Last year, in response to Amber Rose’s “SlutWalk,” New York’s Power 105.1 FM “The Breakfast Club” host Charlamagne The God responded: “You can’t have an actual slut [Amber Rose] hold a SlutWalk.” Along with his co-host, Charlamagne claimed: “So basically they want to be able to be sluts and hoes but they don’t want anybody to call them that” and “Sounds like they want to promote being sluts and hoes.”

It felt quite oddly ignorant, in my opinion, that a man would propagate the very same sexist ideology Rose was advocating against, while attempting to dismiss the need for such advocacy. What prompted this man (and prompts any other man) to use inherently sexist and misogynistic language against women, if not simply disdain for women, I wondered?

The answer: plain ignorance.

During an exchange via Twitter between myself and Charlamagne The God, that ignorance was put on full display. When presented with the dictionary definition of the words “slut” and “ho,” the host claimed he never knew that those words were restricted to castigate/police the sexual behavior of women only.

Here are the definitions, per Dictionary.com:
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“Ok and men can be sluts too,” he argued.

Indeed, men can engage in sexually promiscuous behavior. However, men cannot be sluts and hoes, by the definition of the word. And not only the dictionary definition of the words, but also the colloquial understanding of terms as well. Urbandictionary.com, a website that compiles the definition of slang, provided by everyday users, gives multiple definitions of the term and all of them agree that it is used to characterize women.

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The reality that today these words are strictly used to degrade women for their sexual behavior– which is inherently sexist– cannot be disputed. And that the labeling of women with those terms and punishing them for those labels is, in fact, the definition of “slut-shaming” — what Charlamagne Tha God did when he espoused “you can’t have a slut hold a SlutWalk:”

“Slut-Shaming” is the experience of being labeled a sexually out-of-control girl or woman (a “slut” or “ho”) and then being punished socially for possessing this identity. Slut-Shaming is sexist because only girls and women are called to task for their sexuality,” argued by Leora Tanenbaum over at The Huffington Post.

Yet, Charlamagne Tha God tried to argue that “times have changed” and “sluts and whores have always been men and women. When provided with these definitions Charlamagne Tha God responded:

“I never knew the dictionary said that.”

If, indeed, the radio show host was not aware of the rudimentary definition of the words being addressed by the “anti-slut shaming” (SlutWalk) movement, why then, did he feel entitled to speak on it or belittle it? This reveals, precisely, how members of a dominant group (men in this case) are able to obfuscate what would be clear, intelligent, logical discussion by injecting ignorance and building a case on that lack of awareness.

I would say that, to some extent, it may possibly be the end result of an intentional attempt to maintain the status quo and oppress women, however that conclusion can be challenged by this silver lining: After being educated to the reality that the words “slut” and “ho” are specifically meant to demean women for their sexual choices, Charlamagne Tha God agreed not only that we must challenge the definitions of these words, but also that he would be willing to use his platform to do so.

“Times have changed. Definitions have not. Help me change them?” I requested of Charlamagne.

“Sure,” he replied.

One can only hope that after being confronted with the definitions of the words “slut” and “ho”, and agreeing that it is wrong that these terms only define the sexual behavior of women, Charlamagne Tha God will actually be willing to acknowledge the very need for the anti “slut-shaming movement” Amber Rose tried to promote when she spearheaded a SlutWalk, by understanding it is these very restrictive, derogatory definitions which she was attempting to combat in the first place.

If we can all agree that it is wrong for the words “slut” and “ho” to be strictly defined by women’s sexual behavior, then we should most certainly all agree that something must be done to challenge those definitions.

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