You know the name ‘Mia Khalifa’, don’t you? We all do. Most of us associate this name with the porn industry, and more specifically, with a particular video featuring a hijab and not much else. Here’s what’s wrong with this association though. Mia Khalifa doesn’t want it. At the age of 21, Khalifa worked in the porn industry for three months. Six years later, this short stint and 11 videos still define her public image. And now, Khalifa, who is a sports commentator, a social media phenomenon, and has developed two apps among other achievements, is fighting to reclaim her past. But, the hate she’s getting for this is emblematic of a larger problem that society has with women who want to take control of their own lives.
Through an online petition, Mia Khalifa is asking popular porn websites to delete her videos. According to the petition, Khalifa was paid only $12,000 by Pornhub and BangBros for videos which garner revenue in the millions. The petition further states:
“The infamous hijab video has collected ISIS death threats that have targeted Mia from the video’s release in 2014 to today. Mia attends therapy on a consistent basis for trauma, emotional distress, and consequences of bullying.
Mia and her team have provided countless financial offers to the current owners of her domain name and pornographic videos to no avail. Big corporations are not giving Mia Khalifa a fair chance to demand her content in court due to financial advantage.
We are demanding her domain names be returned, her videos be removed and fairly discussed in court without putting Mia Khalifa into deep financial ruin. Mia has stated her regret for her decisions in the porn industry multiple times.”
Not only was Khalifa financially exploited, she also went through sexual exploitation which she recently spoke about on Twitter.
I’ve never spoken about this because I was made to feel as though I couldn’t tell my story without being derided by the general public.
I feel safe now, and I also feel the need to unload some things that have haunted me during my brief stint in the industry.
— Mia K. (@miakhalifa) June 24, 2020
Careful, world. Your misogyny is showing
Even though Khalifa has a phenomenal following on several social media platforms, she wasn’t always keen on an online presence.
“I’ve never really enjoyed social media,” she told Mashable in an interview. Talking about how the hate comments affected her and her husband, she said, “It was awful…It really affected me, even if I put a brave face forward to the public.”
How many times have we heard a man say this about social media? How many times have we witnessed a man receiving death threats because he chose to do porn six years ago? I’ve never seen it, and I don’t think I ever will. As a woman, I can’t even imagine it. But what Mia Khalifa has been going through, and fighting every single day, since 2014 feels far too real.
And it’s not just one side that is spewing this hate-filled vomit on her timeline. Pornography actors say she’s trying to stigmatise the industry by talking about her own exploitation, and others claim she can never escape her past because of what she did at the age of 21.
How many of us are proud of what we did at 21? I’m not. I made some seriously stupid decisions, but my life isn’t defined by them anymore. This would be the case for most of us, right? Then why is Mia Khalifa not being given that chance? Why can’t she reclaim her past and build her public image the way she wants? Why can’t she be allowed to move on from her past, like the rest of us? Because she’s a woman who is trying to control the narrative around her. And a patriarchal, misogynist society can’t stomach that.
Mia Khalifa did porn for 3 months when she was 21 and still has it held over her head everyday as if it were a crime. While half of Hollywood can be rapists/abusers/child-traffickers but forgiven after half assed apologies. I wish y’all hated injustice as much as you hate women
— freebobbyshmurda (@arianna__may) June 24, 2020
So, the next time you’re giggling at the name, or searching for Mia Khalifa’s videos which she doesn’t want you to see, think about consent. Think about how you would feel if your mistake from when you were 21 was only one Google search away for the world to see.