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Chloe Gentry

Madison Dobrzenski
Due: September 19, 2017
Feminist in History Journal
Third wave feminism is the contemporary feminist movement of todays society. Teen
girls have been flocking to the feminist movement in recent years, and that is due to the rise of
young feminist mentors, such as Malala Yousafzai and Tavi Gevinson. These icons make
feminism and feminist issues relevant to young women, no matter their socioeconomic status,
religion, race, or any other category they may be boxed into.

Tavi Gevinson came into the public eye at the young age of eleven, as a fashion blogger.
She entered into the conversation of feminism by blogging about the lack of strong female
characters in popular culture (Gevinson). Her blog began to gain popularity, and at the age of
fifteen, she published an online magazine, Rookie (Gevinson). Rookie Magazine is a girls
lifestyle magazine that promotes feminism through a variety of progressive articles (Keller,
274). The magazine focuses on feminist issues relating to teenage girls, such as sexist dress
codes and rape culture (Gevinson). Gevinson publicly identifies as a feminist, and feminism and
girl power are a huge part of her brand (Keller, 274). Gevinsons public declaration of feminism
is hugely important in this culture, where many women shy away from the label due to its
negative connotations. Gevinsons brand of female empowerment and gender activism mirrors
the Riot Grrrl movement, and she is part of efforts to revive the feminist girl culture originally
cultivated in the 1990s (Keller, 274). She contradicts with the Riot Grrrl movement, though,
because she is active in business and media, whereas Riot Grrls shunned capitalism and media
attention (Keller, 274). A complaint by many feminist activists is that Gevinsons brand of
feminism is not intersectional, and the use of girl power as a branding tool can be seen as
exploitative (Keller, 275). On the other hand, Gevinson is a young girl, and she is still learning
and growing as a feminist. In her Ted Talk, she speaks about this. Gevinson states that she is still
finding her way in the world, like any other teen girl, and society should not be persecuting
young women for making mistakes (Gevinson). Overall, Tavi Gevinson is a powerhouse in the
conversation about feminism, especially for teenagers. As a young, outspoken feminist, she is
highly influential in bringing feminism into the teen girl world, and she has made the movement
more accessible and relatable to young women.

Malala Yousafzai is a young activist that represents education, peace, and courage.
Malala is an activist for the right of education for young girls. She gained fame by surviving an
assassination attempt at the age of 15(Yousafzai). Her father was a founder and administrator at
the Khushal Girls High School, where Malala attended, and also an education activist. Her father
raised her to know that the education she was receiving was her right. This school was opposed
even before the Talibans prohibition on the education of girls. One day, one of Malalas
neighbors that scowled at her each day when she went to school, came to her home and told her
father what they thought of their schooling. I am representing the good Muslims, he said. And
we all think your girls high school is a blasphemy,(Yousafzai, 47). Malala considered that the
first direct threat on her education. Malala had a long road, with her father, of advocating for
girls right to education. Her father took her to a local press club in Preshawar to protest school
closings, and there, she found her voice. She gave her first speech there, and shortly after, the
BBC approached Malalas father asking if anyone could write a blog about living under Taliban
rule. Malala took this task, and wrote 35 entries under the name Gul Makai(Blumberg). In
February of 2009, Malala was interviewed for the first time on television. She also proceeded to
make 2 documentaries about the school shut down in Swat, Pakistan, and while making
television appearances, continued to write for BBC. In October 2011, she was nominated for an
International Childrens Peace Prize, and in December of that same year she was awarded
Pakistans first National Youth Peace Prize, which was later renamed to the National Malala
Peace Prize,(Blumberg). On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot by a gunman on her way home
from school(Blumberg)(Yousafzai). Fazlullah and the Taliban took responsibility for this attack
on her life, and she was flown from Peshawar to Birmingham, England, for surgery. She
survived this assassination attempt, and has now written a book discussing her courageous story,
and she continues to be a sign of peace and the right of education for young girls everywhere.
Tavi Gevinson and Malala Yousafzai are both girls who began their journey into
feminism at a very young age, and used writing to spread their message. Members of the third
wave feminist movement, they are modern examples of feminist icons. Their stories are
different, and they tackle different issues, but they are equally important to this current
generation of teenage girls who are looking for strong female role models. Feminism is
becoming increasingly popular within this generation, and that is partly due to the influence of
these young ladies.
Malala Yousafzai and Tavi Gevinson both contribute to the modern feminist movement
by being role models to young women wondering what they are able to do to support the
feminist movement. Malala used her voice to spread the message of education, and Tavi used her
platform to bring about feminist discussions; both of these women did this at a tremendously
young age, and display to us that age means nothing when it comes to activism.

Works Cited
Keller, Jessalyn. Girl Power's Last Chance: Tavi Gevinson, Feminism, and Popular Media
Culture. Continuum, vol. 29, no. 2.

Tavi Gevinson: A Teen Just Trying To Figure It Out. Performance by Tavi Gevinson, TED,
TEDxTeen, Mar. 2012.

Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala. Performance by Ziauddin Yousafzai, TED, Mar.


Yousafzai, Malala, and Patricia McCormick. I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood up for
Education and Changed the World. N.p.: Thorndike, 2017. Print.

Blumberg, Naomi. "Malala Yousafzai." Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica,

Inc., 11 Apr. 2017. Web