It is fascinating yet quite transparent that the loudest critics of Amber Rose and her upcoming SlutWalk, which will be held tomorrow (October 3) in Los Angeles, only reaffirm her mission with their language.
Last month, Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning aired a segment dissecting the event, and one man commented, “I mean, I feel like she’s trying to glorify sluts in general and she feels like she’s trying to put up girl power behind it to make women feel like it’s okay to be this way. And I understand—be all you wanna be—but be it in private.”
After that, he quite predictably proceeded to say that he did not want his daughter to be receptive of such a sentiment. Then came a disingenuous statement from the show’s host, Ebro Darden: men are called sluts and hoes, too, and it is just as bad. Sure, but the idea that it carries the same sting and subtext is a falsehood. That is, unless I missed a separate announcement from NASA that not only does Mars have liquid water, but a community in which slut shaming is a gender-neutral sport.
Meanwhile, the argument that it’s okay to “be all you wanna be” but in “private” is its own comically reductive notion. Why does one’s sexuality have to be private? We do not live in some puritanical society. If we did, a radio station like Hot 97—which plays a whole lot of sexually charged hip-hop and R&B tunes—would not exist.
Moreover, there are plenty of women who do not broadcast the sordid details of their sexual experiences; they are often vilified for having the same sexual desires and urges as men anyway. Women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t in that way. Can we not be children and pretend the “silence is golden” rule would cancel out misogyny and patriarchy? The sooner we do, the faster we can have adult conversations about the way women and men are judged differently on their sex lives.
Since then, I have seen these same talking points posted across social media—majorly from men, but there have been some women echoing this, too. Remember kids: women can be victims of patriarchy, too. They are just as wrong.
To her credit, Amber Rose has done a very good job of explaining her intentions with SlutWalk. On the site, the event is listed as the promotion of “a zero tolerance policy on all hateful language, racism, sexism, ableism, fat-shaming, transphobia, or any other kind of bigotry.”
The site goes on to note: “Further, we recognize that shaming, oppression, assault and violence have disproportionately impacted marginalized groups including women of color, transgender people and sex workers, and thus we are actively working to center these groups in this event.
If there’s any figure in pop culture that understands these points, it is Amber Rose.
When Amber Rose spoke out on Tyga dating the then underage Kylie Jenner earlier this year, her sister, Khloé Kardashian, invoked Rose’s past life as a teenage stripper. For one, a person whose fame is largely due to the notoriety her sister gained from laying on her back in a sex tape with a reality star and occasional singer-actor to attack a stripper is a curious choice. Then there’s the other bit of irony: Rose was marginalized by her poverty, which led to her being exploited by her burgeoning sexuality by adult men. Of course she understands the problem with a grown man engaging with a teenage girl in that way.
Around this same time, Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Kanye West, defended Tyga, even quipping that it was smart of him to “get in early,” while insinuating that Rose was unclean, claiming, “I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim.” What does the star of homemade porn have over a teenage stripper? The benefits of growing up in a higher tax bracket and the sexism of a famous man.
Even Rose’s ex-husband Wiz Khalifa at one point attacked Rose’s past life as a stripper and called her a “ho.” Never mind reports that he is the one who’s said to have cheated on her in their marriage. Or that he’s helped create music specifically designed for strip clubs.
To that end, how can anyone paying attention not understand why Amber Rose is doing this? People can debate Rose’s tactics all they want, but to argue against her purpose is a waste of time. I don’t believe in there being a right way or wrong way to attack this sort of sexism. Likewise, there is no perfect person to lead the charge.
Like many women, Amber Rose has been wronged by awful men and their hypocrisy. For those joining her this weekend to take a stand against that, walk proud. Twerk after you finish. Hell, go have sex. Do whatever the hell you want to do without shame or guilt or fear. Because that’s exactly how it ought to be.