In a society that uses old and tired terms like “hoe,” “whore,” “skank,” and the ever so popular “slut” to describe women that are said to be promiscuous, it is important to recognize the efforts of bold women who defend themselves and their sexualities. The fourth wave feminist movement is a growing force, with the growing number of women with power and platforms chiming in. One woman, in particular, Amber Rose, has been fiercely involved in getting the word out about women’s sexual autonomy. This year marked her third annual SlutWalk, taking place in LA.
Before you ask, no, Amber Rose was not the first to put together a SlutWalk. They started in Toronto, Canada in 2011, after a police officer suggested to a group of young college women that in order to dodge sexual harassment and assault they should “avoid dressing like sluts.” After this very controversial event, SlutWalks spread from Toronto and broke out all over the US. Although Amber Rose may not have come up with the idea herself, she has certainly helped it blossom. She has used her platform as one of Hollywood's most sexually open, honest, and free women to bring awareness to all social injustices that come with being a woman and/or a femme. These include double standards, body shaming, rape culture, victim blaming, and the derogatory language used to back women into a corner.
Amber Rose, unfortunately, knows about many of these circumstances all too well. After being involved in what she refers to as two mentally abusive relationships with Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa, she was torn apart by the media. She was condemned for the clothing she wore, the pictures she took, and her previous job as a stripper. Instead of allowing the media and ignorant eyes to scare her, she became more unashamed and unapologetic than ever. She dove directly into activism and reclaimed her rights as a woman. As a result, she’s responsible for one of the most famous and successful annual SlutWalks.
The Amber Rose SlutWalk is a whole different breed. Fearless women march the streets of LA from early morning to afternoon, and afterward, they join the festival. The festival is full of live music, speakers, contests, and other activities. There are even booths that offer free HIV/AIDS testing and breast exams. Amber Rose has thought of it all. To be a part of all of this women empowerment, there is only one rule–be respectful. Respect the mission. Do not use offensive language. No racism, sexism, or ableism is tolerated.
As expected, Amber Rose along with all of the other participants receive their share of negative opinions. You get on Instagram and see an image of a woman marching with a sign that reads, “I am not a slut. I am a woman with sexual rights.” You scroll down to the comments and see several men commenting, “lol. Slut.” This is our world, and a SlutWalk alone won’t change it. What it will do, is force you to look at the misogyny, patriarchy and rape culture laced in our society. It will force you to analyze the world and the gendered social inequalities that come with it. It’s a step, and a dignifying one. It’s dignifying to know that we may march in the day, so that one day, we don’t have to be afraid to walk at night.