As a firm believer in peace and education, I was instantly captivated by Malala Yousafzai. Her clear message of peace, equality, non-violence, and education is all the more remarkable because of her young age. If you haven’t heard her speak, I highly recommend her Daily Show appearance. I think it’s clear she is deserving of the attention she has garnered.
After falling in love with what Malala has to say, I also recommend considering this article detailing the dangers of making her an “exceptional” person. Exceptionalism at first brush sounds benign. However, implicit in the word “exceptional” is the idea of being an exception or an anomaly. Malala is not an anomaly. She is not a solitary voice of reason in an otherwise violent culture. She is in fact the norm. Though more visible to the Western world, Malala is by no means the only girl, the only young person, the only Muslim, nor the only Pakastani to be speaking out against inequality and violence. This is to say that rather than being exceptional, Malala may better be seen as representative, and perhaps even moreso as what she is: a human with a beautiful message.
Malala on The Daily Show (my favorite part starts at 3:45) video
Article on Malala and appropriation: http://omidsafi.religionnews.com/2013/10/12/malala/