Blac Chyna is collectively referred to as an ex-stripper, gold-digger, Tyga's baby-mama, Rob's ex-fiancé, video girl, entrepreneur and much, much more. She is no stranger to drama nor controversy, just like anyone else, she is a human being capable of making mistakes. It just so happens that her fame has allowed her mistakes to be scrutinized on a much deeper scope than those of an "average" person. Before I go off on this rant though, I think we should cover a few basics and come back to her story a little bit later.
Today, I want to talk about judgment and the stereotypes of our confused society. Particularly, I want to talk about sex-workers (past, present and future) and how we can do better in the ways that we view them.
My respect and compassion for sex-workers started long ago when I realized that some of my close friends and coworkers had earned some much needed cash in the sex industry in some of their most trying or difficult times; but that respect and compassion was heightened when I began my work with an outreach ministry that was founded on hope, love, empathy and building a positive future for women who have ended up in less than desirable situations.
After working so closely with abused, neglected, shamed and disrespected women, I realized that the high horse I had lived on for so long was an invisible one that I had created in my own head. There is no verse in the Bible implying that we should love strippers or prostitutes (or sexualized women in general) any less than we do the nuns or the "good girls" of this world. Nowhere in God's Word does it say that we should shame them or make them feel unlovable or unworthy. And for the record, posting a cute bikini picture online in no way determines a woman's self-respect or self-love, modest is cool, but so is embracing your sexuality. Different strokes for different folks, yall.
We have developed this inaccurate idea of sexuality and how women should feel ashamed of it, and I am so sick of the crazy double standard. It seems like the general idea in society (and sometimes even in the church) is that these ladies are reprehensible beyond repair and that they don't deserve our love at all, and (as a Christian) that is sodisturbing to me.
My point is that even in such a progressive nation, we still jump at the chance to slut-shame women, particularly women in powerful or influential positions. This was most recently brought to my attention when all of the (latest) Blac Chyna controversy came to a head.
For those of you who don't watch E! News incessantly or who don't have millenials on their Facebook page, you might have missed the latest juicy gossip in the war between Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna. But worry not, I am here to fill you in on all of the key components.
Robert Kardashian Jr. (Blac Chyna's child's father and ex-fiancé) recently produced a rather large volume of revenge porn (ie. blatant abuse) on his personal instagram calling his ex-partner degrading names and accusing her of cheating, drug usage and more. And you don't have to be a women's rights activist to see the obvious issues with his actions (at least that's what I thought, anyway).
Surprisingly, it appears as though most of the general public (both male and female) have sided with Kardashian in this on-going war, calling Blac Chyna a whore, a gold-digger, a hooker and various other shame-filled titles. I found this interesting though, because while this woman has her problems, she has undoubtedly been a victim to Rob's public shaming and revenge porn. Blac Chyna will never be Mother Theresa, but does she really deserve this? Sadly, some people would say that she does, in fact, deserve the hatred and the name-calling due to her previous profession and the ways in which she climbed the "ladder of success".
I did a little bit of digging, and I eventually discovered that Blac Chyna found her fame by starting off as a stripper and transitioning into a "video girl" starring in Tyga's Rack City video and Nicki Minaj's Monster video. And after further research, I am learning that (apparently) it is perfectly acceptable to shame and humiliate former strippers (or sex workers) simply because of their pasts. I guess it's the "activist in me", but I find that completely inexcusable!
Now aside from the minimal research I have done on Blac Chyna, I do not know much about her. I do not follow Tyga or care about his personal life, and I try to steer clear of most (if not all) of the Kardashian drama. I would not call myself a Blac Chyna fan or anything of the like. I am simply a woman watching the world and noticing yet another woman on the chopping block because of the dirt thrown on her name and the opinions of irrelevent people. And call me crazy, but I identify with that. Afterall, slut-shaming and sexual harassment are not situations that only pertain to celebrities.
On the surface, Chyna is an aesthetically pleasing woman who reached her fame and notoriety in a non-traditional way. Some people have choice words and ugly names for women like that, but nonetheless, at the end of the day, she is still a human being. A human being who loves and who hurts and who bleeds the same color as the rest of us.
So she used to be a sex-worker? What is your point exactly? That because she chose a life that you deem to be unfit, she must constantly experience shame and hatred for the remainder of her existence? What kind of nonsense is that? Why does society get to determine her worth?
Now if you are not a Christian, I suppose you have the freedom to be a complete asshole if that's the life and the legacy that you want. But Christ-followers, what is your excuse? Because (unfortunately), I have seen both my "believing" and non-believing friends on Facebook talk all the crap and "spill all the tea" about Blac Chyna and women like her in general.
I get it. You live on this high horse that your family or your friends have unintentionally placed you on. You feel like because you have had "less than x amount of sexual partners" or because your nudes somehow didn't go viral, you believe that you are entitled to a certain amount of respect and/or admiration. But you're wrong. Your worth is not determined by a body count or whether you have/have not sent explicit pictures via text. A woman's worth is based on so much more than those menial and shallow things.
I am not judging you for your judgements though, that would make me a complete hypocrite, because I used to be that person. I used to believe that I was untouchable, and then I had friends (and family) turn on me and spread my darkest and dirtiest secrets like wildfire. I have made mistake after mistake, and somehow everyone in my life always found out.
Then I was raped and informed that my attacker (and former partner) had his own special file of "revenge porn" just ready to be shared with all of his closest internet friends, and that was the most brutal reality check of all. I used think that I was a "good girl", and that my secrets and my stupid choices would stay hidden, but I was so wrong. To this very day it haunts me to think about the explicit content that remains in the hands of my attacker, knowing that if/when I make one wrong move, he will surely be ready with the perfect counter-attack and the inarguable excuse to slut-shame me and discredit any accusations I might make. His "revenge porn" threats are one of the top reasons I chose to never press charges against him, but that is another story entirely.
*I still don't know exactly how many people have viewed those disturbing images and videos of me, and I probably never will.*
I have been the "good girl" and I have been the girl that society has shamed into believing that she is unworthy. I have loved myself and thought that I was above other women, and (sometimes only moments later), I have hated myself and wanted to erase my "slutty" history. So I understand what it is like when your past is thrown in your face and when your sexual history or sexual choices are made public by people that you once thought you could trust.
Even though the "good girls" reading this might feel "untouchable", I want to remind you that you are far from it. ALL women are subject to this abuse and shaming, we are ALL just one mistake away from being the next Blac Chyna or Kim Kardashian or whoever. Revenge porn, stripping, sleeping with the wrong guy or trusting the wrong person are all examples that could put you in a sticky situation and cause you to be shamed or humiliated; and no matter who you are or what you've done, nobody deserves that.
Thankfully, most of you reading this probably aren't famous though, so it is very unlikely that you will become twitter famous for your nudes or end up in a People Magazine headline for your latest mistake. And what a blessing that is! Because I know that if I were famous, I would have made MANY headlines for making MANY foolish choices in my life. I am so thankful that while my mistakes were completely catastrophic, (most of them) are unbeknownst to my current friends and family. But just because "I got away with it", does not give me clearance to shame and humiliate the women around me who weren't so lucky.
I can't help but notice the double standard here, though. Men don't get publicly shamed for their sexual decisions, so why should we? Why is sexual freedom and sexual empowerment exclusive to the men in our lives?
Call me a femi-nazi if you want, but I believe that women are entitled to live a life that they feel sexually empowered by, and they should never be treated unfairly because of that. This means that someone's sexual past should never be held against them, and explicit content of any kind should never be put on display without consent. If a woman wants to share a photo of herself in a certain light, that is a choice that only she can make, and taking that choice away from her is grounds for sexual assault. THAT is why revenge porn is such a big deal, and should be taken seriously by both men and women.
So if you are pushing shame and hatred onto celebrities, sex-workers or just the "promiscuous" women in your life, then you need to take a couple seats, because it is highly unacceptable and unreasonable no matter who you are or what you have or haven't done.
Both men and women (both Christian and non-Christian) have made abundant contributions to the overall slut-shaming culture we live in. I will be honest and say that I too have contributed and regretfully made the world a more judgmental place with both my actions and my words. Nobody is free of fault, so please do not think that I am perpetuating that. But no matter who you were yesterday or last week or even prior to reading this, you do not have to continue to be that hateful person.
Even though Blac Chyna is just one woman whose actions and "mistakes" have been made public, she is certainly not alone in her fight . Be kind, be considerate and be humble. We all have skeletons in our closets, some of us have merely been lucky enough to keep that door closed or out of the public eye.
How America views Blac Chyna is appalling and it says a lot about how we view women overall, but it does not have to dictate how we react in future situations. We as women (and men) can do better than this.
And remember that we all fall down sometimes.