#Opinion

Malala Changed Her Mind About Marriage, So What?

malala yousafzai reads comments about husband
Malala Yousafzai wedding announcement has taken many of the activist’s followers by surprise. The Nobel laureate took to social media on November 9 and revealed that she and her partner Asser Malik had an intimate wedding at Yousafzai’s home in Birmingham. Many have dug out an interview of the 24-year-old from earlier this year, in which she had advocated partnership between couples instead of marriage. Does going against her word make Yousafzai less of a feminist or trendsetter?

On Tuesday, Yousafzai shared pictures from her nikkah on social media, writing, “Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life. We celebrated a small nikkah ceremony at home in Birmingham with our families. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.”

As soon as the announcement was out, several social media users dug out Yousafzai’s interview to Vogue for its July edition this year, in which she had said, “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?”

However, in the same interview, Yousafzai had hinted at a shift in her thoughts about marriage, saying, “Even until my second year of university, 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.’ I didn’t realise that you’re not the same person all the time. You change as well and you’re growing.”

But since we are no longer the world that would accommodate a person’s changing beliefs, Yousafzai is being trolled in her native country of Pakistan for her decision to go back on her thoughts on marriage. Here are some Twitter reactions to Malala Yousafzai’s wedding:

Indian social media users weren’t that far behind:

Does a 24-year-old young woman not have the right to change her mind, simply because she identifies as a feminist? Must celebrities back down on life-altering decisions because their fans have the tendency to see their opinions as words set in stone?

Malala is a young woman, she found love, her mind changed. Marriage is a big decision for any woman and it is not about feminism or empowerment- it is about one person finding the will to commit to another person for a lifetime. It is hard and full of uncertainty. What Yousafzai needs is compliments for finding a person who seemed worthy enough to change her mind about marriage.

While she may be an activist, Malala doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for her personal decisions. When she expressed her doubts over the institute of matrimony, she was just a young woman voicing her views and they should have been seen in that very context. She still remains one of the most powerful voices of our times, what she has been through to advocate education and women’s rights, is what needs our focus- to ensure that no other girl goes through the same fate.

Views expressed are the author’s own.


Suggested Reading:

You Are Right: How These Words Play An Important Role In Empowering Women

What Should Parents Do When Children Demand Social Media Privacy?

Who Is Asser Malik? All About Malala Yousafza’s Husband