Susan B. Anthony. Gloria Steinem. Alice Walker. Amber Rose?
In this illustrious list of famous American feminists, Rose is the obvious outlier. But maybe the arch nemesis of the Kardashian clan actually belongs in this echelon of women changing the way we conceive of feminism and sexuality?
The woman once best known for being Kanye West’s and Wiz Khalifa’s main squeeze has started a rebellion against some of the longest-held views about women’s bodies and sexual expression—one red carpet and viral video at a time.
Rose is currently enjoying well-earned praise for a hilarious Funny or Die “Walk of No Shame Video.”
In under two minutes, Rose not only cheerfully defies the largely unquestioned belief that women should feel embarrassed or remorseful for having casual sex, but cleverly highlights the hypocrisy of a society that shames women for doing so.
With all the hallmarks of the opening to a 1950s family sitcom, like Leave It to Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet, Rose is happily greeted by a milkman as she leaves a house in a skintight black leather dress carrying the tell-tale pair of heels.
“Say, it looks to me like you had sex last night,” the milkman says to Rose.
“I sure did!,” she replies, brimming with confidence, cheer, and cleavage.
“Sounds like you’re living your best life,” the milkman says with a smile as Rose continues through the wholesome suburb to be congratulated by an array of townspeople congratulating her on her sex life.
“Nothing I haven’t done before,” an adorable old lady playing chess says as Rose struts by, while a man shouts from a truck, “You’re an inspiration to my daughter!”
The brilliance of the video lies in the fact that the townspeople championing Rose aren’t saying anything salacious or sexually graphic.
Rather their remarks are so unfathomably (unfortunately) enlightened that it forces the viewer to realize the ignorance of their own prejudices regarding female sexual expression.
A construction worker, the perennial harasser of women, happily tells Rose, “I respect that you enjoyed yourself last night. I think we can all agree having sex is fun.”
The mayor rushes up to Rose to give her a key to the town, commending Rose for “your confidence and the choices you make and your ability to celebrate your body.”
Dr. Ruth, another woman who dramatically changed Americans’ comfort with their sexuality, often quotes the Talmudic insight that a “lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained.”
Rose’s Funny or Die video is proof she masters this strategy—and she is adept at using other unconventional channels to challenge sexist or shaming beliefs.
Just a few weeks ago at the MTV Video Music Awards, Rose and her pal Blac Chyna made graffiti outfits out of the epithets hurled at them, like “slut,” “whore,” and “bitch.”
In wearing the ugly words, Rose used the red carpet to stand down “those who use them” and “shamed [them] right back in their faces,” as The Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman wrote.
A year earlier, Rose made waves on the VMA red carpet with her barely-there chain dress. While the ensemble was very different, its message had the same score of this year’s outfit: I can do what I want with my body, and you don’t have the right to stifle, shame, or hurt me because of it.
Rose is especially well-suited for her role as the anti-slut-shamer. Yeezus said he needed to take “30 showers” after being with her in order to date Kim Kardashian.
Then, her ex-husband Wiz Khalifa appeared to call her a “thot” (that ho out there) in his verse for the single “For Everybody.” That lovely sexual shaming came from the man who is the father of her child.
Which is not to say that Rose is an impeccable, flawless feminist saint. She hurled her fair share of mud back at the Kardashians, and called out Kim’s own sex tape history (though more to highlight West’s hypocrisy on sexual shaming).
Earlier this year, she posted on Instagram in support of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s Shiloh, referring to her as trans—even though the family has never stated her identification (the post has since been deleted).
But maybe we need more than an angel to challenge and re-shape the next generation’s views on feminism and sexuality. A fighter may be more apt—and if you can tangle with the Kardashians, and emerge victorious in a Funny or Die video, you’ve probably got enough punch in you.