Malala Yousafzai hits out at Western pop music

Malala Yousafzai, the activist schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, has said she is angered by how pop music represents women.

Malala Yousafzai visiting the Burntisland Primary School site in October 2013. Picture: Jane Barlow

The 17-year-old campaigner has claimed most female artists in the West have accepted that they should be “treated like objects”.

She rose to prominence after surviving an assassination attempt in October 2012 when her calls for equal rights angered militants in her homeland of Pakistan.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A bullet narrowly missed her brain and she was airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she was treated for life-threatening injuries.

The schoolgirl has settled into a new life in the city with her family, but revealed she has been shocked by some aspects of Western culture.

“What I get a bit angry about is the image of women. It gets quite difficult for me when I listen to pop music. I don’t often understand the words, but when someone translates them to me, I think, ‘What is this song representing? That women are just there to be treated like objects?’

“Most of the time they do not even make sense. And the thing is that most of the female artists seem to have accepted all this. But they have a role to play,” she told The Observer Magazine.

Malala has recently become involved in the campaign against female genital mutilation.

“It doesn’t happen in Pakistan,” she explained, “so this was the first time I knew about it. People think, ‘Oh, everything is good here because it is a developed country,’ but I have seen that there are things here that need to be highlighted and solved.”

She acknowledged that there are many positives to living in England and is impressed by the facilities at Edgbaston High School for Girls, where she is studying for her GCSEs.

“They have computer labs, science labs, nice books - everything you need. And the internet!” she exclaimed. “Before I came here, in my whole life in Pakistan I did not do a single piece of research on Google. Not a single!”

Malala revealed she is prioritising her school work in a bid to empower herself with education and use it as a “weapon” in the future.

“I will only miss school for an engagement if it is going to bring real change,” she said. “That is the question I have to ask myself with each request and if the answer is yes, I say, ‘OK, I will sacrifice one day of my school for the education of millions of children who are out of school’.”