During the weekend, I read tons of comments about the “Amber Rose Slut Walk.” Most commentary came from people who refused to educate themselves about the mission behind the slut walk. Instead, the focus centered on the term "slut" and Amber Rose. So I’m here to clear up a few misconceptions...
Let’s get this out the way, the walk is not a parade of sluts and whores. It originated from an officer in Canada “warning” rape survivors to not dress like sluts so they wouldn’t be sexually victimized. Since then, The Slut Walk has used its platform to address rape blaming and the patriarchal culture that shames women who openly express their sexuality and sensuality.
The most recent Slut Walk occurred this past Saturday, Oct. 3rd and gained a lot of attention with Amber Rose as the face of the movement. Contrary to belief, Amber Rose is not the creator of the Slut Walk. This movement has been going on for some time now but it appears that her presence brought much needed attention to the issue. Unfortunately, some people were more focused on criticizing Amber Rose than the actual message behind the Slut Walk.
Amber Rose, widely known for her relationship with Kanye West and marriage to Wiz Khalifa, drew a lot of flack for being the face of this movement. Critics added more fuel to the fire by referencing her past as a stripper. Now don’t get me wrong, I have never been enamored with Amber Rose. Truthfully, I don’t know much about her, other than what I just mentioned… primarily because I could care less about celebrity gossip.
But it appeared that every critic had a part-time career as a historian of her life. They could easily detail every life milestone, ranging from relationships, conflicts, and career choices. What left me puzzled is how the main argument centered around respectability. Due to Amber’s dating/sexual history, she was deemed as an unacceptable representative for an anti-slut shaming movement.
So let me get this right... when a woman owns her sexuality, she loses the right to be respected? When a woman chooses to accept her body, celebrate, and flaunt it, she’s deemed a whore and slut? The same critics are the ones who praise her on instagram when she flaunts her body in a string bikini. Her sexuality is labeled problematic, unless it satisfies a man's sexual appetite.
Do you not see the flaw in this logic? So help me understand, what exactly makes her a slut?
Double standards label women as prude for being virgins and sluts when we express our sexuality. Yet the sexual conquests of men are celebrated as we welcome patriarchal influence to determine what is “appropriate” for women. This concept of respectability is irrelevant when it comes to sexual violence. As a woman, I should be free to wear whatever I choose and make my decisions regarding sex without fear that a man will feel entitled to my body. There will NEVER be a time when I “deserve” to be sexually victimized. Sadly, our society burdens women with the responsibility of protecting ourselves from men who may decide to attack us when we drink alcohol or dress in a certain way…
I guess it’s easier to tell women what "not" to do… than to hold men accountable and tell them not to rape.
I find this issue particularly disturbing when it comes to advocates against “respectability” in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Too many times, we’ve seen our men and women mistreated, brutalized, and murdered because they failed to meet “certain” qualifications of respectability. Yet somehow, this train of thought gains validity when it comes to my body? Uhhh, no boo boo.
My womanhood is not an open invitation for rape, molestation, or sexual harassment.
You may not like Amber Rose or the term “slut” but you should be mindful of the underlying message and real issue at hand. Women are victimized every day and at some point, our culture has to begin to alter our views and stop blaming women.