amber rose talks slut shaming in new personal essay

In a frank new essay, the model, author, and feminist activist speaks out about slut shaming in the wake of Kanye’s vicious war of words.

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29 January 2016, 5:59pm

"Ever since high school, I've been called a slut."

That's the opening line of Amber Rose's personal essay, How I Learned to Stop Caring What People Think, published in Time Magazine. The candid account arrived yesterday, after Kanye West roped Rose into his ugly Twitter exchange with Rose's ex-husband, Wiz Khalifa, on Wednesday. "You let a stripper trap you," West jabbed. "I know you mad every time you look at your child that this girl got you for 18 years," he followed, while simultaneously attacking Khalifa for what West perceived as a slight to his wife and family. Rose -- never one to shy away from challenging hypocritical misogyny -- arrived with her own mic drop: "Awww @kanyewest are u mad I'm not around to play in ur asshole anymore? #FingersInTheBootyAssBitch."

READ What does the Yeezy-Khalifa Twitter fight say about how Kanye views women?

West has since denied Rose's booty-play allegation, but it's a taste of his own medicine. Wednesday's rant wasn't the first time West has shamed Rose's sexual autonomy as an attempt to valorise his own wife (whose celebrity was also born of her sexual prowess). "It's very hard for a woman to want to be with someone that's with Amber Rose," West told Power 105 last year. "I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim." And it's not just men that lob these insults. So how does Rose deal with all this unfounded shame? "In the past year, I've just started not caring."

"When you really stop caring about what people say, that's when you really start living," wrote Rose. Shortly after leading a SlutWalk and arriving to the VMAs in a jumpsuit painted with derogatory words she'd been called, Rose published an empowering book. In December, she posed as feminist icons throughout history in Paper Magazine. "It's so cool to think that I might help women think about who they want to be and then encourage them to be that person with no remorse. I want to help women just be happy in their own skin," she continued.

Rose concluded the essay with a call to arms for people of all genders to be more empathetic: "Before you judge someone—especially another woman—put yourself in her shoes and also look at your past." She explained that while we can be quick to call others names, we can often find examples in our own lives that help us view another woman's experience and choices through understanding, not shame. "Does that make you a ho?" Rose asked. "No, it makes you a human." 

Credits


Text Emily Manning
Photography Paul Buck via EPA