Verity Johnson: Why Amber Rose’s vagina snaps are a triumph
Warning: This article contains adult content.
OPINION: So Amber Rose got naked again. That's not surprising: she is an ex-stripper, porn star and now feminist slut walk campaigner. She's comfortable in her lady bits in a way that I, in my 'feeling like a soggy dumpling' state, am incredibly envious of.
What's controversial is that she flashed her bush (yes, she has a bush) She released a photo on social media of her naked from the waist down three days ago, which has since been taken down on Instagram, to promote her upcoming Slut Walk. (See the uncensored tweet here.) But what's even more controversial is that it's ignited a debate over whether it's a feminist gesture or not.
Of course it is! A porn star with pubic hair is a violent, visual rebellion against the rules of our era which say women must be as vaginally bald as a Barbie doll. But she's also making a visual statement that promotes her Slut Walk ideology that whatever you wear, you're still not asking for it. So yes, she's a feminist.
Naturally not everyone agrees with me. A general sentiment, echoed by British bastion of all things reasonable Katie Hopkins. (For those yet to be outraged by her, she's a Daily Mail columnist and one of the most controversial columnists on the internet.) She came out with a hard rebuttal to Rose's feminist message. Hopkins tweeted, “strong women command attention with their clothes on.”
I can see where Hopkins is coming from: she's arguing women who command respect with their words, not their naked bodies, are more proper feminists. Women need to prove that they can be seen in a non-sexual light to break patriarchy, and so must protest in non-sexual ways.
Wellllll…...no. You can use sex to protest and still get an intellectual message across. Germaine Greer, anyone? Her nipples were so well known that had they been around in 2017 they would have their own reality TV show. But Greer also combined terrific intelligence with her freewheeling lady parts, commanding attention in multiple ways.
Admittedly she's gone from firecracker to fruitloop recently, but we're talking about her in her hellraising peak. She was a force of naturist nature, and she staged a multilayered rebellion on sexual and intellectual levels.
Sure, not everyone can do that. But there's more than one way of rebelling against something. You can make a statement in words, or in your actions, or in a speech, or in a book….but you can also make a statement with your lady bits.
If you're a porn star, you're probably not the sharpest crayon. You probably can't launch a Greer-level assault that combines sexuality and mental agility in one bite-sized nibble. But you're damn good at getting attention with your body. And while you've got that attention, you can make a statement to your audience.
And people listen - as proved by the collective hand-wringing on Twitter, and this very column. So why would you even try and make a serious statement with words when you can ignite the internet your looks? Play to your strengths.
I wouldn't expect Condoleeza Rice to make a feminist statement with her fragrant garden. Nor Maggie Thatcher or Helen Clark. I'd expect them to kick arse with speeches, books, even a Snapchat sequence if you're Aunty Helen. They're good at protesting with their clothes on. Amber is good at protesting naked. They're just different - but equally effective - ways of getting a point across. And they all work.
What is anti-feminist, Katie, is saying that one way of protesting is less worthy than the other.
Verity Johnson is a Newshub columnist.