‘Shot Pakistani Girl’: The Limitations of Girls Education Discourses in UK Newspaper Coverage of Malala Yousafzai

Rosie C Walters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
891 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This article analyses the extensive coverage in UK newspapers of the shooting, recovery and activism of Malala Yousafzai, the prominent campaigner for girls’ rights from the Swat Valley. The study uses discourse analysis, and a poststructuralist, feminist and postcolonial approach, to analyse 223 newspaper articles, identifying the dominant discourses about Yousafzai in the context of the UK’s colonial history and perceptions of its current role in global politics. The article demonstrates that the UK media’s representation of Yousafzai’s story embraces and reproduces seemingly emancipatory discourses around girls’ education, yet is ultimately limited by enduring gendered and orientalist discourses that underlie these new initiatives, which are simultaneously produced by, and productive of, unequal power relations. Despite Yousafzai’s courageous campaigning, these discourses still make it easier for UK journalists to label her the ‘shot Pakistani girl’ than to call her powerful, a survivor or indeed a feminist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-670
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Volume18
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016

Keywords

  • Girls
  • Education
  • Malala
  • Media
  • UK

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