16 People Who Bared All to Fight Slut-Shaming at the Amber Rose Slut Walk

16 People Who Bared All to Fight Slut-Shaming at the Amber Rose Slut Walk
Source: Mic
Source: Mic

Hundreds of people converged in downtown Los Angeles Saturday afternoon to march against slut-shaming and sexual violence at the Amber Rose Slut Walk. Some participants arrived dressed in jeans and T-shirts, while others dressed in outfits much like model Amber Rose, the organizer of her first-ever eponymous slut walk, who wore black lingerie, sunglasses and her signature blond, short-buzzed hair, of course. Some came wearing even less. The meaning behind this demonstration was universal, though: No one should feel shamed or be shamed by others about their own bodies. 

Here, 16 people tell Mic why they were there Saturday, what they've experienced in the past and why slut-shaming has got to go.

Shantel, 27, San Diego 

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Mic: Have you ever been called a slut?
Oh, yeah. Tons of times. I say "thank you." I appreciate it because it's a word. You give the word its power, and I enjoy sex. I don't know who doesn't enjoy sex. If you don't, then start enjoying it. There's nothing wrong with dressing a certain way or feeling a certain way.

How did you pick out your outfit today?
Well, actually, the black tape across my boobs in the "X" form is for #FreeTheNipple, another movement that I believe in, and what better way to be a slut than just [going] naked according to other peoples' standards? So I figured, why not go all out and show what a slut really can look like?

Gertrude, 25, Minneapolis

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Why are you participating in the slut walk today?
I'm participating because I think enough is enough. I was born and raised in Kenya, and about six months ago, there was this movement that was happening by men in Kenya, where they were undressing women in public and raping them in public and nobody was doing anything about it, because they were wearing tank tops and in Kenya, that's scandalous. I think that any part of the world that you go to, you can find the same themes. In Kenya, it's tank tops and maybe in the U.S., it's wearing a crop top, and then if you go to the Middle East then people will say, "Oh, you're not wearing a hijab, you deserve to be raped." Enough is enough. 

Jazmin, Maddy and Shyamini, all 18, Los Angeles 

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Have you ever been slut-shamed?
Jazmin: I have. I was in middle school, and it starts as early as that, you know? Little girls just start calling each other sluts and whores. They don't even know what it actually means. It doesn't make any sense, you know? We're women. We should stand together and not be calling each other whores and sluts because we're not that.

Maddy: Yeah, it was a word rooted in hate, and we just made it into a joke, like, 'Oh you're such a slut.' We started calling people that and we don't realize how it's oppressing us.

What is one thing you would say to someone who has slut-shamed you?
Shyamini: Fuck you. Straight up. Fuck you.

Lawrence, 26, Houston

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Why are you participating in the slut walk today?
My participation comes from the heart. My mother raised me, and my family is all women, even though my father was there. I've seen some things throughout my family that women shouldn't go through. As I got older and went to college, I continued to have female friends and I saw that. Even my previous fiancee, she went through some things, so it hits home really close. You never think about it. I'm all for equal rights. I was a political science major, and I did my studies on equality and economics for women based on men's standards, and it's kind of pathetic and it's poor.

Amiri, 24, Megan, 23, and Trinity, 22 

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic


Have you ever been slut-shamed?

Amiri: Yes, definitely. I can speak for all three of us when I say that we're all very liberal and free, and we like to not wear clothes because we were born like this. It has nothing to do with pleasing anyone else or displeasing them, though people love to vocalize their displeasure. However, I will always boldly be myself. So will they, and I will always support my goddesses in doing the same! 


What would you say to someone who has slut-shamed you?

Amiri: To anyone who has slut-shamed me, fuck your patriarchy. Excuse me, I don't know if you can put that, but that is what I would say. I would say fuck that, fuck your social conditioning,and everything else that you think about me because it's not about you and I feel the freest, the proudest, the most self-confident that I've ever been, and I'll continue to embrace that in my truth. That's what I would say!


Have you ever slut-shamed anyone?

Trinity: Maybe in younger years before I realized that genuinely everyone being themselves is just so important.

Heather Jarvis, Toronto, 30, co-founder of the original SlutWalk Toronto

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Some of the girls here told me they were actually catcalled on the way here. The other things I've noticed is we're media, but there's other men who are here who aren't media, they have cameras and they're stopping and taking photos and being inappropriate. Is that common?

Yeah, unfortunately, yes. I mean, one of the greatest examples about addressing that was I think in Seattle a few years ago, they actually asked members of the kink community to come out and form a wall in front of people who were making participants feel uncomfortable. We're here because sexual violence is so rampant. Victim-blaming and slut-shaming is embedded in the way that we talk about sexual violence, and so there are a lot of people who think that this is funny, that rape is a joke, that it's normal or it's OK.  


How powerful is it to have young women represented here? 

What's amazing is that a lot of people have been like, "Oh, it's just a bunch of promiscuously dressed women getting together in the streets." Historically, people come with their families, or people come with children. I've seen kids as young as 4 carrying a sign that says, "Even I know to keep my hands to myself." These are conversations that young people understand and they can be a part of, which I think is amazing because they have to be, because if we look at slut-shaming and the sexism that's rampant in high schools and teenagers, young women, they get this. I've heard a lot of women say, "I don't know about feminism, I don't really understand it, but I know what its like to be called a ho, and it sucks, and I love that I can come to a place and be around people who understand that what I wear and what people think that I have or have not done doesn't impact my safety or respect."

Anny, 21, Los Angeles

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Why did you bring this sign today?
I had actually seen it somewhere but it really like made me feel something because I have a son and I've been treated bad by men before and I'm just, like, let's get this problem at the root, you know? Raise our men right and we won't have this problem. 

So you plan to talk to your son about these kinds of issues?
Yes, definitely. I feel like girls born in this generation, in this new generation, can have a chance. Better of a chance than we do.


Jen Richards, I Am Cait

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic


Why are you at the slut walk today?

I'm here because I'm exhausted by having to worry about public harassment every time I leave my house. I can't go anywhere in public without being catcalled, whistled at, have cars stop or have men proposition me. It's been that way for years. It's exhausting, and it's not OK. I was someone who wasn't comfortable with my body for a long time in my life and as an adult, I'm learning to really enjoy my body and own my body, and it doesn't make any sense to me. 


How important is it for you to see trans women represented in slut walks?

It's really nice that there are trans women here, because I encounter most of the same issues that any other woman does while moving through public, but then I have additional intersections as a trans woman, like every time I meet a guy in public, I'm always worried about what's going to happen when they realize I'm trans. I've had situations when men were hitting on me in public and being really, really aggressive, and then once they realize I'm trans, they suddenly go from desiring me to wanting to hurt me. It can happen really quick. 


Timothy, 33, Los Angeles

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Why are you participating at the slut walk today?
I'm here because I feel like this whole movement is so powerful, and it's 2015, so things need to change. People need to stop being so closed-minded. I love flipping the word slut around. I love flipping the word bitch around. It's a new day, and I feel like this is going to be a really, really powerful thing, so I'm here to support. I love Amber. 

I saw your sign. So as a gay man, does this event hold any special meaning for you to be here today?
Yes, it does. I wanted to be here to support Amber but also I wanted to be here for myself because I think that not just with women, but also with gays, there's a lot of shaming in the homosexual community. And that is bad, so I just want to be here on that behalf and be able to support other homosexuals that feel that it's not OK to slut-shame.

Juniper, 19, Azusa, California

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

How important do you think it is for intersectional women to be here and show support and also show the diversity of who experiences sexual harassment? 
It's really important that every space is intersectional because regardless of who you are, if you are a cisgender woman, a trans woman or intersex, you know, we're all dealing with the patriarchy in the same way, so it's important to stick together.

How important was it for you to be here and to walk the slut walk in heels?
It was hard walking in heels, but it definitely was important because I felt that sense of unity with other women. Often times in feminist spaces, I'm not really welcomed as a trans person, but I felt safe here, and it was really important.

Tamara, 38, Los Angeles

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

What is something you've always wanted to say to someone who has catcalled you?
You know what I've always wanted to say? Just because I'm a fucking woman does not mean I'm interested in fucking you. That is what I want to say. It's like you're not even attracted to me, you're just attracted to the fact that I'm a woman. It could be any woman and you would be doing the same thing. It's not a compliment at all. 

Is it empowering to be here at the event by yourself and to see that there's many other women that came here alone as well?
I am. It's a new breed of women. I mean, it really is. I'm seeing such an evolution in who we've become and how we represent ourselves, how fearless and how comfortable we are in our individuality and in our statements that we make. I'm proud to see it. I'm just here to witness it, and I'm enjoying myself. 

Matt McGorry, actor, Orange Is the New Black, 29 

Source: Meghan Quinn/Mic

Why did you come to the slut walk today?
Gender equality and women's rights are all things that are very important to me and are very much in my consciousness. I even did the Mic segment about male feminists not that long ago, and it's something more people need to speak about, especially people in positions of privilege.

Have you ever been slut-shamed?
Yeah, I think in some way. The thing is, ultimately, as a man, when I'm slut-shamed or objectified, it's not the same thing because it's not done systemically and everywhere in society. I'm not oppressed by it. Someone asked me this on Twitter the other day. They said, "I think you're really attractive but I feel like this is objectifying you," and I said, I appreciate your sentiment, but I don't really mind because people aren't not giving me jobs because they think I'm attractive or not valuing my opinion because they only see me as the color of my skin or because of my gender. 

It all puts it very much in perspective, and we see people bring up the people who are against feminism, they will say, "Well, what about men's issues?" And there are issues that do affect men, but when we take a step back and take a look at the bigger picture, we realize that these are very specific and limited issues compared to issues that women, trans people and everyone else faces. It has to be considered in that context as well.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Yezmin Villarreal

Yezmin is a writer and editor for Pride.com and The Advocate. She's based in Los Angeles.

MORE FROM

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.