Former stripper-turned-actress Amber Rose is hosting her annual Slutwalk through Hollywood. The very rules of participation seem in conflict with the message of the effort – demonstrating just how hard it is to have it both ways.
More than 15,000 people have pre-registered for the third annual one-mile march through Hollywood next on Sunday led Kanye West’s old flame and former model/stripper.
The controversial movement aims to reclaim the word slut and -like other movements- to remove the stigma of dressing inappropriately as well as to combat body shaming, victim blaming, and sexual violence.
This march and others like it were sparked by 2011 comments of by a Toronto police officer who advised students on personal safety that “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”
But is parading around in our undies and flaunting our sexuality really empowering? Is the biggest fight for women today their ability to walk around in pasties and hot pants?
Rape and sexual assault are horrible crimes that we want victims to come forward and for our justice system to prosecute. Period.
This effort is not about that though.
For Amber Rose it’s a way to make herself feel better about her life choices. In a Marie Claire essay this week, said that she’d been called a slut all her life and so she “decided to take the power out of that word and reclaim it. I said f—k it, hoe is life. But don’t get me wrong—this self-proclaimed hoe is a powerful woman and an unapologetic feminist.”
Feminists today are increasingly baring their bodies, but in an essay about the “nipple-freeing” movement – sister to the slutwalk— one campus writer makes a salient point:
There are more important ways to execute feminism than asking to walk around topless the way men do. Women are still being paid less than men, and seen as inferior in the workplace, along with some sports and also governmental status. And why is this? Because men see us as sexual beings and not headstrong, hardworking boss-ladies. In every country there are taboos. In America we just happen to not accept female exposure of breasts, the same way we don't accept the exposure of genitalia. There are countries where women are shot and murdered in cold blood by men for speaking out of turn. There are women who can't receive an education because it is not their place in society. But women here are only feminists on their own terms, in their own country, who are more concerned with wanting to walk around in the nude.
While the writer gets the wage-gap and workplace inferiority point wrong, she is right about the freedoms that American women take for granted.
We can’t forget the powerful words of IWF’s 2014 Woman of Valor Ayaan Hirsi Ali who fights Islamic oppression of women:
That’s what feminist used to fight for, the access for girls to education. They used to fight for the recommendation of girls as fellow human beings and recommendation of their personal liberty.
I come from a place where I wasn’t allowed to wear whatever I wanted. I could not leave the house without asking permission from a male guardian, often without the company of a male…
Feminists in this country and in the West fought against that and won the battle. It’s what we do with the victory. What we are now doing with that victory … We must reclaim and retake feminism from our fellow idiotic women.
Fighting sexual violence is no laughing matter. It’s a worthy cause for women.
In the past, victims of rape were made to feel that the crime was their fault – perhaps because of the way they dressed. For many women around the world, that bias still exists.
However, slutwalks make light of a serious issue and do nothing to educate or change perspectives on women beyond their sexuality.