I have never written a fashion piece in my life, I always felt too inadequate. But with everyone talking about Malala Yousafzai (and debating), I am dying to point out that (a) she’s cute, and (b) she wears the most beautiful clothes in bold, sunny colours. Witness her radical neon green kurta on The Daily Show:
But that’s a humorous format, some might say. Of course she’s wearing a fun dress!
Huh. Let’s first acknowledge the fact that I’d wear all sorts of dreary colours for years if the Taliban had shot me in the head as a teenager (wait! I didn’t even need to be shot in the head as I recall), and THEN let’s look at what Malala wore to the White House when she went to meet the Obamas:
Now that’s a cheerful yellow that I’ve only just started wearing at 28. Yet the mustard, haldi tinge says she’s taking herself seriously, unlike the fluorescent green. Malala’s penchant for patches of neon-rainbow is terribly heartening when you consider a) the world of diplomatic dressing and its drab ethnicising b) authors and their generally beleaguered attempts to look the part (she is after all on a book tour).
“Wait,” you say, “her publicists are dressing her, silly!” Even if that’s true, (a) I’m sure Malala has veto power, and (b) her face matches the clothes, which I can’t do continuously on the best of days with my newly acquired yellow top.
Full disclosure: I cropped the photo to show you only Malala and Obama, because Michelle Obama is right there with Malala on the “let’s colour the world” rung of self-made cheer. I was worried she would steal Malala’s thunder, but hey, it’s not a competition, so here you are:
I will leave you with a line from this excellent piece by Pakistani diplomat and federal minister Sherry Rehman on the ‘Malala moment’. She writes,
“Yes, she is in danger of being over-packaged and objectified, but so what? At this level of global stardom, some PR-cum-development-world machinery has got to grind its mills. That’s not the point.”