“Good morning…say, it looks to me like you had sex last night?”
“Looks like you’re living your best life!”.
This is an excerpt from a video that has gone viral recently featuring entertainer Amber Rose. Titled “Walk of No Shame”, the sketch shows Rose leaving a man’s house after the ‘morning after’, and the positive response from people she meets on her way home. Dressed in a form fitting, cleavage enhancing dress, she skips merrily along unashamed of the fact that she has had sex with a man who we find later on in the video, she has no intention of contacting again (he runs after her stating that she forgot to leave her humber, she coolly replies that she didn’t forget).
Comments on the video ranged from the predictable (She just a nasty slut…that’s why Kanye don’t wantchu Ambeeerr!) to the very predictable (omg this is so empowering, like, I totally am like, HERE for this intersectional discourse of post feminist non-body shaming ambulatory experience.. go Amber!).
My feelings on the video are mixed. I agree with the basic sentiment of the video that some of the comments seemed to not understand – women should not be shamed for sexual behaviour that men are either applauded or at least not chastised for.
I don’t think anyone sensible can disagree with this. If something is morally reprehensible, then it is not more morally reprehensible because the person engaging in the behaviour has to buy sanitary products once a month. My ability or non ability to menstruate cannot be the determinant of whether sleeping with 10 people on 10 consecutive days is a-ok, and unfortunately the comments on this video demonstrated that many still think this way. If we replace Amber Rose with a man, would we have comments stating that “this culture has become degenerate“? Or “I can’t believe he is a father“? Or “this is why my dream of marrying a good man in this generation is just a dream“?
The modern pop-feminist response to counteract this all too common response is more Slutwalks, more viral videos, and more articles about how women should feel ’empowered’ enough in their sexuality to satisfy their sexual desires in a similar way to men with no shame.
I question, however, the desire for ‘promiscuity equality’.
Let’s switch focus from gender to race. When I speak of white supremacy, the way it functions in society and the impact it has on me and people who look like me, the equality that I desire is not a desire to model white supremacy and replace white people with black people in that hierarchy. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that the way European/white culture has been formed in recent history (the past 500 years or so) in relation to race is destructive, ugly and not to be emulated. The goal is not to replace our oppression with the oppression of white people or to perpetuate and maintain the same structures they have created.
In a similar way, perhaps the way male sexuality has been formed is destructive also? Perhaps, the idea of having sexual intercourse and leaving the morning after with no desire to build any type of emotional commitment with that person, is not something that as women we want to emulate or something that is even natural? Male sexuality as dictated by macho culture has so long being at the forefront of what is seen as ‘ideal’, that I question whether in our quest for equality, some of us have sought to deny the emotions that are natural to us not only as women, but as humans.
How many men are hurt by the idea that they SHOULD be able to have one night stands and not feel a strong bond to the person they sleep with? How many teenage boys feel pressured in a pornography saturated, hyper-sexualised culture, to numb the softness that makes them able to feel deeply connected to the teenage girls they mess around with?
There are jokes between men about how sleeping with a virgin will lead to her being permanently emotionally attached to you, a leech in a dress. This ‘feminine’ tendency is mocked by some men – meanwhile the ‘masculine’ ability to attach and detach at random is something pop-feminism appears to be aspiring to.
I happen to believe that we are made to form deep commitments to the people we choose to engage sexually with , but that our modern culture militates against our natural instinct, leaving many of us confused and with a sense of discomfort about our sexual choices. ( Although I also acknowledge though, that there are men and women who have casual sex and don’t feel any negative emotions at all). Regardless of my opinion, our sexual choices should not be ridiculed based on our gender although as with any choice, both genders may have their sexual behaviour subject to moral scrutiny.
It is the right of every woman to sleep with a man and not be judged any differently from the man she slept with. It is the right of a teenage mother to be chastised no less for her choice than the teenager who fathered her child. It is the right of Amber Rose to walk with her head held high after a night of casual sex if the man in question can be applauded for the same behaviour.
But while both men and women deserve that right, we must ask ourselves what the cost of exercising it is.