Experiencing Amber Rose’s Slut Walk Genuinely Changed My Life

How Amber's walk opened my eyes and made me question everything.

Like any woman, I’ve been catcalled. I’ve been gawked and whistled at. I’ve been harassed from afar with inappropriate remarks. Does it make me extremely infuriated, and, if I’m being honest, a little sad every single time? Absolutely. What’s upsetting is I learned to accept the disgusting fact this is the way society has molded men to behave. But for the first time, I was in a place-a euphoria, really-where this simply didn’t exist, and I realized life doesn’t have to be what I’ve experienced so far.

I attended Amber Rose’s Slut Walk in LA on Saturday, and it was the most liberated I’ve maybe ever felt in my entire life. I witnessed women, and men, of different ages, shapes, colors, sizes, all united for the same cause: equality for females. The energy I felt was almost indescribable. People wearing whatever the hell they wanted (some almost nothing), saying whatever they wanted (like, “My pussy, my choice”), and knowing they wouldn’t get any judgement for it. Just love.

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I felt so free being able to play vibrator tic-tac-toe, openly curse, and not have to be the perfect lady society wants me to be. But with all of the fun, came some of the painful and difficult lessons. Many women came out to support Amber’s cause because they were victims of rape. I overheard things like, “They tell women how not to dress to avoid getting raped, but why aren’t they telling rapists not to rape?,” “Is there a certain way rapists dress that we should look out for?” and “My clothing choice doesn’t mean I’m asking for it.” I haven’t stopped thinking about these things since.

But perhaps the turning point was when I talked to a woman named Sammie (below, right) who had been raped, and who-as a victim-was blamed for it. Being in such close proximity to her, hearing her story, was chilling. But what moved me was her positivity, wanting to educate others, end victim-blaming, and above all, the way she proudly claimed ownership of her body.

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Sammie-and every other woman I spoke with-inspired me because they didn’t resent the people who had hurt them in the past. I saw that these women almost felt bad for the people who had hurt them, understanding the unfortunate ignorance in the world, and just beaming with hope to make it better.

I realized that what we wear and how we act are merely societal constructs forced upon us, but really, who’s to tell us how to live? I felt so free and happy knowing I wouldn’t be catcalled that day, and I saw the joy in everyone else around me for the same thing, too. They shed all the angst and fear that comes with being slut-shamed and just existed, freely, as they are.

I now understand that I refuse to be put in a box because history has led us here and society tells me to. I realize we can forgive the ignorant, and move forward without hate and resentment, but with love and positivity. We can openly celebrate our bodies and what we choose to do with them, because that’s a natural and beautiful thing.

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As the event comes to a close, I find myself sad to leave, realizing it was almost just a dream I had to wake up from, slowly re-entering the harsh reality of our world. But for a brief moment walking away, I turn back, look over my shoulder, and smile, feeling hope and knowing that world I experienced on Saturday could one day be a reality.

Pizza is bae. And yes, I still say bae.
@taylorferber