Amber Rose Is More Than Kanye's Ex
As evidenced by her recent Slut Walk, Amber Rose is more than willing to speak out when it comes to the words used to describe herself and other women. In the intro to a recent interview, GQ described Amber Rose as "Kanye's infamous ex" and "Wiz Khalifa's baby mama." Soon after, the model criticized the men's fashion magazine for what she calls "ignorant comments." And she's not the first celebrity who may have had her accomplishments overlooked because of high-profile past relationships.
The GQ profile in question, titled after Rose's upcoming book, How To Be A Bad Bitch, focuses primarily on her rise to celebrity and what she is doing with her fame and platform now. The "infamous ex" and "baby mama" descriptors come in the intro to the story. It did not take long before Rose responded to the article on social media, and she was none too pleased with their choice of wording. She posted a snapshot of the first few sentences on Instagram with her caption a lengthy critique of the magazine for introducing her the way it did. She pointed out that she was particularly upset by the descriptors because she brings up her work in feminism and activism in the piece. As can be seen by her full post below, she did not mince her words.
To be fair, the rest of the story does focus on other elements of Rose's stardom, including her involvement with the Slut Walk and promoting feminism. It also touches on her adorable relationship with her young son, so it is not as if the entire story encompasses Rose's past relationship statuses. But the words that upset her were still there at the beginning, seemingly setting the stage for what was to come. These words obviously matter to her and a lot of celebrities have faced similar issues. Since this is a common story with so many stars, this issue is much bigger than the intro of a GQ profile about Amber Rose.
This is far from the first time wording used to describe celebrities that may have lessened their accomplishments. Recent stories about Lamar Odom come to mind. In the midst of the former NBA player being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel and the ongoing updates about his health and recovery, many publications have described him as "Khloé Kardashian's ex." While he is associated with the Kardashian, many people, like ESPN's Scott Van Pelt, have pointed out that he had accomplished so much as a basketball player, including winning two NBA championships with the Lakers and being awarded the Sixth Man of the Year award for his 2010-2011 season.
This also calls to mind the controversy over the way L'Wren Scott was described in articles following her death in 2014. Many outlets and publications primarily described her as "Mick Jagger's girlfriend," which she was, but she was also a very accomplished fashion designer who dressed women as famous as Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie. She was also a model who worked with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld.
As we all know, words are powerful. They stick with people who read and hear them. And if they are describing other people, they shape how others perceive and understand that person. That's why the way that we describe people and their accomplishments matters.