Any social media website or celebrity news site is constantly buzzing about celebrities like Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and Taylor Swift. Many headlining stories talk about what Kendall Jenner wore as she walked down the runway, the mystery guy on Kylie’s Snapchat story, or how Taylor Swift dominated the celebrity scene with her powerful girl squad. This year alone, Taylor Swift managed to singlehandedly remove her music from both Spotify and Apple’s iTunes to make changes in the way artists are paid. Kendall Jenner took the supermodel world by storm, and Kylie Jenner continued to design clothing at PacSun. While these young ladies have made outstanding accomplishments in their careers, and have striven to promote confidence in their fans, they aren't necessarily the only girls who should be considered role models. Other young teenagers have been making even more influential progress towards other goals without the same headlining recognition.
This year Malala Yousafzai turned 18 years old, and there were no news stories or Internet headlines about the wild birthday bash she threw or what new car she was surprised with. Instead of having a giant party like Kylie Jenner and covering the Internet with pictures of a brand new car, Yousafzai celebrated her birthday by opening a school for refugee girls in Syria. This is one of the many strides that Yousafzai has taken towards helping to achieve better education for girls in the Middle East and beyond.
Three years ago, Yousafzai was targeted and shot down by the Taliban for online blogging about her fight for education. She survived the attack and went on to give a speech at the United Nations, stating she would not back down from her fight. She was even nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 2014. Yet not as many people know Yousafzai's amazing story compared to the countless amount of people who know what cute picture Taylor Swift posted of her cat last night. Of course Swift should be praised for making Apple’s iTunes change their payment policy for artists so that artists of lesser recognition would get equal treatment as the big name singers. However, where was the praise and Internet headlines when Yousafzai opened a school for girls in order to better their education?
Many other celebrities are campaigning on different social platforms: Emma Watson for gender equality and Zendaya for fighting to end racism. If we begin to add the currently unknown activists to this list by giving them more publicity, the list of people that society regards as role models will expand, allowing more room for people to be inspired. Our society needs to not only praise the great accomplishments of celebrities, but also praise the advances that other activists make. By giving credit to a wider variety of people, our younger generations will begin to have more role models who are making a difference in the world, and this will inspire them to act upon making a change that they believe in.