Amber Rose Slutwalk paves the way to ending rape culture


Illustration by Sarah Kim

Kicking off in Los Angeles, the Amber Rose SlutWalk filled the streets with people from all races, religions and backgrounds protesting sexual injustice and gender inequality.

Amber Rose makes no claim to starting the SlutWalk, or even creating the term, but she does hope to bring awareness to the message by creating a designated time to celebrate the movement, which started back in 2011 after a police officer in Toronto visited Osgoode Hall Law and told students, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

These words, said to merely 10 students, turned into a movement attracting thousands to the street to protest rape culture. While the officer in question apologized for his remarks, there was no stopping what he had set in motion.

“SlutWalk has become a global movement with grassroots success in over 200 countries,” states the official website.

The SlutWalk holds the same message it did three years ago, which is “to deliver a flawlessly executed event geared toward raising awareness about sexual injustice and gender inequality. The Amber Rose SlutWalk aims to impact and uplift, while shifting the paradigm of rape culture. The event provides a safe, all-inclusive space to entertain, educate, and empower.”  

The festival offers a platform for anyone to stand up for equality. The SlutWalk advertises that there is no box that you must fit in to attend the walk. While derogatory comments or offensive outfits — which are clothes featuring racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise offensive things — are not welcome, everyone is invited to dress as they please and seize the day to speak their minds about the issues at hand. This free policy leads many to dress as provocatively as possible. They sport fishnets, pasties and short shorts, all items traditionally deemed “slutty,”  to prove the point that no matter what you wear, it never means you’re “asking for it.”

The festival-style event is centered around an awareness march and speaker panel but also offers other festivities, such as musical performances, pep rallies, celebrity guest appearances and an art empowerment show. The panel offered up speakers such as Lilly Singh, the YouTube personality also known as “IISuperwomanII,” the comedian Ron G. and the radio host Big Boy to share t h e i r thoughts. The Opened Women’s Conference includes speakers and workshops that are aimed at creating a space where social justice can be discussed.

Discussions about social justice are especially prevalent today. Powerful figures, such as Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump, have recently both been found bragging about their ability to do what they want to women, show how normalized it is for people in positions of power to feel acceptable and even safe harassing others. In an encounter with Italian model Ambra Battilana, Harvey Weinstein admitted to groping her as he’s “used to that.” In an eerily similar case, Trump was recorded saying, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it.”

While Donald Trump dismissed all actual accusations deeming his comment just “locker room talk”, Weinstein was fired from his company, left by his wife and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Weinstein’s accusers took a year to come out and tell their stories for fear of what a Hollywood power player like Weinstein could do to their careers. Trump’s comments display an attitude that it is acceptable to force people into uncomfortable situations and touch them without consent. Both cases demonstrate why the SlutWalk’s message is so important to spread today.

While this event is recommend for those that are 18 years of age or older, the message the walk spreads is open to all.

Junior Riya Gupta, GSA president weighs in: “I do wish it was something we could be a part of because I think its a great thing to help people feel more comfortable with themselves and help people accolade that no matter who you are and   no matter what you do with your life. But it’s still important for SlutWalk and to understand why the evenT was started.”

The mission of this event is to end sexual violence, victim blaming, derogatory labels and gender inequality. These are topics that everyone can weigh in on and combat in their own way.

As the website says, “The only requirement is you be inspired by your own passion to do something about the issues that plague our generation.”