Christina Aguilera is a fighter. But, you probably knew that already if you listened to her 2002 album, Stripped, in which she sang that her painful experiences had made her "that much stronger...a little bit harder...that much wiser."
The track, as well as the entire album, shocked many fans who once saw Aguilera as the happy-go-lucky former Mouseketeer with ample sex appeal. No longer was she just a hot, innocent-seeming blonde who crooned innuendos in "Genie In A Bottle." She was a grown woman who was starting to explore her most vulnerable spaces; and she couldn't have made the transition without her mum's influence.
"I watched my mom have to be submissive, watch her Ps and Qs or she's gonna get beat up... You can either be, unfortunately, so damaged by it that you take a turn for the worse, or you can feel empowered by it and make choices to never go down that route," she explained.
Watching her mum struggle made Aguilera realise that she didn't have to let others dictate how she lived her life. This lesson soon became critical for her as she experienced what she described as a lot of "backlash" for being in tune with her sexuality.
"It was a very interesting and controversial time for me," she said, referencing how others treated her following the release of "Dirrty."
"Either women are not sexual enough or we're not fulfilling enough of a fantasy for you, but then if we're overtly sexual or feeling empowered in a certain kind of way, then we're shamed for it," she continued.
But, Aguilera isn't holding any grudges. Instead, she told Paper that she's happy that she helped break down some of the toxic and dated outlooks of how women were supposed to behave both in and out of the bedroom.
"Madonna had to go through it in her day, and she paved the way for my generation to come up," she explained. "And paying it forward, now a younger generation is coming up and I'm loving what I'm seeing. It's so incredible."
She's still got that fight, and the music industry is better for it.