A Tasteless Cartoon Of Malala’s Shooting Is Being Used To Flog Mattresses

Yes, this has really happened


by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

Malala Yousafzai has overcome violence at the hands (and guns) of the Taliban to become the world’s best-known advocate of girls rights and education rights. She was shot in the head in October 2012 on a school bus in Swat, Pakistan. After being operated on by surgeons in a British hospital, she relocated with her family to Birmingham where they can live without recrimination for speaking out about what happened.

Malala, now doing her GCSE’s, has up until very recently been spending a lot of time going around the world to do talks about the importance of universal education for girls - most recently getting heavily involved in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign focusing on the missing Nigerian school kids. Though it seems that it was bravery, conviction and the work of some incredible surgeons which helped Malala bounce back from her brutal ordeal, one mattress company in India has put an advert out suggesting that it is their products which helped her get back to normal following the shooting.

The Kurl-On mattresses Bounce Back campaign sees a cartoon of Malala in several states. On the way down to the mattress, she faces a gun, is shot, has blood pack connected to her arm and touches her head where she was shot. At the very bottom, she’s lying on a mattress. As she ‘bounces back’, she spins around in a colourful hijab to accept some sort of prize. Two other adverts featured include Mahatma Gandhi ‘bouncing back’ from being pushed off of a train in South Africa for refusing to move from a carriage designated for white people and Steve Jobs ‘bouncing back’ from being shown the door at Apple to become its CEO.


First off, aside from Steve Jobs being up there with Malala Yousafzai and Mahatma Gandhi when it comes to peaceful struggles, it’s a pretty offensive advert. Whatever Malala had to help her through the harder times, it’s pretty much nothing to do with a mattress. And what she’s come to symbolise extends way past products and things that can be bought and sold. So using her imagery to sell stuff is more than a bit insensitive.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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