Change can only be made when people are made to feel uncomfortable.
Feminism was never a movement done sitting down; from the time of the word’s creation by French philosopher Charles Fourier, to the first-waves of feminist activism in the United Kingdom and United States in the nineteenth century, to the necessary and notable inclusion of Black women and other women of color called “Womanism” coined by the writer Alice Walker, and onward—feminism is as culturally significant as they come and has always pushed the boundaries.
But when it comes to Amber Rose and women like her, that respect for the cause seems to shift.
Amber Rose, initially known for her relationship with rapper Kanye West back in 2008, has in following years made her own mark as “Muva,” a woman who is an actual mother to the son she shares with rapper Wiz Khalifa, Sebastian, is in complete and absolute control of her body sexually and otherwise. Her forms a feminism have always been controversial—from her annual “Slut Walk” in Los Angeles to commemorate women who have survived sexual assault, who are strippers and sex-workers, etc., to her nude shots that generated a negativity she and others knew was to come.
Alas, despite this, Rose’s work ignites the sense of how we treat women in society—if a woman is to own her sexuality, she is seen crudely and is not taken seriously. Yes, in 2017, even in first-world countries, women are seen as inferior for wanting to take ownership over something that is rightfully theirs. The response to how Rose chooses to go about the movement speaks more volume than the movement itself at times.
In her recent nude shots that she uploaded onto her twitter account, DaRealAmberRose, she was bombarded with retweets, replies, and timeline discussions, and, unsurprisingly, among those, were hateful comments. Many were made in reference to her being a mother and how she could not possibly be a good one to her son if she was publishing nudes. Others believed that her approach did nothing for the cause, that the approach did not help women get equal paying jobs/opportunities, housing, education, etc.
But Rose’s method is not necessarily stemmed in that. Feminism is a nuance—there are various avenues in which it can be approached and many different topics that need attention. What she has fought for, for a long time, is the safety in women taking ahold of their sexuality and being free with it as men are allowed to do. We live in a society where female slut-shaming still exists, and women are told they were “asking for it” for their choice of sexual expressivity. That in itself is a dangerous ideology that she, along with many others, hope to change and continues her work in doing so, no matter how controversial the concept.
If a woman still does not have a right as simple as the one to her own body, how far are we really progressing?