Your Break Between Classes

Selling Sex All the Way to the Top


Apologies were nonexistent when Amber Rose wrote a blog concerning harsh criticism two weeks ago.

“You do something positive in this industry and you get scrutinized.  I really came to the conclusion that it’s not even about me, it’s the fact that I’m a woman.  If a man’s naked pics hit the internet people think it’s cute or funny… and if a girl does it she’s a disgusting whore and a ‘Star F****r,’” Rose wrote.

Amber Rose’s frustration seemed to be rooted in the criticism she’d received after dating celebrities.  She first broke into the limelight when she started dating rapper Kanye West three years ago.  Her blonde, close fade and voluptuous figure caught so much attention that she received multiple magazine covers and a reality TV show contract.  After dating media magnet, Kanye West, Amber Rose moved on to rapper Wiz Khalifa.

For the past three years, Amber Rose’s image has been marked with controversial, leaked naked photos and rumors surrounding her sexuality.  The comments about her under celebrity gossip blog posts are often harshly critical, and several recorded interviews read tense due to unusually forward questions and statements from reporters.

“So what have I done to everyone?” Rose asked.  “Is it because you think I am undeserving of this life because of my past?  Or is it pure hatred?  If I was a man and dated two female artists would that be okay?”

Rose’s blog post raises questions about images of women in entertainment.  A distinct connection lies between her sexuality and her fame, and some agree that much of the condemnation may come from a sexist society.

Dr. David Wilt, a professor of film studies at George Washington University in District of Columbia, believes there is a double standard concerning celebrities in Amber Rose’s position.

“If some famous actress is dating some guy you’ve never heard of before, and he happens to be a model, it tends to be a little less judgmental from the public,” said Wilt.  “There’s sort of a double standard.  A woman, even if she is an actress or a model, there is certainly talk about whether or not she’s using him to be famous.  There is suspicion that she has ulterior motives.”

Aspiring singer and season ten American Idol contestant, Mikala Jones, sees more than one contributing factor to Amber Rose’s reputation.

“In the entertainment industry, you’re going to be criticized no matter what you do,” said Jones.  “I think she’s judged more because she’s a woman, but also because she doesn’t have talent.”

Sandra Valninord, junior at Smith College, believes a lack of talent has more to do with Amber’s reputation than her gender.

“She started out as a stripper and got picked up by rapper and rode the wave,” said Valninord.  “There’s definitely some discrimination going on, but she’s deliberately playing it up.  She’s had completely naked pictures and other things she can’t really make a case for, then she got with a rapper.”

Naked picture leaks and lack of actual talent aren’t new when it comes to women in entertainment.  Kim Kardashian starred in a wildly successful reality TV show shortly after the leak of her sex tape with R&B singer Ray-J.  While she also receives harsh criticism, her reputation seems far more respected than that of Amber Rose.  Some say that class distinction can also play into images of women’s sexuality.

“Amber Rose did kind of come from nothing… Kim Kardashian comes from money, and she knows how to market herself better,” said Jones.

Jones believes that many women use sexuality to reach success in entertainment, and that if Amber Rose plays her cards right, she could also make a lasting career in based on her recent fame.  Valninord added that unlike Amber Rose, Kardashian has the appeal of a socialite.  This makes her marketable enough to have a clothing contract with Sears, perfume line, Sketchers endorsement deal and numerous other profitable ventures.

Actress Megan Fox also faced controversy after co-starring in the first two movies in the “Transformers” series.  Many challenged her character as being purely sexual, and there is even speculation that she had sexual relations with director Michael Bay before landing the role.  Wilt believes such allegations may be closer to reality.

“Megan Fox is beautiful,” said Wilt.  “But she is really not that good of an actress.  If someone rises above the position that they seem to be qualified for, like Megan Fox being a leading actress in a big-budget movie, people are going to think that whether it’s true or not.  It goes back to the double standard.”

Like Kardashian and Rose, much of Fox’s criticism comes from female celebrity bloggers and commentators.

“Women feel that you should be able to make it on your own merits, without having to be attractive, so I think there is some jealousy and moral condemnation,” said Wilt.  “I think there are also some people who don’t state it, but think that women who become ‘too sexual’… That it somehow demeans them and makes them not as valid a person.”

Jones said that she prefers “hard work” over sexual endeavors to reach success, but does not knock women who use sexual imagery to their advantage.

“I think if you stick to your morals, someone out there will hear your point,” she said.  “But if it doesn’t phase you, and you do stuff like that to get where you want, more power to you, because it’s not going to get any easier for us.”


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