(Exclusive) Karrine Steffans Talks #MeToo & Explains Why She Doesn’t Like Amber Rose’s Brand Of Feminism
In an exclusive interview with theJasmineBRAND, Karrine Steffans opens up about her former life as a video vixen, her feature in BET’s “Vixen” digital docuseries and what she’s currently up to today. Amongst the variety of topics discussed in the exclusive interview, we got on the subject of feminism and the #MeToo movement.
There seems to be a lot of definitions for feminism. Many people have chosen to express feminism in different ways.
One celebrity in particular, Amber Rose, chooses to champion feminism by embracing her sexuality, nudity and reclaiming words like slut and whore. It’s one of the reasons she decided to host the annual Amber Rose SlutWalk in Los Angeles every Fall. When asked about her thoughts on reclaiming the word “slut” and whether that falls under feminism, Karrine says:
First of all, what I don’t like is that every definition that pertains to things like “slut”, “prostitute”, in the dictionary says “a woman who..” It never says “a person who…” it never says “a man or a woman who..” It is always a woman. There is no word in the English dictionary for sexually promiscuous men. It’s always a woman. I think that’s the first thing that needs to change.
Second of all, I’m not here to reclaim the word slut. It is what it is. I believe in the meaning of words. Every word has a meaning. Slut has a meaning — it should refer to both men and women, but it has a meaning. You’re not going to get me to reclaim that.
I also believe that we have to be careful about how we dress. Everything has a uniform. Police officers have a uniform. Doctors have a uniform. You see someone in a suit, a tie, and a briefcase, you’re going to assume that’s a businessperson. If I see someone with scrubs, a white coat, and a stethoscope, I’m going to assume that’s a doctor. Hookers have a uniform. And anyone, man or woman, that walks out of the house looking like a hooker is going to be talked to that way. There’s an expectation based on how we dress — whether we like it or not.
Karrine goes on to discuss why dressing a proper way is important and how people should not be confused by how she dressed while working vs. how she dresses in real life.
I’ve always known that. I’ve never been a scantily clad dresser. It was never my style. I did it for work. Work was one thing. The way I dress is another. I’ve always been a GAP girl. Even to this day, GAP jeans and a t-shirt. I know for sure that people treat you differently based on how you look. People treat you how they see you. What I don’t like is for women to pretend that we are exempt from that. I just like to tell everyone, especially the girls that I mentor, everything and everyone has a uniform. Make sure you’re wearing the proper uniform.
In regards to the #MeToo movement, Karrine says she appreciates it, but if she was in the same position, she would have handled things completely differently.
I think that the movement as a whole and in general is great for women. I love seeing women be honest. I love seeing women be vocal and verbose about their experiences. I think it’s something black women need to learn how to do more of. This particular culture is all about not putting your business in the street, it’s something we’ve heard our whole lives. It comes from most of us being born into a culture of shame and we’re dealing with that on a daily basis. We are made to shame a lot of things: our bodies, our skin color, our hair, our experiences sexually. Especially when those experiences hurt or are ugly. We are shamed for our consensual sex and shamed for our non-consensual sex. No matter what we do, we are wrong. In this particular movement, I felt really proud for every woman who stood up and said ‘This is what I’ve been through’ because that’s what I’ve been doing since 2005 and everybody stoned me for it.
I’m a little different, though, because I’m nobody’s victim. So, I like when things like that happen. I read an interview about how Louis CK pulled out his penis during a meeting and she was devastated. And I thought, ‘That’s great!’ I wish I was in a meeting and Louis CK would pull out his penis. This is amazing! Now that you’ve done this, now I have a secret and you have a secret. I’m gonna need you to write me a check for about $5 million so that nobody finds out about this. I play the game different. I’m not going to hashtag it and cry and boohoo about it. That’s the only thing that I don’t like about the movement. It’s great to be able to say what happened but I also want to see women taking back their power in that moment, not 20 years later.
Season 1 of BET’s Vixen docuseries debuted on July 10. Watch the trailer below.
Check out more Vixen here.