Dear Amber Rose: don't insult feminists' intelligence with naked self-promotion

Amber Rose bore all over the weekend - and sparked predictable outrage

Amber Rose bore all over the weekend - and sparked predictable outrage

Monday, June 12, 2017

As a feminist, it was quite a surprise to see Amber Rose showing the world her lady garden as I scrolled through Twitter on Sunday morning.

A few hours later, to add to my sense of uncertainty, I found myself agreeing with Piers Morgan.

Rose had goaded the ‘haters’ by saying their criticism of her picture was nothing more than misogyny. Never one to shirk a Twitter war, Morgan responded:

Morgan rebuking someone else for seeking attention is a bit like Pamela Anderson lecturing us on the evils of cosmetic surgery. But he’s right. It's an insult to the intelligence of any feminist – whether male or female – to suggest ridiculing naked promotion is a form of misogyny.

Rose is a model and actress, whose career is focused on using her image and sexual confidence for commercial gain, with which I have no problem. Each to their own.

But Rose sharing an enhanced naked image, not once, but multiple times over the past few days, isn't an act of defiance. It's the most profitable way to make herself relevant in her 'art’.

By hitching herself to the feminist bandwagon, Rose is cheapening the value of a movement which has risked everything in pursuit of its aims, putting everything on the line - and not simply on display.

Just over a century ago Emily Davison, a member of the feminist vanguard who campaigned for women’s suffrage in the Edwardian era, threw herself in front of the King’s Horse in 1913. She died of her injuries, sacrificing herself for her cause.

Davison's act was crazy, but her story is instructive. She was focused on helping all women, rather than just herself. She was willing to risk her health and wellbeing, rather than her dignity (although had Twitter been around in Davison’s day, maybe she’d thrown her kit off and reached for her cameraphone instead – it is a lot easier, after all).

The point here isn’t to eulogise Emily Davison, or the act she committed. It’s simply to point out just how cheap, how hollow, Rose’s own ‘gesture of defiance’ is.

The aftermath of Emily Davison's collision with the King's Horse in 1913

If Rose wants to put it all out there for people to ogle on Twitter, that’s fine: but don’t claim it’s some kind of altruistic statement carried out in the name of female empowerment.

This, remember, is her work. This pays her bills. 

The concern now is how easy it can be for women, particularly those in the public eye, to disingenuously jump on the feminist bandwagon.

Rose has belittled a movement which committed individuals and groups have worked and continue to work tirelessly for – without getting their rose bush out – to support. The feminist movement is proudly and deliberately provocative, but this stance can easily blur into straightforward attention-seeking.

If Rose wants to #bringbackthebush, fine. But do we need to see it? No. Do we even need a hashtag on social media? No. There will be plenty of women walking around unkempt without the desire or need to share their confidence to millions online.

Women just don’t need to use their bodies for a feminist cause, as the musician Pink said in a powerful message, posted to Twitter, in celebration of International Women’s Day 2016:

‘Shout out to all of the women, across the world, using their brains, their strength, their work ethic, their talent, their 'magic' that they were born with, that only they possess. It may not ever bring you as much 'attention' or bank notes as using your body, your sex, your tits and asses, but women like you don't need that kind of 'attention.' In the quiet moments, you will feel something deeper than the fleeting excitement resulting from attention; you will feel something called pride and self-respect.’

Rose’s self-centred, staged image doesn't back the statement of her foundation ( of being dedicated to 'uplifting, empowering, and enhancing the platform of women across the globe.' It was an image centred on one thing: her ego.

If naked self-promotion really constitutes feminism, something, somewhere along the lines, has gone very wrong.

Charli Casey is a writer for talkSPORT and talkRADIO. Find her on Twitter @charlicasey.