Jerica Deck | Campus Co-Editor
Earlier this month, women in skimpy attire marched proudly alongside former stripper Amber Rose in her first “SlutWalk”. While most would cower merely at the word slut, these women reclaimed the term by publicly refusing to be policed about their sexuality.
The word slut is a term that too often floats around music, pop culture, and more dangerously college campuses. Why is it such a dirty word, and should it still be a part of anyone’s vocabulary?
In 2011, Constable Michael Sanguinetti, a Toronto, Canada police officer, started controversy after telling a group of college students that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” One of the main problems with slut-shaming is that it belittles the victim without holding the abusers accountable to their actions.
It insinuates that women who don’t have a certain amount of modesty deserve to be raped. It also suggests that men are animals who can’t control themselves around scantily dressed women, and thus aren’t liable for their behavior.
The ignorance of this officer’s comment led to the creation of the first SlutWalk in Chicago. Women gathered around wearing whatever they wanted, whether that is fully clothed or proudly topless, to protest rape culture. The SlutWalk has now spread all over the world with people marching in New York, Brazil, Singapore, South Korea, and more.
Recently, the SlutWalk has garnered even more attention after featuring Amber Rose, an infamous video vixen. After being the ex-girlfriend of Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa’s ex-wife, Rose is no stranger to slut-shaming. Kanye West went on The Breakfast Club and said “I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim.” Reacting to Kanye’s statement, Amber Rose’s mother marched at the event with a sign reading “F*** Yo 30 Showers.” Rose refuses to be shamed for her sexuality.
Along with giving a tearful speech at the march, Rose starred in a skit on Funny or Die’s website called “Walk of No Shame”. She also made a statement when she appeared at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards with former stripper Blac Chyna. The pair wore flesh colored outfits splattered with derogatory words like ‘hoe’ and ‘gold digger.’
Is this feminism or is Amber Rose actually just promiscuous? Shani Kulture, an associate producer for Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning expressed this point to his radio hosts when he said “I don’t think that it’s okay that she’s trying to take power out of that word. I get the point, however things get lost in translation. She actually does slutty things.” Rose used to be a stripper, appeared in sexy music videos, and has dated her fair share of rappers.
However these “slutty things” are only deemed shameful by society when they can be pinned to a woman. For example Chris Brown has dated a variety of famous women and has explicit sexual lyrics, yet no one calls him a whore. Even with his history of domestic abuse, not only has the public forgiven him, he’s excelling in the music industry.
In today’s society, it seems men not only allowed to sleep with whoever they want, they are congratulated for it. Women need to take a stand and demand the same level of societal respect for their personal choices.
No matter what she wears or how many twerking videos she puts out, Amber Rose is still a human being who deserves to be respected. After hearing her ex-husband Wiz Khalifa shame her on the song “For Everybody”, with tears in her eyes Amber said “I just loved him so much and gave him a beautiful son.
To be told that I was nothing but a stripper, it hurt.” Rose is a mother, a daughter, a model, a designer, a media icon, and a feminist; she has nothing to be ashamed of.
Before calling someone a “thot”, think about the impact that slut-shaming has on our society. There is no universal number of men to smile at, flirt or sleep with to determine who is and isn’t a slut.
The term slut itself is an arbitrary word used to belittle women and try to take away their power to make their own choices. Using it not only gives men this false sense of authority to police female sexuality, it also allows women to tear each other down. It’s a form for bullying, and it continues to keep rape culture alive.
Whether dissing Amber Rose or simply gossiping about a classmate, it’s important to know the power and impact that words have before they are used.