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When Celebs Like Amber Rose Post Nearly Nudes of Themselves on the Web, At What Point Does Sexual Empowerment Become Self Exploitation?

Amber Rose bikini photos Kim Kardashian attempted to “break the Internet” with her nude photos for Paper Magazine, but many would argue that Amber Rose came much closer to this bizarre viral “accomplishment” with her latest string of nearly nude bikini photos.

As the new mother and curvaceous beauty posts picture after picture of herself in bikinis that hardly meet the requirements to even be called bathing suits, many have been stroking their chins, digging deep in thought and think piecing away to launch a serious debate: Is the famous celebrity ex embracing her sexuality through an act of empowerment, or has she crossed the line into sexually exploiting herself—thus feeding into the negative stereotypes that already exist about women in media?

It’s certainly not a new discussion.

When Beyonce donned some revealing ensembles of her own during the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, she took a stance that these outfits were a part of her own brand of feminism. The international singing sensation released an entire album with sexual imagery and explicit lyrics that some felt pushed the boundaries of what could truly be considered an act of feminism.

But if that’s the case, where do young women draw the line?

According to Aurelia Belfield, one of the women behind the Black Girls Talking podcast, it’s all about the personal intentions of the women involved.

Belfield made it clear that she had no problem with Rose’s risqué images because she certainly seemed to be in charge of the photos.

Belfield argues that it’s that sense of control that can truly serve to be a defining factor in many cases.

“I think it’s definitely a lot more complicated than a lot of think pieces out there are trying to make it,” Belfield told Atlanta Blackstar. “I think you see people like Amber Rose and other adult women like Beyonce or Nicki Minaj or whoever out there sort of making it known that they are taking charge of their sexuality and they’re presenting themselves and their sexuality in a very specific way that shows that they have agency in the situation. “

Even then Belfield says having control of the situation isn’t the only thing to consider.

She said the women’s motives behind taking the photos are just as important as their control over the images.

It’s the question of whether these women are taking the pictures simply because they want to or is it an attempt to garner attention from the opposite sex or “any person outside of themselves.”

“You have to look at each situation individually,” Belfield said. “I think a lot of young girls…that are out there taking these salacious photos on Instagram, you have to look at each of their situations. Are they doing it to get attention from boys or girls or whoever? Are they viewing it as a form of self-celebration or are they viewing it as a form of self-harm that may be stemming from some kind of trauma, be it physical or mental.”

Not everybody agrees that the sexual images are empowering, however.

In fact, one female college student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln considers the hypersexualization of women, whether by men or by women themselves, to be a huge contradiction and a hindrance to the feminist mission.

Tegan Colton referred to a study led by psychologist Susan Fiske of Princeton that found that when men viewed images of women’s sexualized bodies, they viewed the women as objects rather than as people, regardless of the women’s agency over the photos.

Researchers said there were no indications that men considered any person’s intentions or conscious decisions when portraying themselves in a sexualized manner.

For that reason, she found the idea of “empowering” women through salacious photos to be a major contradiction.

“There’s little to no evidence supporting the notion that women choosing to hyper-sexualize themselves is liberating or even different from present cultural attitudes,” Colton wrote in the Daily Nebraska. “In fact, it’s far better argued that it only further tightens the age-old sexist chains that have ruled our gender relations for centuries. If women were considered to be mere extensions of their sexuality for centuries, gaining ‘empowerment’ from objectifying themselves is like returning to prison after captivity and calling it ‘freedom.’”

Hypersexualization of women in media She added that having the “right” to strip down and make hypersexualized videos or post nearly nude images is not the real goal when it comes to liberating women.

“Women will be liberated when they’re free to be powerful without being objectified at all,” she added.

As the discussion rages on, Belfield says we also have to be cautious about how we discuss women’s decisions to push the boundaries with their sexuality in the media.

She said there is an entire mental process behind these images and that this new wave of feminism can’t be discussed like a “fashion trend.”

“A lot of people fail to see the nuance in the situation,” she explained. “So instead of treating it like a fashion trend, like it’s this large wave that everybody’s doing, start looking at these people—if there is somebody specific that you’re concerned about, ask them about it. Treat them like the adult that they want to be treated as.”

Without having that conversation with these women, Belfield says, it will be nearly impossible to truly understand their thought process and really decode the messages they are hoping to send through their own risqué photos.

 

What people are saying

15 thoughts on “When Celebs Like Amber Rose Post Nearly Nudes of Themselves on the Web, At What Point Does Sexual Empowerment Become Self Exploitation?

  1. Hank Wilson says:

    Emotional weakness seeking its last straw of revelance…

  2. Hank Wilson says:

    Move it along people…same old same old stuff, attention seeking nudists!!

  3. These women are doing it wrong. If they want to pose like this for photos, they should do it for a magazine and get paid big bucks for it. Don't post yourself all over the internet for free.

  4. These images are not empowering at all. If anything, they show a lack of power. A lack of confidence. Being empowered means that you do NOT have to present yourself in such a way to prove yourself.

  5. I was always told that women should leave something to the imagination. Although I do not agree with all of the bare bodies, I believe in the rights of individuals to love who they want to love, worship who they want to worship, and that women should be have the right to be in charge of their own bodies. I believe that people who don't believe as I do, have the right to say so, but not the right to interfere with my rights (or the rights of others). So if you are of age, and you understand the consequences of your actions, go for it.

  6. Hank Wilson says:

    Will you make up your mind please! You're for it or aganist it, which one is it? Here in America looking up, looking down, and looking left or right you can't avoid this crap. How in the hell can we not have a "right to interfere" when people are publicly pushing their trash into your yard 24/7.

  7. My comment needs no further explanation, I was very clear. Take the angry out of your life. Obviously, you clicked on the link, you didn't have to! If you don't like it, don't look at it, that's how you don't interfere.

  8. Hank Wilson says:

    It's obvious that you like splitting hairs, no problem, however one must sooner rather than later stand firm on one side; that's life and good luck.

  9. Not the perfect body, I see cellulite. She is seeking attention, how old is she now?

  10. Thank you Hank. I do stand firm on what I do not like and what I would not do and what I "advise" my children are the right (in my opinion) and wrong things to do. However, I do not tell other people what they should do, because it is my opinion, but not my business. That you do not agree with me is great, that is why I live in America. And I agree that you have a right to stand firm on ONE SIDE, I stand on one side when it comes to things that I believe in and I will not do. And the other side, that even if I disagree with it, others have the right to their beliefs. Obey the law, live your life, don't hurt anyone, kill, steal, rob, bear false witness, set fires, then we are good.

  11. Hank Wilson says:

    My dear Geneva M. Neblett-Shelton, you know, you're being disingenuous. It's obvious that we're communicating with each other as two higher conscious beings, therefore it's inescapable for us to avoid telling one another what not to do or inadvertently intruding into another person's perceived personal comfort areas. You're very interesting person, because your words want to project singularity in fairness, yet that is impossible-due to the human paradox, which from it origins originated within the schemes of probabilities. Getting directly to the point, that's what we do.

  12. Thank you again Hank. I truly appreciate your comments, but I am a complicated women who finds a way to express my disapproval without telling other people that they should do it my way or take the highway. Here is where we agree, it is inescapable for us to avoid telling one another that we disapprove of their behavior. Where we disagree is that we should not intrude into anyone's personal life. I might disapprove of my neighbor living with their lover outside of marriage, but would I go next door and tell them they need to move? No, and that is what I'm talking about.

  13. Sex, drugs and violence is what this country lives for. No you don't have to be naked to show your real beauty, Black women you have a natural beauty, you are leaders in fashion, style, intelligence and natural beauty , every women envy you, every race wanted to be you or look like you just look around. This is the time for you to take what is yours. You are the only race of women that come in every color and can change it whenever you want. Hey, every man in every race want YOU but you must make them respect you cause damit.
    I love you no matter how you present yourself cause I RESPECT YOU.

  14. Trina Perry says:

    It's HER body. If you don't want to look at ALL versions of "beauty", then don't look. But to judge this woman for using her body to advance herself is ridiculous. Her image IS her business. The free market will allow for one more beautiful, sexy woman to grace the covers of all types of devices, I'm sure.

  15. "but to judge this woman for using her body to advance herself is ridiculous," she is ridiculous no one have to make that assertion for that to be correct and besides, any woman using their body as a commodity for gains is a WHORE. shame is lost , so the sky's the limits in immortality. bring back SHAME and put the devil that's ruining society where he belongs. since when does art assimilate to pornography? let's call a duck a duck, a dog a dog, and a WHORE A WHORE. this isn't woman or representation of woman, this is degradation of real women. time to save the human race from this cult of ignorance STARDOM. MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US.

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