What happened at Amber Rose's SlutWalk—and why it matters
Actress and model Amber Rose has been through it: The 31-year-old mother as been shamed by her exes, while the rest of the world seems stuck on the fact that Rose is a former stripper.
But Rose has refused to let that get her down, recently turning the slut-shaming she regularly faces into a campaign on body positivity and rape culture. Her aboutface culminated this weekend with the Amber Rose Foundation’s first-ever SlutWalk, which saw Rose and a few hundred supporters in various states of undress making their way through Downtown L.A. to protest the way all women, regardless of their appearance, fame, or body type, face body shaming and ridicule.
“We recognize that shaming, oppression, assault and violence have disproportionately impacted marginalized groups including women of color, transgender people and sex workers, and thus we are actively working to center these groups in this event,” reads the Foundation’s SlutWalk manifesto. “We deeply value the voices of marginalized groups and have a strong desire to find common ground among all of our intersections.” Though, Rose did not invent the SlutWalk—a group of women in Toronto, Canada did back in 2011—she did successfully execute all its tenets on Saturday by inviting anyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, body type or sexuality to join in and by focusing on one overarching concept: Absolutely nothing about the way a person looks or dresses or lives their life is an open invitation to put them down.
“[T]o be told that I was nothing but a stripper—it hurt,” Rose said in a tearful post-Walk speech. “People are ignorant and you have to be the bigger person and be the positive person to forgive, and move on and help other people around you that have been through the same thing.”
And it looks like being the bigger person is paying major dividends for Rose. Her GoFundMe campaign for the SlutWalk has already raised nearly $56,000 of its $65,000 goal and Rose is proving herself to be a powerfully honest—and even funny—new voice in the anti-slut shaming movement.
Of course, not everyone backs the SlutWalk movement—with some critics suggesting that using the term “slut,” while protesting in lingerie, isn’t an effective way to prevent rape culture. Meanwhile, activists behind The Black Women’s Blueprint, have criticized SlutWalk’s protests in the past as a forum for white privilege.
“As Black women, we do not have the privilege or the space to call ourselves ‘slut’ without validating the already historically entrenched ideology and recurring messages about what and who the Black woman is,” reads an open letter from the organization, published in 2011.
While it’s important to consider such criticism, Rose’s call for solidarity and an end to shaming this weekend sent a powerful message that was hard to ignore.
“I had to do it for you, for women like me who have gone through sh*t,” Rose said in her speech. “We have to be positive role models for each other.”
Amen to that.
Check out her whole speech below:
(Featured image via Twitter/Instagram)