If you weren’t online at just the right time this past weekend, you probably missed a fire photo Amber Rose posted on her Instagram. On Friday night, the queen of racy Instagram photos posted quite possibly the raciest picture she’s posted so far: a bottomless shot of her looking glamorous, fur coat draped over her shoulders, sparkly choker around her neck, oiled up skin looking luminous, full bush exposed. Yes, you read that right: Amber wasn’t wearing any pants or underpants, and the shot was all vag and pubes.
The photo didn’t just exist to show off how gorgeous her skin is (I need her secrets) or how perfectly groomed her pubic hair is (extremely impressive!). She posted it to promote the third annual SlutWalk, which is a march that she has organized to protest rape culture, victim blaming, sexual assault, and of course, slut shaming. Unfortunately, the photo only lived on her profile for a few hours before Instagram took it down. If you missed it, I’m sure you’ve seen it elsewhere – not only were millions of screenshots snapped, but Amber also ended up posting it to Twitter. You can check it out below, but note that it’s slightly NSFW:
It’s not at all surprising that the picture was removed from Instagram. For one thing, this isn’t the first time this has happened to Amber, a high-profile celebrity who isn’t afraid to show off her body in the name of feminism and empowerment. For another, it was in violation of Instagram’s guidelines, which warn against posting pictures that reveal your genitals. Still, it’s frustrating. Posted with the hashtag #bringbackthebush, this picture wasn’t just taken for Amber to show off her body – it had an important message. One part of that message was to break down the whole “you need to shave your pubes if you’re a girl” message that society still encourages, and the other part was to show that women own their bodies, meaning that women can do what they want with those bodies.
This is where the age old debate begins: is posting a half-naked photo of yourself empowering or is just about getting attention? This is an argument that we’ve had, collectively, multiple times before. We had it when Kim Kardashian West posted a topless photo of herself that garnered tons of negative attention, and we had it when Emily Ratajkowski posted a revealing photo and then clapped back at Piers Morgan for his comments about it. These ladies defended their right to post half-naked photos online by stating that it’s their body, and they can do whatever they want with it – so if they want to show it off on the internet, they can, and they should be able to without the inevitable slut-shaming.
On the other side of the argument is people like Piers Morgan, who think that posting half-naked photos is merely a way for these stars to get press and attention. They think that stars (or anyone, really) post revealing pictures just for the comments, the blog posts, and the entertainment news segments about them. They use these incidents to defend the objectification of women, saying that if women can post their own revealing photos, then they can’t get mad when the media and Hollywood sells sex heavily. It’s a heated debate, and to be honest? It sucks.
This brings us to the latest issue at hand with Amber’s photo: Piers Morgan, of course, felt the need to make a comment (isn’t it interesting that he’s always available for comments the moment a mostly nude shot appears online? Is he just sitting around, waiting for them to be posted?). After the photo was posted, Piers tweeted, “Put it away, luv. Thanks.” To which Amber responded, “I’ll take Things Misogynistic Assholes Say for 500, Alex.”
Piers responded, “It’s not ‘misogyny’ to think that posting nude photos in the supposed name of feminist empowerment is pathetic attention-seeking bulls**t.” Amber countered with a tweet that reminded him she wasn’t fully nude, and insinuated that he was just uncomfortable about the sight of her pubic hair. Then Piers said this: “I can handle your naked body, Amber – relax. I just can’t handle your ridiculous claim to be stripping off in the name of feminism.”
Ugh. The tweet war went on for a while, and one especially great moment was when Amber tweeted a naked photo of Adam Levine to him, asking if that was attention-seeking… and Piers, of course, said it was not, because Adam was promoting awareness of prostate and testicular cancer. So, let me get this straight: it’s okay for a man to post a nearly naked photo of himself to promote awareness of a men’s issue, but it is not okay for a woman to post a similar photo of herself to promote awareness of a woman’s issue? Okay.
This whole argument is honestly exhausting. It comes down to this: if Amber wants to post a photo of her pubes, she can. It doesn’t really matter why she’s posting it – whether it’s for feminism or for attention – it’s her body, and if she wants to put it out there, she can. Yes, it was a little more revealing than what many are used to, but let’s be real: we see nearly naked women all the time. It’s just that they usually don’t have a full bush, and for some reason, that seems less racy. Also, if you don’t want to see it, you don’t need to follow Amber on social media, or open any article about it.
So, is posting half-naked photos empowering? I think it can be for a lot of people, especially when it shows off something that women are usually meant to be ashamed of – in this case, pubic hair. Hollywood and the media have objectified women’s bodies for so long that many women feel they are taking back control by posting their own revealing photos. Why do people take that form of empowerment and turn it into something different? We are fine with seeing the female body half naked in certain forms and ways, but the second it doesn’t fit that description, or the second a woman is actually in full ownership of the photo, it becomes offensive and attention-seeking. It’s ridiculous.
A nude or nearly nude photo doesn’t have to feel empowering for every woman, and you have a right to choose not to look at them. But this is a legitimate form of feminism for many women out there, and while you don’t have to agree, it’s not a good look to turn around and tear down the woman for doing it. Let’s stop with the judgments and the thinly veiled sexism in the name of pushing “real” feminism, okay?
What do you think about this photo? Do you think half-naked pictures are just for attention or are they feminist? Tell us in the comments.