“You better redneck-ognize.” Said with such sass and fervor, the now ubiquitous Honey Boo Boo is everywhere I turn around. Access Hollywood. Jimmy Kimmell. Red carpets. The White House. Well, not just yet, but she might as well be. In any case, you cannot be mad at the little girl because she is just being herself and enjoying the ride — all the way to Toys R Us. And though, I admit that I have watched Sugar Bear and Momma Boo Boo on and episode or two, I want to put the spotlight on a young girl not much older than HBB. Malala Yousafzai is a leader on the rise and a role model to the world.
Malala is not even 16 years old yet and has been an outspoken activist for change in her native Pakistan since she was 11. She has been so courageous and vocal about her beliefs, values, and political stances that she almost became a martyr this month for her causes — chief among them being a woman’s right to an education. Though I am not as politically well-read as I used to be during my CIA days, I keep up with global issues just to have a general sense of what is happening in the world. To know that some women are denied or being intimidated aggressively when it comes to pursuing an education pains me. However, to know that it took a little girl under 16 years old to truly champion the causes emphatically enough to garner a sufficient level of international attention hurts deeper.
It hurts deeper because it signals a dearth of leadership in her community. Yes, there are many oppressive strongholds and entities that seek to keep people from rising up against Taliban forces in Pakistan but how is it that a 16 year old girl has more courage and force of life than anyone in her immediate environs. Even still, Honey Boo Boo needs to take a few hints from Malala. We all do. Malala shows us that courage, vision, a hope for the future, and a fire in your soul can mobilize a team, a community, a nation, a continent, and even a world. That is what leadership is all about. But don’t get me wrong, I do not want to take the fun out of everything and tell HBB to get off the air. No, No, No. Why I’d never. However, I would like TLC’s next reality tv show to be “Malala: A Leader on the Rise.” Wait, who am I foolin; HBB is on Leno right now. Gotta go.