Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That's the mantra Amber Rose is on now when she thinks about the slut-shaming that goes on in popular discourse today.
She says she’s disgusted at how sexual women—that is, women who seem to enjoy sex and have, well, sexual careers—are dragged through the mud at every juncture of their lives, all because people are uncomfortable with female sexuality.
“I’ve been called a slut while I was still a virgin. I have been called a slut while I was in a committed relationship with my husband,” Rose said during an interview with The Guardian. “So it really doesn’t matter what you do in life, people can call you that name because they are uncomfortable with your sexuality. That’s all it is.”
Rose admits that she wasn’t always this enlightened, and was guilty of engaging in the kind of slut-shaming that she’s working hard to condemn today.
“I used to call women sluts and whores all the time. Because that’s what society taught me: That that was OK and that it was what I was supposed to be doing,” she explained. “But I grew up, and I have seen these issues, and I have become very passionate about it. I am a former slut-shamer and a newfound feminist.”
Rose wants to take the discussion to men, too, since it seems that a lot of the slut-shaming stems from patriarchal understandings of what women are supposed to look like and how they are to behave.
“Being a feminist is not just talking to women, it’s talking to guys, too,” she argued. “That’s extremely important. It starts with us embracing each other and being role models for each other, and bringing that awareness to our sons and the men around us.”
She is applying those principles to the upbringing of her son, Sebastian, whom she shares with rapper Wiz Khalifa. “I just want my son to be a male feminist and that means he believes in equality,” she said.
Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.