amber rose wants to put an end to slut shaming

The model, mother, and fierce feminist opens up about the many faces of sexism and explains why women need to stick together.

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20 September 2016, 10:15am

Amber Rose shot to fame six years ago as the "girlfriend of" Kanye West, and later as the "Baby Mama to" Wiz Khalifa's three year old son, Sebastian. Since then she's been constantly dragged into Twitter disputes by both exes, as well as various members of the Kardashian klan, had her name besmirched by everyone from random trolls to the mainstream media, and slut-shamed on a regular basis for her stripper past and simply because she's a woman who is proud of her sexuality and isn't afraid to flaunt it.

But this is far from who she is. A prolific feminist, keen philanthropist, and budding entrepreneur, the 32-year-old South Philly native set up the Amber Rose Foundation a few years ago, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting women's rights and equality issues, focusing specifically on the fight against slut-shaming and victim blaming, which is so prevalent within our culture. Since then she has written a book, How to Be a Bad Bitch, and staged two successful SlutWalks, in which a group of men and women walk in protest to reclaim the word "slut", using it instead as a means of female empowerment. Adding one more string to her bow, today she was just announced as the face of high street brand Missguided. Here she opens up about the many facets of sexism and why women should stick together.

How can we change how the media represents women?
We need to stick together as women, and not get angry when people don't understand what we go through, we need to educate more, we need to speak more. My entire team is full of men and now there are all feminists. They haven't always been, but it was just me talking to them every single day and letting them know about the inequality issues that we deal with as women. We all need to stick together and educate every single day.

What is the worst piece of sexism/slut shaming, you've ever encountered?
Child! Where do I start? there's no worst piece, it's all fucked up.

How does being a mother help the problem?
It makes it worse because in society, you know society teaches men and women that when you become a mother, you're no longer allowed to be proud of your sexuality and being a sexual being. You have to kind of shut that part of your life off and just tend to your child. As human beings we're all sexual beings, men and women. It's just that mothers get the shitty end of the stick if they even talk about anything sexual or be confident in their sexuality.

When did you first realise that you were a feminist and what does feminism mean to you?
I always liked girls and I always wanted to be their friend and I always felt like they always made it like a competition and I never wanted it to be that way and I guess, I kind of just grew as a person and started approaching my friendships in a different way and learning how to help women and not feel like it's a competition. Society teaches us that there can only be one and that's why there is only one woman really popping in the industry at a time, someone has to be greater than the next one. We can't just all be equally great. I would say probably that 3-4 years ago it just hit me that I had a platform and wanted to make a change. I wanted to use my voice to show people around the world that regardless of whether you're famous or not we still all deal with the same things, just being women.

How do you feel about celebrities corrupting the movement as a means of boosting their profile, does it really matter if they aren't genuine as long as the message is being spread?
I think that everyone has their passion. Mine is feminism and being an activist, but that doesn't mean that I don't care about HIV and AIDS and cancer and Black Lives Matter. I care about all of those causes but my number one passion is feminist activism. To say that there are people out there that will speak on the inequality issues that we deal with as women, but it's not necessarily their everyday passion like it is mine.

What is the hardest part about being a woman?
I don't really know, I can't mention one thing.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
I like to just go with the flow, dip and dab my hands in everything, figure out if I like it as I go. I'm an entrepreneur, I like something new all the time, I get bored and look forward.

Credits


Text Tish Weinstock