Feminism has existed within the framework of America for decades, sparking various forms of activism to raise awareness about gender equality. But it seems that the movement has received a major cosign within the last three years thanks to the involvement of pop culture icons who have made it their personal responsibility to use their influence to propel feminism forward. Ironically enough, Instagram queen Amber Rose is one of the latest pop culture influencers to throw her hat into the ring of activism in an attempt to demolish the injustices of inequality between the sexes, but not without much skepticism and criticism.
Moved to action based on a tortured past and the incessant bullying she faces on a daily basis from slut-shaming onlookers via social media, the mother of one has taken it upon herself to use her influence in put feet to the pavement in protest. Several weeks ago, Rose announced to the world on Entertainment Tonight that she’d be organizing her first ever SlutWalk in the streets of L.A. later this year. This week, as images of the donations began pouring in from supporters through the cause’s GoFundMe account, social media began talking.
What exactly is a slut walk?
For the average onlooker engaged in Amber’s media campaign to spread the word about the pending protest, the idea of a slut walk is incomprehensible. What exactly is a slut walk? What does this type of protesting look like? What is its purpose?
The history of the slut walk began in Toronto, Ontario on April 3, 2011 in response to the rape shaming comments presented by Toronto police officer Michael Senguinetti stating that women should “avoid dressing like sluts as a precaution against sexual assault.” The slut walk’s sole purpose is to “protest against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman’s appearance and call for an end to rape culture.”
Young women who march for the cause dress in provocative clothing or as “sluts” while participating in speaker meetings and workshops, chanting, dancing and sign making. The first slut walk attracted over 3,000 women, many of whom spoke out publicly for the first time identifying themselves as rape survivors. Since its inception, support groups and survivors have adopted the slut walk across the globe, spreading into various cities throughout the United States. For Amber Rose, October 3 will mark the first of what may become many slut walk protests across the nation.
Shade from skeptics
While the intentions behind her efforts to organize this march for equality appear to be sincerely rooted in empowering other women to take claim of their sexuality, there are critics that have posed a side eye at Rose’s efforts. In light of the protest, the entrepreneur is slated to jump into the ring of publishing with the release of her first self-help manual, How to Be a Bad Bitch, this October, leading many to believe this slut walk to be nothing more than a means to push book sales.
Where some have an issue with cross promotions, others have an issue with her style of dress, commenting that her overt display of sexuality via Instagram skirts the line of decency in the midst of raising awareness against sexual injustice, derogatory labeling and gender inequality.
As negative comments have poured in, Amber has responded in defense of her cause by educating the misinformed about the origin of the slut walk and the definition of slut shaming. Despite the lack of support from critics, Amber’s first tango in the arena of activism is shaping up to become an event that the world will be watching every step of the way.
Whether Amber is using SlutWalk as a means to further her career or as a genuine attempt to put a stop to victim blaming and slut shaming, the fact that she feels a moral obligation to use her celebrity as a means to make a difference is noble. In an interview with broadcasting heavyweight Larry King, Rose opened up about her feelings towards feminist activism when he asked if feminism is something that needs to be reinforced during a time when it seems to be a staple of American culture.
“Absolutely,” Rose responded. “I feel like it’s mostly women that give other women a hard time, so it’s important for women like myself to let other women know that it’s okay to embrace other women’s beauty and sexuality. These feelings [to do something] arose a long time ago. But now I feel like I have a voice to make a difference. And that’s why it’s important, because I know have a platform to do so.”
Several celebrities have joined in the movement to shift the paradigm of gender equality by donating to the cause, including Ne-Yo, funny man Damien Wayans and gossip king Perez Hilton, and with each day the donations keep rolling in. Personally, I am here for this movement, and will be putting my two feet to the pavement October 3 and joining Amber Rose and thousands of supporters in a march towards gender equality.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.