Malala responds to people questioning her marriage after ‘partnership’ comments

Nobel laureate thinks she could redefine the concept of marriage
Nov 12, 2021

Malala Yousufzai has penned down her thoughts on why she tied the knot a few months after she expressed ambivalence about “getting married.”

On November 9, Malala entered into nikah with Asser Malik in a private ceremony in Birmingham.

In a piece for Vogue magazine, the youngest Nobel laureate said that she wasn’t against marriage but was being cautious about its practice.

Malala said that she questioned the patriarchal roots of marriage and the compromises women have to make after the wedding.

“I feared losing my humanity, my independence, my womanhood – my solution was to avoid getting married at all,” she wrote in her article.

In her interview to the same publication in June Malala 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?”

She had also said that till her second year of university, she thought she was never going to get married.

Referring to her past comments about marriage, Malala wrote that she couldn’t call herself a feminist if she didn’t have those reservations.

Talking about her views, she also narrated that for many girls in her hometown of Swat “marriage is not a fulfilling partnership but servitude.”

“Growing up in the north of Pakistan, girls were taught that marriage was a substitute for an independent life. If you don’t study, get a job and build a place for yourself, you must get married soon. You failed your exams? You can’t find work? Get married!,” Malala wrote in her piece.

“Many girls I grew up with were married even before they had the opportunity to decide on a career for themselves.”

The other way

She wrote that knowing the dark reality many of her friends face, she found it hard to think of the concept of marriage, of one day being someone’s wife.

However, she felt that there was another way. She thought what if she could redefine the concept of marriage and the culture around it?

“Culture is made by people and people can change it too. My conversations with my friends, mentors and my now partner Asser helped me consider how I could have a relationship – a marriage – and remain true to my values of equality, fairness and integrity,” wrote Malala.

How she met Asser

In her article, Malala also writes about her first meeting with Asser Malik and how they soon became best friends.

“In the summer of 2018, Asser was visiting friends at Oxford and we crossed paths. He worked in cricket, so I immediately had a lot to discuss with him. He liked my sense of humour. We became best friends."

Malala says they enjoyed each other's company and stood by each other through ups and downs.

“In Asser, I found a best friend and companion. I still don’t have all the answers for the challenges facing women – but I believe that I can enjoy friendship, love and equality in marriage,” wrote Malala.

malala yousafzai

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