At the age of 13, I thought I was a pretty badass feminist. I proudly listened to Bikini Kill, wore Sleater Kinney shirts to school, and spoke out about GLBTQ issues. For as insecure and nerdy as I was, I knew that I was proud to have a vagina and felt that women should be respected. I was convinced that I was destined to marry Kathleen Hannah, and prayed for the day when I would get the fuck out of Connecticut (that day still hasn't come. Seriously? Yeah, it's pretty bad). I would grow up and be tattooed, rebellious, and smart. I would be a writer, publishing brilliant works inspired by Sylvia Plath and Kate Chopin. Well, some of those things came true, but not the writer part. I ditched that whole idea and decided to get an equally useless bachelor's degree in psychology. Thankfully, I"m in a doctoral program so I MIGHT be able to get a decent job one day...but that's a big maybe. Fingers crossed!! Anyways, back to the issue at hand- feminism through the eyes of a 13 year old. I thought I knew everything, but there were fundamental flaws in my "feminist thinking." I claimed to be all about "equal rights," but I thought that pornography was disgusting. Oh, and what about strippers? Yup, assumed they were all dirty tramps and whores, a disgrace to feminism. In my little 13 year old mind, I truly believed that women in the sex industry were all ditzy, on drugs, and made of plastic. How could these women be doing this shit- don't they know that they're perpetuating violence against women!?!? They're degrading themselves!?!? Don't they know that men are using and abusing them!?!? WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING??? Oh yeah...and then I grew up.
I will admit, it took me years to become the sex-positive feminist that I am today. It didn't happen at 14, oh hell no. This is often around the age when a woman becomes interested in the opposite sex/dating (if she is heterosexual). I liked boys and I wanted boys to like me, and ONLY ME (yes I am a hot-blooded jealous woman), and therefore I saw women in the sex industry as a threat. This logic makes no fucking sense, but it did at the time. Who were these beautiful busty blonde whores on the television? Gasp! I don't want my boyfriend looking at these women...they're hotter than me! So...what do I do about it? I call them ugly whores, and act like a jealous catty bitch. Wow, real mature Christina.
So, here I was, a young feminist who claimed to love women, but only if they looked "punk rock" and didn't pose a threat to me. If a girl was pretty, blonde, wore make-up, and was on the receiving end of attention from a guy that I liked, then she was basically dead to me. Here's the thing...I grew out of that. I learned better. Now, at 26, I'm a real feminist, who respects and embraces women, whether they're doctors, porn performers, secretaries, homeless, or sex workers, etc. As young women, we are taught that we should judge other women, and that's really frightening. Of course, I'm only speaking for myself and telling my experience, but I see this happen a lot in society. I've spoken to many women who think I'm out of my mind for supporting the decriminalization of prostitution. I'm sure some of them have very legitimate arguments for their reasoning, but I can't help but wonder if some of these women just think "Oh no, but those whores will go after my husband!" No lady, sex workers aren't all running after your husband. Calm down.