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Malala Day: A Call For Sanity

Editor's Note: On Malala Day, Neha Viswanath of Grade 10 explores the intricacies of being a 21st-century feminist. From stereotypes to rote perceptions, she deconstructs the nature of barriers confronting women's empowerment today.

Scrutinized. Every word. The ones she shouldn’t say, along with the ones she didn’t. Every stretch of fabric that isn’t where it’s supposed to be and every inch of skin that reluctantly adorns “controversy” as if it were an accessory. My worth falls within the sorry, narrow spectrum - from an object of lust to the kitchen; while my outfits seem to range between ‘asking for it’ and ‘conservative’.

I am a girl, and I seem forced to live in a world of black and white, where the slightest movement will confine me to a category. We tell our girls they cannot fly and we tell our boys they cannot land; weaving at a young age a contradicting conniving world that “thinks like a man”.

Your body is your temple some say. Yes. One stained with the muddied footprints of every lone man on the streets who sees me as nothing more than an opportunity. They burn MY temple, they break its doors , yet they pin the blame on me like I’m a dartboard. The inky mascara streaks my flushed cheeks as the tears roll down, with my feet rooted deep in the scattered ashes of my razed temple.

My words will never matter, so why waste paper and ink on me? Little do they know, I bleed the ink of stories they will not let me tell. Little do they know, my words will drone out the noise of the thousands of bullets that shower over the crumbling remains of war zones, leaving nothing but few pockmarked walls.

Malala Yousufzai, yet another teenage girl. Sometimes society will shoot you down with withering gazes and prying eyes; and other times, unfortunately with cold metal bullets. A young Pakistani teenager denied education by the Taliban. They tried to muffle her cries for revolution; they tried to close the lid, but instead they spilt the entire ink bottle. Her words now sprawl across the globe in attempt to convince this world of monochrome that we girls are not beneath education.

A salute to her on her birthday, for finally exposing the clockwork behind the female mind that will be fed by eternal paranoia and the will to be free of it; in this world sculpted by a merciless society that forever binds us to judgment.

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