Trying to Explain to the 14-Year-Old Abortion Protester Why Commenters Online Called Her a Whore
Tuesday Cain, a 14-year-old Austinite, her father and a friend, also 14, attended the protest rallies in Austin during the contentious debate over a now-signed-into-law house bill banning abortion after 20 weeks. Cain and her friend took turns holding a sign that read, "JESUS ISN'T A DICK SO KEEP HIM OUT OF MY VAGINA." Not surprisingly, she took a lot of shit for that sign, both from protesters and from Internet idiots after the photo went viral.
Cain decided to respond with an essay on XOJane.com.
When my friend and I took turns holding the sign, one of the pictures of her went viral.
Then my dad went online to defend the sign on Twitter and other online forums.
That's when people started calling me a "whore."
I'm going to be honest about what it feels like to be called that as a 14-year-old girl who has never had sex and who doesn't plan to have sex anytime soon.
I feel disappointed.
It's hard for me to understand why adults would be calling me this. It's hard for me to understand why anyone would use this term for a 14-year-old girl.
Ok, my turn.
Unfortunately, Tuesday, it's not hard for me to understand. You see, people are idiots, especially on the Internet. Sure, that doesn't explain or excuse the grown man who approached you at the protest and told you and your friend, "You two should shave your heads! You should become lesbians! No man will ever want you! You're ugly!" That guy is a garden variety lunatic. He's the equivalent of the morons from Westboro Baptist Church. You can ignore him entirely.
The folks on the web are a different story.
Look, I'm not sure I entirely approve of you holding up a sign talking about your vagina or comparing Jesus to a penis, but I get the irony...and it's clever, I'll give you that. But, most people these days boil their thoughts on others down to ridiculous stereotypes, making the average human slightly more than a caricature: women are big-breasted bimbos or shave-headed lesbos, for example.
This kind of response is nothing more than a simple-minded way to grasp a world that is moving too fast for them. That absolutely does not excuse their behavior. In a way, it's worse because the same world that provides them the sound bites for their wrong-headed assumptions gives them practically free access to the collective knowledge of every civilization before them.
But, without defending them, it does underscore at least the why part of your question. Too many people are narrow-minded idiots. Don't let it get you down. There are also some amazing, wonderful folks with a deep capacity for love and compassion that goes beyond the limitations of their own worldview. Align yourself with them. Forget the assholes.
And, as clever as that sign may be, try to realize that it will open you up to some ridicule in this world. Hell, it takes very little to open you up to people's petty criticisms. Just read the comment section of any newspaper to see what I mean.
You're a smart girl. You're a tough kid. Don't let the jackasses get you down. It may feel at times like they outnumber the good ones by a wide margin, but I don't believe it. It's simply a product of the world we live in where anyone with an Internet connection and the ability to type can call you a whore and get away with it. Don't worry, to modify slightly a common breakup quote, it's not you, it's them.