Amber Rose Just Nailed Our Society's Hypocrisy Toward Strippers

October 21st 2015

Laura Donovan

Model Amber Rose, who recently hosted SlutWalk LA to combat sexism against women, is challenging GQ for labeling her "Wiz Khalifa's baby mama," among other things, in a recent story.

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Rose took to Instagram on Tuesday to condemn the publication's introduction to its piece about her. The subhead includes some passive aggressive swipes at Rose, calling her "Kanye's infamous ex" and a "teen stripper turned megalomaniac." Rose made it clear on her Instagram page that she did not appreciate these characterizations, particularly the one labeling her a "baby mama," which is frequently used to describe women of color who have children outside of marriage.


A photo posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

Rose, who had a child with ex-husband Wiz Khalifa prior to tying the knot, said that she felt the magazine diminished her feminist work with the SlutWalk and beyond by reducing her to labels like "baby mama" and "teen stripper":

"I'm so much more [than] Kanye's Ex or Wiz's baby's mama. Damn, why the fuck did u guys reach out to me for this article and photoshoot? To dumb me down? I talked about feminism and my Slutwalk... Wtf nice title smh I expected so much more from u guys and I'm so disappointed. I was so excited to be featured in GQ not realizing I was shooting for a tabloid. My slutwalk was for ignorant shit like this. Oh "Her beautiful dark twisted journey to the top"? Nice pun. Negative af. Thx for nothing."

Rose, who started stripping as a teenager to make money, also shared a photo of former stripper Channing Tatum to highlight the difference between the way we view male strippers and female ones. While Tatum was rewarded for his background as a stripper with the "Magic Mike" franchise, Rose was instead mocked by many, including ex-husband Khalifa:


A photo posted by Amber Rose (@amberrose) on

"Channing Tatum #LegendaryTeenStrippers," she wrote. "The Double Standards are real tho."

Media's use of the phrase "baby mama."

"Baby mama" is an oftentimes racially charged description that's not usually applied to white celebrities who have kids outside of marriage. And this is not the first time the media has used it to describe a powerful Black woman. During the 2008 presidential election, Fox News was criticized for referring to Michelle Obama as the "baby mama" of Barack Obama in a graphic shown on TV.

It's impolite to call anyone a "baby mama," but it's particularly unfair to direct this term at the Obamas because they did not start having children until they were married for several years. That's why many felt the insinuation was discriminatory towards the Obamas.

Fox News Michelle Obama "baby mama" graphic

At the time, Joan Walsh ripped Fox News apart for treating the future first lady in such a way.

"Where do you even start when criticizing Fox’s slur?" Walsh wrote. "Do you try to explain that 'baby mama' is slang for the unmarried mother of a man's child, and not his wife, or even a girlfriend? Are they racist, or just clueless? Isn't there racism even in their cluelessness, if somebody didn't know what 'baby mama' means, but used it anyway? Even at Fox, won't somebody have to apologize?"

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While Outside the Beltway writer James Joyner called Walsh's reaction "apoplectic," blogger Oliver Willis agreed the graphic was offensive and said Fox may as well have called Michelle Obama a racial slur, among other things:

"So here’s the thing (because during this campaign I’m apparently learning that we black people have our own secret code and hand signals so this stuff has to be explained like you are speaking to a child at times), using the phrase 'baby mama' to describe this woman implies that like too many people in the black community, she is a mother on her own with no man around doing his job. Except, Barack and Michelle Obama are the exact opposite of this, and that is one of the reason America – especially black America – are so proud of them."

Sci-fi writer John Scalzi had a similar take on the racial implications of this term:

"Calling Michelle Obama a 'baby mama' isn’t just Fox News having a happy casual larf; it’s using urban slang to a) remind you the Obamas are black, b) belittle a woman of considerable personal accomplishment, and c) frame Barack Obama’s relationship to his wife and children in a way that insults him, minimizes his love for and commitment to his family, and reinforces stereotypes about black men."

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