Being a woman in this country comes with all sorts of misogynistic labels. Nearly every single woman in the world can tell stories of being demeaned and degraded with words and actions. There are words and actions that make us walk faster to our cars, and make us blame ourselves for abuse we didn't ask for—but for those of us who are sick of it, some of those words make us stand up and fight, despite threats and fear.
Two women on the receiving end of that type of abuse on a worldwide level are Hillary Clinton and Amber Rose. You wouldn't think to put those two in the same category, but really we're all in the same category—senators, strippers, journalists, stay-at-home moms, presidential candidates and every woman in between. Mix in race and class and you get various levels of inequity.
During this election cycle we've all been subjected to an onslaught of words blaring loudly from the pasty gob of the Republican presidential candidate, who stands in front of the world stage expounding abject racism and misogyny. He makes women relive the traumas we've endured at the hands of countless Donald Trumps in our lives.
When the Trump Access Hollywood tapes leaked, where he proudly bragged about grabbing women by the pussy and kissing them without consent, it wasn't just disgusting, it was all too familiar.
We're all collectors of traumas at the hands of men who see us as objects they can take or push around. We carry them around in a display case deep inside us, working hard to dismantle it entirely and destroy everything inside it, even if we know the remnants will always be there warning us to be protective.
As women stand on the cusp of history, with a female presidential candidate poised to break the glass ceiling, we are subject to attacks on women everywhere. The shrapnel of Trump's words and actions land on us all. They are extremely dangerous. His words have empowered those who wish to harm and control us.
For an immensely qualified, experienced and intelligent individual to have to debate against a glorified toddler is an insult. Hillary is all of us who have been interrupted by mediocre white men, called whores and belittled for our weight or looks, or who weren't satisfied with being just the wife or girlfriend.
Hillary is not unlike Amber Rose, a former stripper, model, video vixen, ex-girlfriend to Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa and now the head of a sizable empire. Amber used her work ethic, business savvy and, yes, her exceptionally voluptuous body to catapult herself into a success outside the shadow of a famous rapper.
And just like Hillary, she has been dragged mercilessly. When I think of the decades of misogyny and degradation Hillary and Amber have faced on the way to their successes, well, I can't even begin to quantify it. Inside the White House or the MTV Beach House, women aren't safe. But they will also fight back and will own that goddamn house. Trust.
And this is why I joined Amber, the self-proclaimed bald-headed scallywag, certified slut and feminist, at the Amber Rose SlutWalk, a march and festival that happens every year in Los Angeles.
The SlutWalk aims to give women and their allies the chance to reclaim that label and raise awareness on sexual injustice and gender inequality. It's a place where we're encouraged to wear whatever we want, or whatever we don't want, in a safe, supportive environment. It's about taking power in the bond created among fellow degraded women.
At this event, the sluts clapped back. I'm a slut and a nasty woman, and proud. If one of us is a slut, then we're all sluts. If one of us is a nasty woman, count us all nasty women. Because by the metrics those labels are made, none of us are safe.
That morning I put on my high-waisted, butt-cheek-grazing shorts and suede booties and got ready to strut. A thick crowd of women, men, gender queer and trans people of varied races and ethnicities marched through downtown L.A. holding up signs: "Stop shaming." "El machismo mata." "My pussy, my choice." "Don't tell me to cover up."
At the head of our crew marched Amber Rose, dressed to kill in a black lace catsuit holding up a sign that read, "Fuck fame. Start movements."
I stomped hard on the pavement next to my fellow sluts, feeling the hot sun beating on my shoulders. Fists were raised and cleavage was poppin'. At the festival, I found a booth selling crop top t-shirts with the words "pussy power" written all over the chest. I took off my shirt and put it on right then and there.
We are at an important moment in history, ladies. I wasn't alive for the suffragette movement or the rise of the '70s feminist movement, but I'm alive now and I see so many of us coming together to take back our bodies and the words and actions that aim to oppress us.
We fight with our own words, our writing, our marching and our refusal to be pitted against one another. We must create the space to give those of us who are underrepresented the opportunity to speak up and fight, too. It's not just Trump we have to stand up to on Nov. 8. It's all those he represents, every day.