Amber Rose has been courting controversy (as usual), but it’s not her scantily-clad selfies that I’m talking about, but the very nasty slut-shaming that has been leveled against her by Kanye West, Khloe Kardashian and the public. In an excellent piece for The Root, Danielle C. Belton undresses the original beef and the inherent racism and classism behind the policing of the model’s sexual expression. Last week, in a response to the backlash (and, no doubt, the backlash she’s received for decades), Rose revealed on Instagram that she will be having her own SlutWalk this summer. She wrote: “My Slut Walk will be about every Woman Equality issue we deal with everyday u can walk and make signs for the issues ur passionate about. I’m in the beginning stages of putting this together but with ur help this could be an amazing liberating experience for us women. Stay tuned for more info in weeks to come. #AmberRosesSlutWalk ❤️”
For a variety of reasons that I detailed in an op-ed for Bustle today, this is a win for sex positive feminism. As someone who created a career for herself as a stripper at the age of 15 — and who rose to international prominence as a model (and celebrity girlfriend) — Rose is an ideal candidate to spearhead a SlutWalk. Her experiences as a queer woman of color (she has been open about dating both women and men) growing up in a low-income household cannot be ignored either, as the SlutWalk movement has been criticized for erasing the experiences of women who aren’t white and middle class. Through her massive celebrity, Rose has the power to galvanize women from diverse backgrounds and unify them in a day of protest.
While we have dozens of star feminists these days, few of them are symbols for subversive expressions of female sexuality. It’s easy to cheerfully agree with Emma Watson’s welcoming statements on including men in feminist discourse or to sing along with Taylor Swift’s quirky girl power anthems, but Rose is a far more radical and “problematic” feminist, who openly discusses drugs, stripping, queer sexuality, money and motherhood in ways that make many uncomfortable. She also challenges aesthetic convention with her shaved head and sleeves of tattoos while profiting off her body and self-objectifying in an aware and empowered way. Our prudish culture that bans images of breasts but promotes misogynistic violence at every turn needs a crusader who is willing to get dirty. Forget being respectable, sex positive feminism needs a “freak” to fly the flag of non-conforming sexual freedom, and it seems like Amber Rose is just the woman for the job.
Slutist will definitely be following the #AmberRoseSlutWalk as it develops…