On Saturday, October 1st, model and activist Amber Rose hosted the second annual Amber Rose SlutWalk Festival in Downtown Los Angeles. The organization was created to raise awareness for sexual injustice and gender inequality after Amber’s personal experiences with slut shaming in the public eye. This was an event for survivors (particularly women) to take back and reclaim all the stereotypes and misconceptions. And they did just that.
Although she’d appeared in campaign ads and music videos prior to the relationship, Amber Rose came to prominence as “Kanye West’s girlfriend.” There was much more to her than that, but the media ran with it. To many, since she has always been open about her sexuality and is attractive, she’s just another “slut” trying to become famous; the stereotypical rapper’s girlfriend who appears half-naked in their videos and does anything for attention.
After breaking up with West, she continued her success by writing a book, designing her own eyewear and clothing line and appearing on numerous TV shows (she’s on Dancing with the Stars currently!). After going through constant scrutiny from the press and even experiencing derogatory comments from her exes (aka Kanye West’s 30 showers comment and Wiz Khalifa’s song with Juicy J), she realized just how important bringing awareness to this issue is.
SlutWalk originated in Toronto in 2011 when a police officer told a crowd of college women that if they wanted to avoid sexual assault, they shouldn’t dress like sluts. It soon became a worldwide movement, promoting for others to take a stand against sexual violence, victim blaming and labels. With stats that include the fact that one in six college women were raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime and approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States experiencing sexual violence, this movement is beyond important. Amber Rose, who has experienced labeling, inequality and victim blaming felt the need to do what she could to make a difference.
The Amber Rose SlutWalk Festival has now become a day long event and safe space for any gender, sexuality, ethnicity and age. It involves special guests, giveaways and the platform for others not to be torn down by injustice, inequality and violence. It’s become a place to celebrate who you are and want to be. Just last year, in an emotional speech, Amber Rose discussed her first time being slut-shamed at just age 14. She also spoke of her exes, the names she’s been called and what the media has dragged her through. In the end, she forgave them and reminded us that labels don’t define us.
That’s why this movement is so important. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or haven’t done, there’s no reason for shaming others. There’s no room in the world for violence or injustice. We have to empower and educate in order to end rape culture.