As we’ve mentioned before, we take the naming of Patron Saint of Feminism very seriously around here. Before that photo is inserted into our brilliant, beautiful rainbow frame, there must be a consensus among The Sirens that the candidate chosen empowers women, works for the betterment of all people, and is an all-around exceptional human.
Sometimes, however, we find that our ‘faves are problematic’, as the youths are saying these days. For example, we had planned for Susan B. Anthony to be the very first PSoF, seeing as how we launched on Inauguration Day and she was largely responsible for getting women the vote. A few days before launch, however, while doing research for a story about Anthony, I discovered that she was, in fact, a raging racist. A racist that had actually stated that she would NEVER fight for the rights of colored women, because they were not worth her effort. Yep. She said that. Madam CJ Walker was a much more worthy recipient of the honor.
This month’s Patron Saint of Feminism is the embodiment of all of the things that we Sirens admire. She is brave, she is steadfast, she is brilliant, and she has dedicated her life, and even almost lost it, in her crusade to fight the injustices of the world. She is Malala Yousafzai.
Malala’s life did not start in a truly remarkable way. She was a student from Pakistan who wanted to follow in her father’s humanitarian footsteps. She started small, writing a blog for BBC Urdu telling her life story in the thick of the Taliban occupation of her home of Swat. After garnering some international attention, the Taliban tried to end her life with a gunshot to the face. She lived to tell the tale, thankfully, and did not let those who tried to silence her win. Instead, she directed her instant fame into advocating for the education of women and girls, and followed that up by becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history.
By all accounts, Malala Yousafzai was an ordinary young woman with no extraordinary influence or power. But because she decided to speak up, rather than remain silent in the face of oppression, she unwittingly morphed herself into one of the most influential and powerful woman in the world, and THAT is what makes all the difference. As a very wise man once told us:
I’m certain Malala never yearned for fame, but she has dedicate her life to righting the world’s wrongs by speaking up when she witnessed young girls being deprived an education in her homeland. Malala is living proof that all it takes is one person brave enough to stand against the current of injustice in the name of doing the right thing.
Because of her astounding bravery, she has been able to parlay her notoriety into pumping even more goodness into the world. She inspires women, men, girls, and boys alike across the world, including some very familiar faces:
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 12, 2017
#MalalaYousafzai is the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m astonished by her bravery. We should all be more like Malala.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) October 10, 2014
A huge heartfelt congrats to #Malala on winning the #NobelPeacePrize today!!! At 17 years old, you awe and inspire so many children and adults with your strength, hard work and powerful message. It’s equally inspiring to see, on days like today, how people around the world are actively supporting and pushing you closer towards your goals – of getting children everywhere to get to go to school, of women’s equal rights, of spreading messages of hope and non-violence, and so much more. 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌 @malalafund #Hope #StrongerThan
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) October 10, 2014
— Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) October 10, 2014
From our very small corner of the world to yours, Malala, we thank you for being brave enough to speak up. We thank you for giving us all hope and faith that goodness still exists in this world. And, on a personal note, I would like to thank you for being a genuine role model that I am proud to have my young daughters admire. You have made everyone’s life better, and that is why you are August’s Patron Saint of Feminism.