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.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||British Journal of Politics and International Relations|
|Early online date||18 May 2016|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2016|