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Why have some received Greta Thunberg so badly?

Written by Comment

If you have no idea who Greta Thunberg is, she is a sixteen-year-old climate change activist who started to strike, on and off, over a year ago, but who has only recently received a substantial media presence and following. She gave a very powerful speech at the UN at the end of September, and I advise you watch it critically. She also recently published a book titled “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference”.

Despite the continued efforts of Greta to bring awareness to issues as pressing as global warming and climate change, and despite the overwhelming support she has received, she has also received a great deal of backlash, and has been badly received by a sizeable portion of the public. Some people might see this as a great enigma: I mean, she is a young girl brave enough to speak in front of politicians who do nothing about this global crisis, and she is very relatable. However, I am unsurprised by the terrible reception she has gotten from a large amount of people, and it reflects on our society that not much has changed in the way certain people from certain groups are viewed. Greta Thunberg, despite her relatability and the way in which she succeeds in conveying her message in the most powerful way possible, unfortunately represents all the people in society that are shunned and not given a second thought: women, children, and people with disabilities.

“The courage of a girl such as Greta rattles the public and the politicians, and not in a good way.”

Greta Thunberg outside the Swedish Parliament in 2018, where she used to strike every Friday. The sign reads “school strike for climate” in English.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Since time began, women have not been listened to in any part of society unless they have a man beside them  backing them up. The courage of a girl such as Greta rattles the public and the politicians, and not in a good way. It is already widely believed that women should remain meek, soft, and quiet, and suddenly there is this young girl at the UN, not feigning meekness, but telling the story completely as it is. While this is certainly inspiring to young girls, this annoys men and women who wish they could do the same.

Secondly, it has always been engraved in our heads that children are little vessels who continuously need guidance, and are too young to know the difference between left and right. This is a great tool that the people in power use to belittle her voice. She is a child, so how could she know how climate change works, and how hard it is to attempt curbing it? While children must be protected, it is damaging to society to brainwash them into believing they are too insignificant to make a change, and too young to know what they want.

Greta having Asperger’s is a way for society to dismiss her even further, mocking her speech because of her learning disability. It is a sad world we live in where we must fit into a certain demography in order to be heard. Greta is relevant, regardless of all this.

 

 

Last modified: 10th October 2019

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