This isn’t to trivialize Malala’s incident. Let’s assume these oh-so-worried, empathetic people in the “first, developed” world are sincere about “third world women” and their legitimate pains and troubles.
The question is: Where were you folks when American soldiers sexually assaulted and killed Afghan and Iraqi women? Because oppression, whoever causes it, is after all oppression. Correct? Or do you get to define who’s brutal and who isn’t? Because, as the history of anthropology and academe shows, it is extremely easy and even convenient to vilify brown men especially in a post-9/11 era where white Western powers are seen as “forces of good” while brown men in the Middle East and Central plus South Asia are shown as barbaric savages only. I’m not downplaying the pain of any woman in these countries who has suffered at the hands of patriarchy and other forms of dominant hegemony; I’m simply asking you to see the constant work of contradictions and occlusions of reality in these narratives. Recent military invasions prove that casting brown men as monsters and white men as saviors is a notion that is easily accepted and encouraged in this violent world. Brown women are only seen as voiceless images of despair.
This is one of the reasons why I never take rhetoric about “saving third world women” seriously. The hypocrisy is evident.