Are you even a brown girl with glasses if you haven’t been called Mia Khalifa? asks the Instagram bio of Mia Khalifa with 21.6 M followers. Whenever I bring up Mia Khalifa in India, I see eyes rolled at me for taking a name which is associated with obscenity. No one cares about the intention behind taking her name and I find myself silenced because people assume that Mia Khalifa only means porn. Mia is the woman who people watch from their private bedrooms and bathrooms but act like they don’t know her when someone else brings her up. Most people are unaware that Mia Khalifa launched a petition against BangBros, the producer of her porn films, to take off all her porn videos from their websites. Everyone continue watching Mia’s videos on porn sites without being aware that she is putting up a fight to get her videos removed from the internet. She has spoken against abuse and slut-shaming in the porn industry and has recently turned into an icon for women’s rights among people who follow her for nothing but her nudity. The 27-year-old spent only three months as a porn star in 2015, but became one of the most well-known adult actors, credit also goes to wearing a hijab in one of her videos. She now works as a sports commentator and activist against exploitation in the porn industry.
Mia’s association with porn is natural for Indians. She was the topmost searched pornstar in 2016 and the second most searched pornstar in 2017. However, it is saddening to see that most of the mainstream masses don’t know much about her other work and activism. Most men in India sleep with a woman out of the wedlock and slut-shame her the very next day because they think the character of the women lies in her sex life. This mentality has resulted in “rolled eyes” and “sush sush” whispers whenever Mia’s name comes up in a conversation. Women are no different than men in this stance. They are not willing to look at her more than her porn career. The work she is doing for Lebanon deserves more attention, from everyone across the world. Especially from the fanbase she has built because of her work in the porn industry.
Recently after the Beirut blasts, Mia posted about the situation in Lebanon, her home country and has even raised funds to support the victims. Mia previously had a tattoo on her wrist, the Lebanese Forces cross tattoo which she called “misplaced patriotism” in her recent Instagram posts after the Beirut blasts. She got the tattoo covered up with the geographic outline of Lebanon in red which portrayed that the country was bleeding. Khalifa has been outspoken about the Lebanon explosion on her various social media accounts. She’s posted several videos about the explosion on TikTok, where she’s tried to highlight Lebanon’s humanitarian needs while also pointing out corruption in its government.
In recent news, Sonu Sood’s tweet where he promised to help a flood-hit girl in tribal Bastar region went viral. The media focused less on the actions and the help the girl got than the tweet by Sonu Sood. I have nothing against Sonu Sood’s initiatives and efforts getting coverage where due, however, I would feel more encouraged if I woke up to see similar media attention given to other relevant issues and donation campaigns.
Mia has been working with the Lebanese Red Cross to raise funds for the victims of the recent Beirut blasts. She recently auctioned her infamous glasses which she wore in most of her porn videos for $ 1,00,000. The winner of the auction would also get a signed polaroid of her, a used loofah and a used sideburn razor. The glasses were a symbolic part of Mia’s porn career which she is now trying to get over. This news ideally should have made it to the headlines but are Indians really interested in knowing more about her activism? Are we willing to see her for more than her nudity?
Mia has been trying to get rid of the history of her porn career which she entered at the young age of 21. Little did she know about the abusive contracts in the porn industry. She did not expect to have a bounty placed on her head by a terrorist organisation when she got into porn. Despite her attempts to dissociate with her porn career, it is what people remember her most for. Her videos have been watched 949 million times and she was still the second most-searched porn actor in the world last year, according to Pornhub. Former adult star Mia Khalifa, in a new interview to BBC, has spoken about her experience of working in the porn industry and how it damaged her. More than 1.8 million people have signed a petition to give her control of her domain names and to remove videos of her from the internet. The petition says Khalifa has suffered ongoing trauma and emotional distress because of those videos. “It feels like being stuck in quicksand,” she told the Washington Post last year. “There are still millions of people who think I’ve done nothing but porn for the past five years.”
People think I’m racking in millions from porn. Completely untrue. I made a TOTAL of around $12,000 in the industry and never saw a penny again after that. Difficulty finding a normal job after quitting porn was… scary. Full interview here: https://t.co/xHK7SmhfrY pic.twitter.com/fwJlyzHznq
— Mia K. (@miakhalifa) August 12, 2019
I hold nothing against porn stars. They too are “stars” in their own might, if they wish to be. I hold something against the people who refuse to see porn stars as anything more – as real human beings. As an Indian youth who keeps up with trends worldwide and reads the newspaper, I’m disappointed to see Mia’s activism not getting the same enthusiasm from India as her porn videos. I’m even more unhappy to see that Indian media has not covered her story about petitioning against BangBros.