Paper Magazine

Paper Magazine

In their second “Break the Internet” issue, Paper Magazine tapped spokesmodel Amber Rose for an editorial spread that offers homage to feminist icons, like Gloria Steinem and Rosie the Riveter. In the photos, Rose is recreating famed poses that are often revisited in March, during Women’s History Month.

Paper Magazine/Facebook

Paper Magazine/Facebook

Yet, in this spread, Black Feminists are excluded. Rose poses as Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, but that’s a byproduct of Pitman-Hughes being in a photo with Steinem. There’s no Angela Davis or Sojourner Truth or bell hooks or Alice Walker or Harriet Tubman or Ida B. Wells.

For Rose’s feminist commitments as well as what feminism represents, this is an act of unacceptable erasure.

Rose emerged as a vocal feminist after she split from her ex-husband, Wiz Khalifa, and was bombarded with sexist comments on Instagram.

“I would look on [Wiz’s] Instagram and he would have pictures of all these women all over him… and then I would post a picture of me and my son. And people would be like, ‘Does your son know that his mother’s a whore?’” Rose said in her interview with Paper Magazine.

“People are like, ‘Wiz is out fucking mad bad bitches and you’re at home crying over him because he’s the best thing that fucking ever happened to you and now you’re just a fat, bald-headed single mother and no one will ever love you.’ So yeah, I guess months of seeing shit like that, I was just like, ‘I can’t live like this. There’s something wrong.’”

After experiencing intense slut shaming, Rose decided to organize a slut walk, write How to be a Bad Bitch, and promote the reclaiming of pleasure as a feminist commitment.

Rose’s feminism forefronts bold sexual expression, but she is also concerned with how racism is reproduced in feminist movements.

“That would be the main thing for me… really just try to take the racism out of feminism for our generation,” Rose said.

Rose’s goal is a commendable one. Feminism must consider how race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability impact women. Someone should’ve passed that memo on to Paper Magazine.

When white women are considered the sole feminist icons worthy of recognition, it tells Black Feminists that their contributions and commitments aren’t as important.

Professor Anthea Butler sums this up well at RH Reality Check when she writes, “Women of color have never had the luxury of simply focusing on women’s issues. Considerations of race, racism, and economic and social injustices have always intertwined with issues of patriarchy and sexism. Women of color who also hold feminist beliefs are also acutely aware of how their communities, broadly defined, are affected by outside forces.”

By excluding Black Feminists from simple magazine spreads, Paper is upholding white feminism at the expense of the marginalized. And that is unacceptable.

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  • We don’t need celebrities to validate our existence. We have the power. We have the power to teach the youth especially about the great legacy of black feminists and black womanists from Bell Hooks to Rosa Parks including other Sisters who are standing up for what is right. Amber Rose has contradictions in the sense that she shouldn’t be mistreated, but she glamorizes the same misogynistic slur that is so commonly used in our society. Therefore, Amber Rose is not representative of every black woman. Amber Rose is not a black woman. She is a multi ethnic woman. Her father is white. His mother is Scottish and Cape Vardean. I don’t believe in whitewashing the accomplishments of black women scholars. Oppression is heavily intersectional. For example, a poor black person suffers classism, racism, and discrimination. Black women have experienced racism, sexism, and other injustices too. In order for solutions to come, we have to study the past and the present. We have to sacrifice and stand up for our human rights.

  • livluvlaff

    Amber Rose has had enough black men (and some black women)
    validate her that she does not have to pretend to be black or for any black
    cause. So I am not surprised that she did not choose one black female to
    reference for her feminist agenda. With her fat injections in the right areas, twerking, and her blaccent…poof!…there you have the semblance of a black woman but no black woman so no need to acknowledge that black women are beautiful, talented or desirable. Basically, what America has always been about. Betty Boop is a prime example of stolen black features and talent but no black credit. While some Cape Verdeans do claim black, Amber Rose is definitely not one of them nor does her family. Her family thought she was too good for Wiz and did not attend the wedding. Since when is a stripper too good for a millionaire? Only when the latter is black.

    Not interested in her Slut Walk, book, feminist agenda, who she has a child with or currently dating (most of these things I learned from this site). I didn’t comment on the last article about her because I was hoping she would go away.

    • vintage3000

      A few years ago she tried to imitate one of Grace Jones’ most iconic photos. Her entire existence is derivative, and as you noted with all the right accessories she has the Black Girl Image as her calling card. And ITA with you, certain black people need to stop claiming every female just because they have a certain physique, or shares bodily fluids with black males. And as for Amber’s family, her motjer is trash also. What kind of woman proudly walks with her daughter’s ho parade, while carrying a sign with profanity? But these mutts are superior to Black people, ok.

  • Mary Burrell

    She is not the brightest bulb in the chandelier so I can’t get too worked up over her and her antics.

  • Sher


    ALL of this!!!

    I never thought I’d see the day that Clutch was begging the likes of Amber Rose to represent us…I mean, is this a joke? You all CANNOT be serious! smfh