.

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When a magazine edited by men reports on stories about a world run by men, and designates awards for those major players with an award titled for men, how likely is it that we can imagine women’s stories will break through these ranks?

Until 1999, Time’s title was “Man of the Year.” 1999.

Is the word change just cosmetic?

In 26 years, Time Magazine has not had a solo woman on its cover with this title. Since the issue was created, only four solo women have ever held that title.

This week, Martha Nelson became Time’s first female Editor-in-Chief in the Magazine’s 90 year history. FIRST EVER WOMAN EDITOR IN CHIEF. The year is 2012.

Will things change now?

Of course, you could argue Yousafzai doesn’t influence world events anything like President Obama. She’s not “important.”

I remember before in the late 90s, when I was a producer for a talk radio program, trying to get the liberal talk show host to talk about the Taliban. “Who cares about the Taliban?”  he said. “We live in San Francisco. No one even knows what that is.” Of course, on 9/11, everyone knew. You can’t isolate that kind of hatred, but because tha Taliban’s oppressive apartheid government was hurting women, no cared much. It was a “cultural” difference, not a a political one.

How would our world  be different if issues that affected women were taken seriously? Certainly, women would be seen regularly on the cover of newsweeklies, not sucking up asparagus.

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Miss Representation has popularized the phrase: “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”

I would go even further: if you can’t imagine it, you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

Yousafzai blogged her ideas on the internet. She was voted for as Time’s Person of the Year by supporters on the internet. On the internet, we see this picture of her on Time’s cover.

Thank you to the internet for its virtual reality and helping us to imagine it, see it, be it.

 

 

 

 

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