You’re probably familiar with World War II icon, Rosie the Riveter, who represented the strength of the women who took up jobs at factories when men were off at war. To this day, Rosie the Riveter is still seen as an icon for feminism.
One Texas artist, Anat Ronen, wanted to blend the old with the new and create a mural showing both the strength of women in the ’40s and the strength of women today. Who could fill such big shoes as our current icon of strength? Of course, 17-year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai.
Malala was only a young girl when she became an activist for the right to education and women’s rights. At the age of 11, she began blogging about her life under Taliban rule. This was so powerful that in 2009, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life. Her actions were seen as unacceptable by the Taliban and in 2012, Malala was shot in the head and neck by a gunman in an assassination attempt. The strong, young lady survived and continues to fight for what she believes in.
“I felt I wanted to combine a symbol of Western ‘warrior’ with her image, to maximize the symbolism and through somewhat controversy [sic], promote her agenda,” Ronen told BuzzFeed.
Next to the mural, Ronen added one of Malala’s most famous quotes: “All I want is education. And I’m afraid of no one.”
“I sensed they felt uneasy with the fact that I am distorting one of America’s greatest symbols,” Ronen added. “After the text was added, everything fell in place and people are able to make the connection and even if they never heard of Malala before, they now do.”