Sexual Consent & Rape Culture: No Still Means No

amber rose showing sexual consent means no

Recently, Amber Rose had a conversation with singer Tyrese and reality TV star Rev Run on their OWN talk show, It’s Not You, It’s Men. The notion of the show is to present two male perspectives on issues, being that Tyrese is a single father and Rev Run has 20 years of marriage under his belt.

During the most recent episode entitled “Modern Romance,” Amber visited the show to give her take on what it means to have romance in today’s modern world. Everything goes great until Tyrese pretty much tells her that women who dress like sluts, deserve to be treated like sluts.

“Like, if you see a basketball player and he’s known as a basketball player, you’ll be like, ‘yo, let’s go play ball!’ I’m just saying, the comfortability that people find in wanting to touch and grope you… it’s an energy that’s being sent out there that creates that type of response.”

Amber was not here for what he had to say, and she explains (or tries to) how it’s not the same.

“That’s not the same thing, Tyrese. Y’all know that… If I’m laying down with a man — butt-naked — and his condom is on, and I say, ‘You know what? No. I don’t want to do this. I changed my mind,’ that means no. That means f-ing no. That’s it… It doesn’t matter how far I take it or what I have on, when I say no, it means no.”

Now, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I have been torn on this issue in the past. Not on whether or not “no means no.” Regardless of the “message”, a man says he received from a female; regardless how far their sexual interaction goes, the moment “no” is uttered it’s a wrap (or should be). My discrepancies more so lied in whether or not a woman should take into consideration the way in which she dresses and how a man will perceive her.

I struggled with this because growing up in a very conservative religious environment; I was taught that what women wear affects the male psyche in a sexual way. Therefore, it is a woman’s responsibility to ensure that she dresses in a manner that doesn’t warrant any confusion about her intentions. So ultimately, you dress the way you want to be addressed.

Which is what Rev Run says to Amber on the show, prompting her to “boo” him. My opinion on the issue is this; if you dress sexy or raunchy or whatever you want to call it, that is your damn right. In an ideal world, a woman in a skintight dress would not have to worry about aggressive sexual advances or predetermined notions based on what she is wearing. But we are far from an ideal world. With that, my dressing sexily never, ever gives a man the right to do as he pleases with or to me. But it does mean that I have to be prepared to back a muther f*^@er down when he tries me, because you know they are going to try ladies. Which leads me to the issue of rape culture.

When a man argues his right to approach you in a manner suggesting sexual favors/activities or if he forces you to fulfill the desires he’s conjured up in his mind about you, his thinking is the product of the rape culture that exists in our society. Rape culture says, “I asked for it” because I showed too much cleavage. It says, “My reputation gives a man the right to violate me” when he sees me alone. The really f*#@ed up thing about rape culture is that it normalizes violence against women and makes it the butt of jokes.

Actually, it makes it a “cool” part of pop culture, which lessens the sting of how violent rape and sexual assault truly are. The very fact that these two well-respected men in the black community can argue with a known ex-stripper that the way she dresses gives off an energy that tells men, “come and get it” is because that’s how they view her- a hoe dressed as such ready to be pounced upon.

In reality, men (and even some females) don’t respect women like Amber Rose. Since she used to dance on a pole for money, now, she is not worthy of respect because once a hoe always a hoe. Look, do I think that a person should be able to sleep with whomever they want? Yes. Do I believe that doing so runs the risk of him or her being labeled a hoe? Absolutely. But the label of hoe, whore, THOT or slut does not necessitate unwanted advances or sexual violence. A “hoe” is still a human being. Period.

Amber Rose is a brave woman. In fact, she has found power in embracing the labels people have placed on her turning them into a movement that has helped a lot of women find their voice.

Rape culture is a dangerous philosophy that demoralizes woman and rewards men. It has to be done away with.