The following week, WPGC 95.5 radio morning show host, Joe Clair, offered his meager, and clearly ill-informed opinion that Amber Rose’s Walk would be taken more seriously if it had a different spokesperson. One who dressed more modestly, hadn’t held the occupation of stripper and didn’t twerk in public.
Excuse me, sir. Miss the point, much? First things first. If you must be a misogynist, please refrain from bragging on-air that you have a daughter—as though this makes you some sort of expert on women’s issues and the problems we face—all while mocking the poster-child for an extremely essential movement. What ensued after Clair’s prideful mea culpa were a flood of callers livid with his commentary, who rightfully lambasted him. Unfortunately, his idiot opinions are likely syndicated, influencing the myriad minds already operating under the simpledom of the universe.
SlutWalks should be praised, and news of them demands to be shouted from the rooftops. Amber Rose deserves to be applauded for taking this tremendous step to empower, uplift and support other women–especially with her reach. At the Walk, she forgave ex-boyfriend Kanye West, and husband Wiz Khalifa, who both publicly slut-shamed her.
There is solidarity in knowing that no matter your socio-economic status, size, or who considers you attractive–if you spell your name woman–your liberation in your own sexuality has, without a doubt, made you a target at some point. You have been shamed, quieted, mocked. And expected to just accept it. But it’s impossible to ignore.
As a child, I vividly remember my stepfather expressing contemptuously and without hesitation that I looked like a “slut” as I modeled a dress my mother had bought for me. I couldn’t have been older than 10 or 11 at the time. And what does a child know of such ugly terms and frankly, body-shaming? It was hurtful then, and with the knowledge I’ve acquired since, the thought of it stings now. As an adult, I ponder, would his reaction have been the same if, God-forbid, someone had raped me while wearing that dress, or a man had lecherously leered at me as I walked down the street in it?
If the face of this reemergence of SlutWalks had been any other than Ms. Rose, I doubt the news of it would have disseminated so quickly, and it probably would not have received the acclaim it has. SlutWalks reportedly began in 2011 after a wave of sexual assaults plagued Toronto’s York University. A police officer dismissively remarked “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
This sort of daunting mentality not only dehumanizes women, but derides our ability to solely exist while exercising comprehensive freedom over the comportment of our bodies as freely as we please. Whether this means not smiling when a stranger says hello on the street; dressing in a way that others consider provocative; taking our clothes off to pay the bills; or having sex with more than one man during our lifetime. The face of Amber Rose brings much needed recognition and reignition to a movement that may have otherwise been ignored.
And sadly, this reality check is needed for much of society. This is further illustrated by the fact that Clair’s comments reinforce the foundation that rape culture is built upon. The innocence of little girls should not be lost on dresses plucked from the pages of a J.C. Penney catalog. And grown-ass women should be able to dress as we please, but because the permissibility of rape culture is propagated, we’re often blamed when victimized, whenever our gender and sexuality come into play in tandem.
But women neither need those who have vowed to “serve and protect” or quasi-celebrities of Clair’s ilk policing our sexual agency, nor trying to “save” us from ourselves. Our society would be better served if men would refocus their energies and attentions on extinguishing the antiquated ideals that shamelessly promote rape culture; if they would cease mislabeling their sexist critiques and misogynistic views as concern.
What cloak does this convenient “concern” hide itself under when these same men want to hypersexualize us for their own personal goals, gain, monetary benefit or sexual pleasure? That’s mostly rhetorical, unless you really don’t know the answer.
Men repeatedly take issue when a woman makes a conscious decision in regard to her own sexuality–a decision that normally goes against the traditional “moral” societal grain. At which point that woman requires being “counseled” by the same men who exercised questionable judgment in initially perpetuating the very transgressions they are suddenly so vocal against.
If there was a book entitled Missteps That Shaped the Trajectory of History, a preface focusing on the double standards upheld by men would absolutely be necessary. Men are committed to the cause of “saving” women, until it’s time for some ass-shakin’, pussy-poppin’ and no-strings dick-wetting sex; time for fulfillment of their fantasies by the same women that will be subjected to their abuse or shame in some form or another later. The same women they express interest in, until theirs is not reciprocated at which point the woman is reduced to a “bitch”, “cunt”, or some other oppressive, derogatory term.
We as women have all manner of rights to flaunt and explore our bodies in any way that we choose without fear of assault, abuse, rape, mockery, street harassment, body-, or slut-shaming of anykind. Yet, our sadistically traditionalist society predicates that if a woman’s utilization of her sexuality is not beneficial for men, it is useless and should not be tolerated. It is acceptable for men to use us for our bodies, but as women, we are rejected and shunned for delighting in them.