Amber Rose, The Slut Walk and The Racially Ambiguous Attempt to Abscond Western “Othering”

Socialite and model Amber Rose has openly denied being a “black” woman—referencing herself as “mixed” instead– a statement that this article does not function to refute.  As a “mixed” woman, Rose assumes a fictive placement above the black woman, but  lower than white women. The annual “SlutWalk” is Rose’s attempt as a mixed woman to consummate her journey to whiteness via womanhood, a journey which proves counterproductive given Rose’s symbolic functionality in past and contemporary culture.

Rose first gained fame as the girlfriend of Kanye West, whose blonde caesar and beautiful face turned heads. She then went on to marry rapper Wiz Khalifa and perform a number of other endeavors from modeling, to hosting, to guest appearances in music videos. Rose’s conventional facial beauty combined with her voluptuous figure allowed her to fulfill a Kim K- like mold, where a non-black body occupies stereotypical black attributes in a manner than makes black beauty more approachable to non-black women. Rose, like Kardashian, is an essential tool for cultural appropriation, rising from obscurity for issuing invisibility to black women who have donned a similar look for centuries sans celebration.

Rose’s now celebrated figure incurred humble beginnings as a former feature of a Philadelphia strip club. It is Rose’s former stripper status that provides a platform for her “slut” walk which advocates for an inclusive womanhood. But, you can not reinvent that which you are not, and to the western gaze Rose is not a woman.

Woman remains an exclusive term that references non-male whites who possess power in privilege. Rose is an “othered” female body separated from her past self through time, not circumstance.

Harriet Washington begins Medical Apartheid with a disturbing historical anecdote that described the sale of a “young mulatto girl” who is selected, stripped, and thoroughly examined prior to being handed over to perform household and any other “duties” her white master deemed necessary. In reading this description I think about Amber Rose, a contemporary tragic mulatto, reduced to her body for white male gain.

Rose’s body proves a gateway to visibility and wealth, just as it would have on an auction block centuries ago. Yes, despite Rose’s efforts to separate herself from her African ancestors, her “mixed” status would have still placed her alongside her sun-kissed sisters in white male transactions. This buying and selling manifests similarly in the contemporary plantation known as Hollywood, where the racially ambiguous woman is aggressively bought and and sold into an exploitative lifestyle guised as extravagance.

So while Rose’s Slutwalk may seem to oppose white male patriarchy, Rose’s efforts are counterproductive, given that her relevance is entirely contingent on the white male heteronormative gaze. This gaze instantaneously compartmentalizes “othered” bodies, like Amber, as a hyper-sexual canvass for western fantasy.

This fantasy festers in the inability of the “other” to properly conceptualize their oppression. Rose’s attempt at liberation only festers her oppressed state because she, like countless others, are in denial.

For the white woman held to Victorian standards of piety, modesty, chastity, and submissiveness, to be a “slut” is to rebel against the restrictive standards of womanhood. Any female of African ancestry, or “othered” status, has never been held to these standards, and to believe anything to the contrary is sheer insanity.

bell hooks discusses black female degradation in Ain’t I A Woman:

In the Victorian World where white women were religiously covering every body part, black women were daily stripped of their clothing and publicly whipped. Slave-owners were well aware that it added to the degradation and humiliation of female slaves for them to be forced to appear naked before male whippers and onlookers.

Nudity marked the entrance of black female bodies onto the western shores. Black female nudity was a means to stain the body as “other–” to shame them in juxtaposition to “true” femininity which was modest and reserved.

Black bodies have always been limited to their genitalia, which is why every popular image of black women is always congruent to sexuality. As a product of black sexuality, this hyper sexual compartmentalization is similar for the mixed woman.

“Mixed” women like Megan Markle and Amber Rose, gained popularity for who the world believes they are sleeping with— deeming Rose’s unveiled genitals as monotonous as playing a two-sided card.

Furthermore, Rose’s initiatives from The Slut Walk to baring her genitals on social media, are reactionary at best, illustrating Rose’s attempt at advancement as a step backwards for any woman of African lineage. Namely, Rose’s exposed vagina allows her to occupy a position identical to one she would have occupied centuries ago–except now Rose is willingly placing herself along the cyber auction block, to be “booked” by the highest bidder.  For these reasons, Rose’s actions do not reflect feminism, they reflect oppression.  Like the house slave, or the runaway who felt that racism dissipated upon crossing the mason Dixon line, Rose links captivity to a physical state and region– making her enslavement a personal secret but a public spectacle.

In closing, the feminist recruitment of the tragic mulatto unveils feminism as appearing to open doors for all women but serving as yet another opportunity for the sexualized body to open their legs to obtain visibility as the white female takes one step closer to white male supremacy.

 

 

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. “Furthermore, Rose’s initiatives from The Slut Walk to baring her genitals on social media, are reactionary at best, illustrating Rose’s attempt at advancement as a step backwards for any woman of African lineage. Namely, Rose’s exposed vagina allows her to occupy a position identical to one she would have occupied centuries ago–except now Rose is willingly placing herself along the cyber auction block, to be “booked” by the highest bidder.  For these reasons, Rose’s actions do not reflect feminism, they reflect oppression.  Like the house slave, or the runaway who felt that racism dissipated upon crossing the mason Dixon line, Rose links captivity to a physical state and region– making her enslavement a personal secret but a public spectacle.”
    Wonderful post CC! You really said it all! Amber is such a tragic figure. I really believe she is lost. Running around half naked everywhere in some type warped vision of woman empowerment was always lost on me. I don’t think she’s anyone that young black women(or biracial) should be looking up to. Thanks for another great post.

    1. Thank you for reading Prince! I’ve kind of had with Miss Lumberchuck and others like her. Her beauty is like venom for her and those inspired by her.

      1. That is the sad truth!

  2. kelley says:

    Great post! I love the way you dissect such seemingly simple happenings and subjects.

  3. Excellent post! I love the way you connected the dot’s of Amber’s behavior today to how Amber’s behavior in slavery in Louisiana would be almost identical. All I can say about Amber is tragic, tragic, tragic. Tacky and Trashy. White people’s idea of sex has really done a job on black males, I am trying to cleanse my mind of white peoples ideas of beauty and sex. Dr. Francis Cress Welsing said it best, “when you play around with sex, the joke is on the offspring”. Amber Rose certainly proves the Doctor’s theory. A “Slut Walk” tragic indeed. Thank you C.C for posting this.

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