I’m going to be called a “hater” and get attacked for this one.
I wish I had a dime for every article I’ve read, meme I’ve seen, or tweet on my timeline that has praised Nicki Minaj for being a feminist and a positive role model for women.
There’s no argument that Nicki Minaj is successful, intelligent, and confident. But I don’t really believe she deserves to be a “feminist icon”, at least not in my eyes. And believe me, it’s not because she raps about sex, has a rather large backside, or is black. There are a variety of reasons why I don’t believe she should be called a feminist.
1. All Talk
Nicki Minaj says a lot of things that the public will eat up about loving yourself, praising your body, standing up for other women and not putting them down, and that’s all fine and good except for the fact that her lyrics completely contradict what she says in interviews. Here are some verbatim quotes from her very own lyrics…and ones that haven’t been slapped on a pretty picture in meme form:
“Make sure I’m on my toes, on my knees, Keep him pleased, rub him down,Be a lady and a freak.”
“I’m Angelina, you Jennifer, come on, bitch, you see where Brad at.”
“F*** them skinny bitches in the club, f*** you if you skinny.”
“You a stupid hoe, you a you a stupid hoe.”
The list goes on.
In those four lyrics alone, she talks about submitting to a man, shames a woman who was cheated on, puts down a specific body type, and uses a degrading term for a woman. However, you won’t see any meme created that reflect these lines, only some interview speak that sounds nice in front of a camera. Nevermind the fact, these lyrics are heard by millions, I’m sure of which half of whom are under the age of 16.
2. It’s Been Done Before
I 100% agree that a woman should be proud of her sexuality and flaunt it how she pleases. I also 100% agree that a woman should be proud of her body and show if off when she wants. Nicki Minaj is often praised for these very reasons–she’s raunchy, she’s raw, she’s edgy and she says controversial things very bluntly. Well, good for her. But the problem? It’s been done before.
I could name about 20 songs off the top of my head where sex is discussed by a woman, or where a woman praises her sexuality. I could name 20 more music videos that feature women shaking their booties in the name of body positivity.
So, my question here is, why is Nicki Minaj being put on a pedestal as if she was the first one to do this?
Heck, in the 90’s it was Lil Kim who was writing rhymes about the men she’s slept with, being a “boss bitch” and a business woman. Whatever your opinion is on Lil Kim, you can’t argue that that’s where Nicki got a lot of her influence. There are so many other women I can think of–of all different body types and races that don’t pit women against each other or shame someone for having a different body type.
3. There are other issues worthy of attention in feminism, besides showing off your body
In 1992, when TLC broke onto the scene, they were seen as going against the grain. Surrounded in a society where women wore tight-fitting clothes and didn’t talk openly about sex, they wore baggy clothes covered with condoms and promoted safe sex. They are women of color but who is recognizing them for speaking about something controversial?
For me, it’s a fine line between exploitation and exploration. It’s wonderful that Nicki Minaj is comfortable enough with her body to wear tight-fitting barely-there outfits. She’s not the only one, and I believe that women have every right to do this. But are we forgetting that sex sells? Society and the media WANT to see women take off their clothes. So, I have to ask, are women really doing this because of feminism? Or is it because that’s what the people want and that’s what pays? One could argue that Minaj is brave for showing off her body, another could say it’s for society’s pleasure.
To sum it all up, there’s no disputing the fact that Nicki Minaj is a successful woman in today’s society. As I said before, she is smart and also rich and famous. However, I strongly question her contribution to feminism today. To me, a feminist is someone who fights for the equal rights of women (as Nicki has done in a male-dominated industry), but also someone who stands up for other women, celebrates all body types, and doesn’t rely on the opinion of a man for reassurance. As she has shown in her lyrics, the message she sends is quite different than the one you’ll see plastered on a meme. Women shouldn’t feel the need to compete with each other for success. Because if women put each other down, that makes it OK for men to do it. I would like to see Nicki Minaj take more of a stand on this. Maybe when that day comes, I’ll reconsider my take on the situation.