Malala Yousafzai attacked on social media over ‘photo of her wearing jeans and heels’

Mike Wright
Malala Yousafzai attending her matriculation at Oxford University last week  - David Hartley

Malala Yousafzai has been attacked on social media after an unverified picture was posted supposedly of her wearing jeans and heeled boots.

The 20-year-old, who started studying at Oxford University last week, faced criticism from people in her home country of Pakistan for adopting western dress and not being accompanied by her father.

The vitriol also provoked a wave of support for the Nobel Laureate, with some saying she is the"real future of Pakistan".

 Malala came to global attention five years ago when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan for arguing publicly that girls should be allowed to attend school. 

She was flown to UK for treatment and later finished her studies in Birmingham before applying to Oxford. Since then Malala has become a leading advocate for women’s rights and addressed the UN on the issue of children’s right to education.

Her extraordinary story was recognised in 2014 when she became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Last week she started attending Oxford University to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) and tweeted a picture of her books saying: "5 years ago, I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls' education. Today, I attend my first lectures at Oxford".

However when the picture, which has not been confirmed as Malala, was shared on the Facebook page of Pakistani site Siasat.pk on Saturday it provoked a stream of critical comments from posters in her home country.

Many of the comments criticised her for what she was wearing and a number compared her to an adult star.

The comments spilled over into Twitter when user Mehr Tarar posted the picture saying “Finally, a picture of @Malala where she is just being a normal young woman. It's quite remarkable how her head is always covered…”

One user commented on the fact she appeared to be unaccompanied by her father.

Whereas another questioning how long she would continue to wear the traditional dupatta headscarf.

The abuse targeted at the university student was soon countered by a wave of support for her, with many saying people had no right to question what she wore.

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