While watching Nicki Minaj’s video “Stupid Hoe” I noticed a few things:
#1 The visuals in the video did not match the words.
#2 The video appeals to children and young people because Nicki Minaj is literally a caricature or cartoon.
#3 Where is the feminist outrage and the community outrage at what Nicki represents?
Feminists/students at Spelman University were very critical of Nelly whose “Tip Drill” video featured a 2 second clip of a woman having a credit card slid down her behind.
Ludacris was chastised for his costume recently which featured his longtime girlfriend Euxodie on a leash.
Men are criticized for their objectification of and vulgarity toward women, but at what point do we become vocal against or about women who are just as much (and I’d argue more so) culpable? During the Nelly fiasco, I remember thinking that no one interviewed the young woman whose behind served as the credit card swipe machine. People criticize the rappers but the “video vixens” who are featured in the videos often get a pass and many go as far as calling them victims but there is a whole lane that has been established for them (a la Basketball, Football, Real Housewives, Millionaire Matchmakers, etc.) and at the bare minimum we have to look as these women as co-conspirators in the larger misogynistic culture.
Onika Tanya Maraj once said, “When I grew up I saw females doing certain things, and I thought I had to do that exactly. The female rappers of my day spoke about sex a lot… and I thought that to have the success they got, I would have to represent the same thing. When in fact I didn’t have to represent the same thing.” She also said, “I made a conscious decision to try to tone down the sexiness, I want people—especially young girls—to know that in life, nothing is going to be based on sex appeal. You’ve got to have something else to go with that,” but unfortunately the example that she is setting goes completely against her. The image of female rappers fit into three categories – those who were “imitating” masculine energy/aesexual like Queen Latifah, those who were hypersexual like Lil Kim and Foxy Brown and the few who successfully navigated their talent without the overly sexual image (a happy medium between traditional braggadocio & feminine energy) – MC Lyte and Lauryn Hill. Nicki is definitely talented but it’s hard to respect her talent when all I see is her gyrating gluteus. I also know that she went to a performing arts High School and studied theater – so I’m all for creativity and alter egos but then I also think about the three year olds who can recognize a photo of Nicki Minaj and even belt out full three minute lyrics but can’t count to ten or spell their own names.
What is female empowerment? Is it being a woman who does not care about the opinions of others? Is it taking on so-called masculine characteristics? Does it mean sexual aggressiveness & being promiscuous for the sake of being promiscuous? Does it mean growing an invisible penis and telling others to “suck it?”
Or is female empowerment being intellectually aware? Critical of this new culture of consumerism that says anything goes? If we don’t hold ourselves accountable and press back against these negative images that are defining womanhood for a new generation then we really are the “stupid hoes” that Nicki Minaj is referring to.