11 Reasons Why Amber Rose’s SlutWalk Image is Transformative & Changes Social Discourse

Amber Rose is a feminist icon, trailblazer and champion of body positivity and women’s empowerment. She created the Amber Rose SlutWalk which is about to embark on its 3rd Annual strut on October 1st. The Amber Rose SlutWalk has a mission to put an end to slut shaming, sexual violence, victim blaming, derogatory labels, and gender inequality. And to ‘impact and uplift, while shifting the paradigm of rape culture’.

amber rose
Source: Facebook/Amber Rose

Recently, Amber Rose posted an image to social media promoting the 2017 Amber Rose SlutWalk. The image featured her slaying and embracing body positivity – pubic hair and all – and we love it! Unsurprisingly though, it offended many people’s delicate sensibilities. Instagram deleted the post as quickly as people slut shamed her.

Here’s the thing, whether you like it or not, Amber Rose’s image is transformative and is necessary for changing social discourse.

Here’s 11 reasons why:

1.   It demystifies the shame and taboo around women’s sexuality. Plain and simple.

2.   It desensitises us to the hyper-sexualisation of women’s bodies – which is very important in a world where women can’t breastfeed their babies in public because of this hyper-sexualisation of our bodies.

3.   It tackles rape culture head on – by making a strong statement that women ‘ARE NOT ASKING FOR IT’ if they ‘reveal too much’ (And besides sexual assault and rape HAPPENS regardless of what someone is wearing/not wearing)

4.   Based on the intense level of slut shaming she is receiving – it highlights a gross double standard, that it’s okay for women to be objectified in society but it’s not okay for a woman, through her own volition, to feel empowered by her body and sexuality.

5.   It smashes the harmful stigma and social expectations that women – perpetuated by pornography – MUST be fully-shaven/trimmed downstairs often JUST to appease the male gaze.

6.   Based on the intense level of people criticising her for having pubic hair (A COMPLETELY NATURAL THING) – it shows just how much our bodies are policed to fit ridiculous and outdated attitudes/expectations of what our bodies should look like. And by extension it shows the price women pay for non-conformity.

7.   Based on the intensity and number of women slut shaming Amber Rose by saying she has no respect for herself shows quite clearly how much internalised misogyny is present in our society.

8.   The fact that people want to vilify her by bringing her child into this by saying things like ‘your son is going to grow up being so ashamed of his mother’ is skewed, puritanical and archaic. This photo and her efforts with the Amber Rose SlutWalk show just how courageous she is. That she is willing to challenge the harmful status quo, that she is liberating so many women from the chains of shame, that she is leading with confidence and example by showing the world that women’s sexuality and women’s bodies are nothing short of beautiful. This is something that would make her child proud.

9.   This isn’t going ‘too far’, it isn’t tasteless, crass or indecent. It is necessary to be bold and confront the issues noted ABOVE ^^^^ because at best it changes the way we view women, and at worst, it at least gets us talking.

10.    I’ve also seen the silly argument being thrown around – ‘but if men did this, it would be a whole different story’. You’re right – it would. And that’s a whole different conversation that we can all have too. But quite frankly that’s not what we’re talking about in this particular instance. We are talking about the harmful treatment, expectations and attitudes toward women that stem from a deeply-ingrained place in our society.





Trading Pleasure for Consent

Let’s get one thing straight: stealthing is sexual assault.

You could be forgiven for not knowing what stealthing is, except that is part of the problem. Recently the HuffPost claimed stealthing was a ‘new sex practice’, but since then people all over the world have been coming forward and telling their stories, implying there is nothing new going on here. We are just finally talking about it.

The term itself is fairly new and the internet has been quick to inject the phrase into the online lexicon. But in case you’re still not familiar with it allow me to summarise:

Stealthing is the act whereby one party removes the condom during sex without the other party’s knowledge or consent. Gross, right?

The recent surge of online debate over stealthing began when Alexandra Brodsky of Yale Law School posted a study suggesting that the trend was on the rise in the US and calling for new laws to concretely safeguard victims.

Source: Instagram/@honestly_quotes

In recent years, courts from all over the world have found stealthing to be a clear breach of bodily integrity and a non-consensual sexual act. Bills have been introduced in the US to criminalise it in California and Wisconsin, and a similar piece of legislation is under consideration in the UK.

Now that you know what stealthing means you’re probably thinking ‘Oh, I’ve heard stories about that. Hasn’t that been going on for ages?’ And the sad truth is yes, it probably has. The development of sexual assault and other crimes of a sexual nature, as they are defined under the law, has been painstakingly slow. Some parts of Australia had no laws against marital rape until 1987, and we only managed to introduce legislation criminalising image-based abuse, commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn’ this year. We’ve been well behind the game.

This slow progress can also be seen in stealthing. There have been no cases of stealthing brought before the courts in Australia, and no legislation specifically mentions the ramifications if protection is removed during intercourse without both parties consenting. I can understand the law being slow if it is catching up with technology, but condoms aren’t exactly the latest and greatest in contraception. So what’s the deal?

If I were a betting woman – and I’m not, but if I were – I would guess that the reason there has been no action in this area of law is because nobody is reporting it. Like most issues with sexual assault, it all comes down to whether the victims step forward. And as usual this comes with a whole other mix of problems, from not understanding that what happened was ‘assault’, to not wanting to get a friend or loved one in trouble. One account online of a victim of stealthing also noted that the police did not take her matter seriously when she gave her statement. Sound familiar?

Time and time again victims of sexual assault are having to fight against this overriding theme that consent is not as important as pleasure. Allegations of rape always contain questions over whether the victim was ‘asking for it’ or whether the victim simply regretted it the next day. Sex is fun, sex is pleasurable, people love to have sex! So victims are asked if they are sure they didn’t consent, and if they are sure it was rape. Because to some people any sex is still sex.

Stealthing is the ultimate example of this. Offenders remove the condom, most typically because they can experience more pleasure without it, be it from the physical experience or the feeling of degrading the other party. And in exchange for this pleasure is the consent of the victim, who has no idea that the terms upon which they agreed to have intercourse have been rewritten.

Imagine sex like a contract. Both parties put forward their terms. Lights off. Reciprocal orgasms. But most importantly: a condom. Then during the execution of the contract the terms are changed. And not just any term, but one of the big ones. One of the terms that protects a party’s physical autonomy – the term that protects them from falling pregnant or potentially contracting an STI. That shield is literally taken away.

If you agreed to enter a boxing match on the condition you wear protective gear, wouldn’t you be angry if half way through the match they took your helmet away and continued to punch you?

So while Australian law remains silent on stealthing, it is important that victims don’t. Men, women and non-binary victims who have had their bodily integrity compromised by the selfishness of another. People who have been violated and assaulted by offenders who have consistently gone unpunished.

Stealthing is not a prank. It is not a joke. There is nothing funny about sexual assault.

And as far as I’m concerned that’s all stealthing is: sexual assault. And the sooner we stop trying to divert the conversation about sex-based crimes with discussions centered around pleasure, the better.

Featured Image: Encouraging Life Organisation which provides services on ‘reproductive, sexual health and comprehensive sex education’