By, Nadia Watson
The philosophy behind any Slutwalk is that women should not be demonized when raped in response to the slut-shaming politics society has established. While Amber Rose taking the streets of LA by storm to combat women's equality issues is indeed admirable, her message got lost in translation this past weekend.
By encouraging women to be as promiscuous as they want to be without worrying about the consequences solely to prove a point does not prove that you have reclaimed ownership of your body -- not when STDs, unwanted pregnancies and stifling relationships can easily be birthed from it. If you're proud of your body, show it off but you can embrace your sexuality without being irresponsible. Treating sex as something any man or woman can receive and assuming it equates to empowerment is an even larger issue. The feminist movement has been striving to prove that women are not objects meanwhile The Slutwalk equates sex to power by preaching that sex is the optimal way of maintaining freedom and acquiring equality. Focusing our attention on our appearance rather than the mental health of our women who have fallen victim to rape is distracting from the issue at hand: women's inequality. No one is arguing whether the inequality exists but the way these women are mobilizing to portray this through absolving them of risk-management responsibility is beyond counterproductive.
Slut-shamed since the age of 14, former stripper Amber Rose is mostly known for her previous relationships with rappers Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. After having been belittled by them in recent months, she has used her voice to speak out against slut-shaming. While Rose has admitted that she is not here to be a role model for children, trying to positively recharge the word "slut" is only "making life harder for little girls who are trying to navigate their way through the tricky terrain of adolescence," says Gail Dines at The Guardian. Trying to take back a word that never belonged to us but rather was imposed on us in an attempt to dehumanize women of all races, shapes and sizes is not progressive or even uplifting. The Slutwalk is not only vilifying the feminist movement that has struggled so desperately for so long just for a handful of hard-won triumphs but exacerbating the very problem they wish to solve.
When the "burden" to prevent such a heinous act is placed on the victim and little to no action is enforced on the violator, this is called rape culture. This is the idea that when the victim fails to prevent her own rape, she is held accountable. What we do not realize -- as women especially -- we are all her, whether we have been through it or not. Some of us have silenced our voices because the pain is physically too much to address because our attacker took every ounce of strength that once permeated our bodies. Thus, when people with a strong platform and even stronger following, such as Amber Rose, find the courage to speak up on behalf of women, there is no room for confusion or inaccurate representation.
Instead of teaching women to go out more and wear less, we should be teaching our men to respect women. Instead of teaching women how to avoid rape, we should be teaching our men the real meaning of "consent." Why don't we know to associate the teal ribbon with Sexual Assault Awareness? Why don't we know that the month of April is devoted to Sexual Assault Awareness? Why don't we teach our kids, "No means no?" So many questions. And in turn, there are so many answers and statistics that we are unaware of. In no way is ignorance ever bliss in a rape case. Ignorance stopped being an excuse a long time ago. If you are going to attach yourself to a movement that raises sexual assault awareness, do not do the movement injustice by pushing your own agenda fueled by insecurities. We do not reserve the luxury of labeling ourselves in hopes of reclaiming identity by normalizing the term for our children to see.
It is not brave to walk the streets of Los Angeles in little to no clothing, locals do that everyday. Bravery is using your voice, instead of your body, to put an end to rape culture once and for all.