Q.C. walks in Amber Rose’s SlutWalk for women’s rights
ASST. NEWS EDITOR
“No bad women, just bad laws” “You are worth more than who you f–ck.” “I’m a feminist. What’s your superpower?” These signs decorated the streets surrounding Pershing Square in Los Angeles this past Saturday, Oct. 6. The Violence Intervention and Prevention Club (VIP) took a group of about 10 students to the Amber Rose SlutWalk. The SlutWalk was created in 2011 back in Toronto, in protest of a police officer who told a group of college students that if they did not want to be raped, they should not dress like sluts. This ill advice has created over 200 SlutWalks around the world where people are dedicated to bringing awareness to sexual violence, victim blaming, body shaming, and gender inequality.
Once we arrived at the check-in for the walk, we were immediately met with anti–SlutWalk protestors. They were surrounded by police ensuring everyone had the freedom to come and go as they please. There was a sharp contrast between the safe loving community meeting to support one another and the hate the protestors exuded. Beyond the interruption of the protestors, I was enamored with the outfits fellow protestors were wearing. Beautiful women were clad in glitter, rainbow wigs, spandex, body-paint, and lingerie.
There were men present, but their outfits were generally more mundane, yet still important. Some chose to wear ally shirts, some were in drag, and some were in bras and tiny shorts. While the outfits were interesting, they really did not matter. The march was special because everyone was there for the same cause.
Before starting the walk, there was an hour and a half party on a stage at the start of the walk. Artists were getting the crowd hyped up before Amber Rose, MUVA (her popularized slang term for mother) herself, made her entrance. Rose’s entrance is always a significant act because of her exuberant wardrobe. There were step and dance teams from Los Angeles, and Milan Christopher performed. Christopher was the first openly gay rapper on Love and Hip Hop: Hollywood, but he received a lot of backlash from other rappers because of his sexuality. He created a twerking competition with the crowd and the winner won an item from his male adult sex toy line. After his performance, he introduced Rose, who came out in a white lingerie set with a sign that read, “wife a slut, we’re more fun.”
Once Rose appeared, it was time to start the walk. As we were all beginning, music was pulsing and everyone was full of love and support in the crowd. The energy was both tantric and charged with passion for change. As soon as the walk began, the anti-slutwalk protesters started chanting how the participants in SlutWalk were asking to be raped and that our fathers never loved us.
That changed the tone rapidly, because a good portion of people participating are survivors of sexual assault. It created a tense moment for people participating in SlutWalk. Some were overcome with tears, some held up their middle finger and carried on, but some engaged with the protestors. One girl walked up to them and said something along the lines of: “You’re not acting Christian right now, but Jesus still loves you.” Another pair of girls began to make out in front of the protestors. The sign that seemed the most appropriate for that experience read, “Don’t hate the slut, hate the shame.”
Media outlets were everywhere, but people walked next to Rose. It was a surreal experience, which served as a reminder that issues of sexual violence and gender inequality are just as real to celebrities as they are to us. Her presence was a great reminder of the solidarity between all survivors and allies. Once we finished the actual walk, which lasted for about four blocks, we went to a party-like event in Pershing Square. The Square was decorated with many vendors. Some sold adult toys, some t-shirts, some offered pole dancing classes, and there was a self defense workshop. All of these were gender inclusive, body-positive brands that were sensitive to the fact that a majority of the people in attendance were survivors of sexual or gender-based violence.
When we were choosing where to go for lunch, we decided on Chipotle which was a few blocks from the Square. The moment we stepped away from the embrace of the Square to the reality that is Los Angeles, we were met with a poignant dichotomy of lust, wonderment, and hate. People seemed incredibly threatened by the shirtless female body as we made the journey to get burritos. We were catcalled, asked if we wanted to party, solicited for services, and several people tried to engage in political conversation regarding Brett Kavanaugh. He had been confirmed in the middle of the march.
As we walked, I could not help but wonder how many men we passed that may have been abusers to people in their lives (99 percent of sexual assault is perpetrated by men, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).
It was the bond between the participants at the SlutWalk that I found solace in; all of these people are strong advocates for the rights of the individual body and are making a commitment to stand up for what they believe in. Just like the balloons that garnished the street said, “The only yes is ‘f—k yes.’”