Amber Rose and Blac Chyna confronted their critics in a big way at the VMAs using their dresses.

"I decided to wear every derogatory word you can possibly call a woman because people call us that all the time."

Ever been insulted, made fun of, or verbally attacked by someone? I'm gonna take a wild guess and say yes. Now imagine tens of thousands of people doing that to you on a daily basis. Would you be brave enough to have a response like this?

Big Thank u to @thesepinklips and @brittanydeshields for making our Fits for the #VMAs #YoungTalent đź’‹
A photo posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

The MTV Video Music Awards featured feuds, boobs, and everything in between. But before the show even started, two celebrities made a serious statement against slut shaming that a lot of people seem to have missed.


Amber Rose and Blac Chyna decided to strut the carpet wearing clothing covered with hateful terms that are used against women.

Call me crazy, but I think women are more than the clothes they wear, so I personally hate how people fixate on what female celebrities wear on the red carpet. But this is a rare occasion when "What are you wearing?" is an important and necessary question.

Why? Because they're words that Amber Rose and Blac Chyna — along with countless other women around the world — face every day. It's called slut shaming, and they decided to do something about it.

"I decided to wear every derogatory word you can possibly call a woman because people call us that all the time," Amber Rose explained.

In case you haven't come across the term, "slut shaming" is the practice of criticizing a woman for engaging in certain sexual behaviors whether it be actual or presumed based on her manner of dress, speech, or personality — and it's bad.

Slut shaming is crazy-making. Think about it:

There isn't one, young Abigail Breslin.

And that's part of the problem! Women can't express themselves sexually without being scrutinized. There's a clear double standard when Nick Jonas can grind up on multiple women on stage at the VMAs and be praised while Miley Cyrus is attacked for wearing pasties over her breasts. (Um, seriously — what is folks' problem with the female breast?)

Participating in slut shaming or even just allowing it to go on around you sends the message that girls and women who dress a certain way or have sex are sluts. And words have serious power. Slut shaming promotes rape culture.

The next time you hear someone use the word "slut," think about this:

Roughly 300,000 people are raped or sexually assaulted every single year in this country alone.

Rape culture — a society in which rape is widespread because of views on sexuality and gender — is bred from slurs like those that Amber Rose and Blac Chyna wore on their outfits. It's bred from a culture in which we think it's OK to shame and police women. A culture where we blame the victim of sexual violence or harassment because "she was asking for it."

So what do we do about it?

We don't all get to walk the red carpet, but that doesn't mean that we can't take a stand against slut shaming. Here are a few tips:

  1. Think before you speak. Don't contribute to the problem. Make sure you're doing your part to ensure that you aren't shaming others. Ask yourself, “Am I saying something that Amber Rose would put on her next red-carpet outfit?"
  2. Educate yourself. Educate yourself and others about victim-blaming and rape culture. We all have the responsibility to be informed so that we can make the best choices and encourage others to as well.
  3. Shut that ish down. If you see someone shaming others, call them out on it. Ignorance is just a lack of knowledge, so go educate some folks.

Let's start a conversation that really matters. Let's end slut shaming.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

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Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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