Amber Rose is becoming my idol. Rose has always been cool for owning her style and befriending celebs left-and-right. She looks effortless, while showing undeniable hustle. She survived Kanye West, which deserves an award or at least a cupcake. But she has gone above and beyond in the past while, by proving she is an incredible activist against slut-shaming.
Rose has spoken and written about her experiences being slutshamed, which goes much earlier than any rude thing Kanye West has said about her. Rose said the first time she was slutshamed was at 14, when a cruel trick ruined her reputation:
“I was about 14. I was still a virgin, and me and my friends, we just started kissing boys. And I was making out with this boy I know in the closet, and he was like, ‘Get down on your knees.’ I was like, ‘Why?’ Because I just didn’t understand.”
While she got on her knees, he took out his penis and opened the closet door for all their friends to see. After that, she was slut-shamed by her friends, her classmates, and even the boy who she made-out with.
After that moment, slut-shaming became a regular occurrence. It came from high schoolers seeing the ‘new girl’ as competition, from people looking down at the fact that she worked as a stripper, and from her exes who publically dissed her after they moved on. Rose even admits to participating in shaming other women, calling them ‘sluts’ and ‘hoes’. Now it seems like her new calling is defending herself and other women from slut-shaming. She has written pieces and given interviews about her own experiences. She has tried to change perspectives, by making a video that shows a stride of pride instead of a walk-of-shame. She even started her own slut walk.
Rose isn’t doing this to just better her reputation. She understands that slut-shaming is rooted in some dangerously sexist beliefs. On a shallow level, it’s a double-standard which rewards men for casual sex but demeans women for the same thing. It reeks of ‘respectability politics’, which says you only deserve respect when you follow “rules”, which can change depending on who sees you or where you live. If you don’t follow the rules (you show too much skin, wear clothes that show off your body, have a sexual history, are attractive, etc), you deserve ‘it’. ‘It’ can vary from unwanted advances at a club, to stalking, and to rape. Just watch her shut down Tyrese and Reverend Run on the show “It’s Not You, It’s Men”:
Tyrese compares treating a woman provocatively dressed like a prostitute to treating a man in a basketball jersey as a basketball player. First, it’s still rude and illegal to grope sex workers without their permission. They’re people, not fleshlights. Second, his example doesn’t make any sense! No one assumes someone wearing a Toronto Raptors jersey is automatically on the team. And even if they were, you can’t force them to play basketball for you. I don’t care if they’re actually a professional basketball player, you don’t get to throw basketballs at Shaq’s face when he’s in line at Starbucks.
This week, Rose took it to a whole other level by defending her ex’s wife, Kim Kardashian. Kim posted a nude selfie on her social media and caught criticism from other celebs, most notably Chloe Grace Moretz and Pink making comments about how her actions weren’t role model material. Kim wrote her own defense telling people to mind their business.
Rose put in her own amazing two-cents. She called out Pink for being a hypocrite, since Pink has done many semi-nude/nude photoshoots and performs aerial silks while almost nude. Then she encouraged Kim to keep ignoring slut-shamers, and to join her walk if she really wants to promote the cause for all women. Maybe Kim will. Then we’d have two famously slut-shamed women bring attention to a really common problem. Also, it would shut Kanye West up. I think that’s a win for everybody.
On a more serious note, the other day was International Women’s Day, where we gave credit to lots of women who were pushed from history books and from public knowledge in favour of men. I saw pictures of Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, and Marilyn Monroe. The celebration of scientific/civil rights/entertainment history is great, but I think it misses a big message of the day. It’s easy to celebrate women from the past. It’s easy to respect them when they’re dead. Being an advocate for women requires present thinking. Support women who are important when they’re alive and promoting change! Even though Amber Rose may seem like an unlikely choice, she’s worth celebrating.