Nicki Minaj's Unapologetic Sexuality is Not a Crisis

Nicki Minaj in Anaconda

In her own way, Nicki Minaj broke the Internet. Last week, her video for “Anaconda” broke a record with 19.6 million views within a 24-hour period (besting Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball”). A month before that, Twitter and Instagram were aflutter when she posted the cover art for the latest single, with her bare posterior prominently displayed. The “Anaconda” video has generated a massive amount of discussion: At the time of this story, the YouTube page for the video alone has almost 200,000 comments—and continues to climb alongside the number of views—and there’s been coverage dissecting each part of the video’s four minutes and fifty seconds.

The loudest chatter around “Anaconda” is about Minaj’s sexuality and how she’s chosen to express it. A writer called it the “fiercest take on female sexuality of the year,” while others felt Minaj’s hypersexualization was a “letdown.” “Anaconda’s” YouTube page is littered with comments like, “Is this porn?”, “99% Porn,” and “If promoting female sexuality is displayed as a common prostitute, I think I prefer to do nothing.” A current top comment on the video apparently sums up many viewers’ opinions: “This bitch has no talent at all, so she decided to shake her ass to be famous, am I right?”  

For some viewers, just owning and expressing a woman’s own sexuality is easily (and lazily) derided as pornography—especially in this case for a black woman.

Nicki and dancers

The song samples Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” with the line, “My anaconda don't want none, unless you've got buns, hun.” It’s been more than two decades since “Baby Got Back” flashed across television screens. Watching it now, it’s funny to imagine that a song with the infamous opening lines, “I like big butts and I can not lie,” caused so much pearl-clutching controversy that it was even briefly banned on MTV. By today’s standards, the video is tame and comical, with Mix-a-Lot standing atop two gigantic butt-mounds as he raps, “Tell 'em to shake it! Shake it! Shake that healthy butt!”

Despite being perceived as grossly inappropriate, “Baby Got Back” won a Grammy and solidified its place in American pop culture canon (e.g. Seattle Symphony’s rendition of the one hit wonder). Yes, the song was overtly sexual and objectified women, but it also acknowledged a body type outside of mainstream standards of beauty that was desirable. What many casual listeners don’t realize is that the opening dialogue between Becky and her white girlfriend goes beyond “look at her butt.” Here’s how the song starts:

Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends. But, you know, who understands those rap guys? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute, okay? I mean, her butt, is just so big. I can't believe it's just so round, it's like, out there, I mean - gross. Look! She's just so ... black!

When Minaj received negative feedback after releasing the cover art for “Anaconda,” she took to her Instagram to highlight the inconsistent and—let’s be honest—racist reactions to her displaying her own body. She wrote “Angelic. Acceptable. Lol” alongside photos of white Sports Illustrated models, topless and arching their backs, with their barely-covered bottoms on the cover of the magazine.

When Lady Gaga uses her body as a form of expression, she's an “artist. When Nicki Minaj owns her own sexuality, she's slut-shamed.  

Where was the outcry against Katy Perry's “California Gurls” when she laid about nude on a puffy pink cloud, with a small piece of fluff covering her bum? Did folks call Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” a piece of pornography when she salaciously licked a sledgehammer and writhed around naked on an actual wrecking ball? Did Jennifer Aniston face disparaging criticism for her strip scenes in last year’s We’re The Millers? Nope, they asked her how she got in shape for the role.  

Nicki on a yoga mat, in a still from Anaconda

While much of the criticism for “Anaconda” surrounds Minaj’s sexuality, there hasn’t been as much discussion about the politics of black women’s sexuality, specifically. Even within the hip-hop community, there was policing of Minaj’s body from CEO Chuck Creekmur, who wrote an open letter to her pleading to cover up for the sake of his daughter, and even concern trolling her as if Minaj is having some crisis of the soul and needs an intervention of her sexuality: “When you get a quiet moment answer the following questions. How is Onika Tanya Maraj doing? How does she truly feel about Nick Minaj right now?”

Writer and Bitch contributor Phoebe Robinson succinctly calls out his open letter on her blog Blaria:

“[Anaconda] was not created specifically for Creekmur’s acceptance or approval. This is Minaj’s music and her career choice so why is he behaving as if his word carries any sort of weight? Sure, he’s allowed to have his opinions, but let’s be real. This open letter condemnation is nothing more than a man deeming a black woman’s overt sexuality as wretched when that kind of ruling is not applied to non-black women.”

It’s disingenuous for Creekmur to chastise Minaj when he’s profited and traded in music videos that have featured far racier depictions of sexuality—but mostly from male hip-hop artists. But somehow, Minaj is not afforded the same type of agency and ownership of her body and sexuality, even as the most successful female hip-hop artist at this time (and one of the most popular mainstream music acts).  

Nicki doing a lap dance on Drake, staring directly at the camera

While Beyonce’s recent VMA performance was lauded as a poweful moment for feminism in pop-culture, we should recognize that although Minaj’s feminism looks different—it still matters. There are questions and criticisms that the video was shot, directed, and produced by men to satisfy the male gaze, to further perpetuate the commodification of another black female body. But this condemnation ignores and silences Minaj's voice and ability to make decisions about her own representations as an artist and a business person. 

"Anaconda" shifts the common narrative of a man conquering female bodies to Minaj’s own stories of sexcapades without apologies. Towards the end, the only man in the video appears: Drake, seated in the middle of an empty room with roaming spotlights and Minaj treating him to a lap dance. In the final seconds, he reaches to touch Minaj’s ass after she had been flaunting it in his face, and she immediately swats his hand and struts away. Her body belongs to her, and she can twerk it and work it however she pleases, and she doesn’t owe anything to anyone.

Related Reading: The VMAs Cemented Feminism as Beyoncé's Brand. What Comes Next?

Amy Lam is Bitch's associate editor. She tweets at @amyadoyzie

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29 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Here it is!

On the one hand - yes. Absolutely. I LOVE that Nicki is owning her sexuality and taking a shot at the racist and objectifying lyrics in Sir Mix a Lot's song.

However, I need someone to help me understand where this selective memory/interpretation of white women is coming from. Where's the outrage at the white girls? These were on the first page of google search results for "*artists name* porn". and

Female artists are ALWAYS getting flack to sexuality, regardless of race or body type.

Second of all, why is Nicki comparing her album cover to a sports illustrated? Those images were taken in order to be pornographic. To show that her album art looks like a white model with an arched back doesn't prove to me that white people interpret those images differently, but they are in fact interpreting them exactly the same.

I have no doubt that there are objections to her performance that are based purely on race and the racism of assuming a white standard of beauty. It just seems that the comparisons to how we perceive white bodies that writers have been making fall flat.

I, too, wonder why there is a

I, too, wonder why there is a lapse in memory in which it's been forgotten that white women have never been criticized for being overtly sexual in pop culture (this argument was also used in the Beyonce article a while back on this site). I have not forgotten the Madonna years in the 1980s/early 1990s (many of her videos were banned on MTV due to sex, religion,and violence), the Britney/Christina years in the late 1990s/early 2000s (especially since they were considered underage), Lady Gaga four years ago with Telephone, or recently, Miley Cyrus, who chose sexualization as a way to revamp her Disney image. All of them have been criticized, even more so than when Mariah Carey released Honey, which signified a major change in her image. With that said, I do think that the sexual politics within the music industry will be an argument that never goes away within feminism, going back to the sex wars in the 1970s, and it includes all female pop stars who choose to commodify their bodies to sell more music (which is a good majority of them).

You make a great point in

You make a great point in regards to the CEO's comments, that does seem to be indicative of of a really lame attitude that's around. But in an article talking about Nicki MInaj and double standards coming from any type of feminist perspective I would really like to know what your take on the "I'm raping you....." lyric in her last single would be? In a time when Robin Thicke got, rightfully, thoroughly criticised for a song that contained lyrics that just had a "rape-y" tone to them it does seem like a double standard at play when Nicki's song says LITERALLY "I'm raping you" but she received no criticism for that at all. What do you make of that?

I also think I agree with the above commentator, all the other female pop stars seem to receive quite a lot of storm in a tea cup reactions when they make these kind of tamely risque videos, this has been going on since about 1985 and I dare say Nicki hopes for as much controversy as possible - yawn! She's a super talented rapper and this was as good an idea for a song as any but I don't think she was able to turn it into a good song - which is totally beside the point you're making I know!

How is this Feminism?

How is this feminism? How is it that you post one perspective, claiming this as feminism for those that identify as feminist?. I am curious to know if the person that wrote this article is a black woman and is curvy with a big booty as well, therefore, understanding what it means to carry the responsibility of having such a body. I do recall Miley getting alot of flack for her performance in the mentioned video and for performance on the VMAs, how is this a valid comparison? If this is feminism then every pop artists is overdue their feminist stamp for portraying sexualized images on a mainstream stage. Are you going to identify them as well? Considering the time we live in with the how the crime of sexual assault is facilitated and addressed, I think the lens of "fierce feminism" and how it is equated to demonstrating hyper-sexual images especially amongst black women need to be thought about and analyzed differently. I do not understand , maybe you can explain, how demonstrating overt sexual images is feminism. How is that the best expression of women owning their sexuality? If you are going to make as statement like "Yes, the song was overtly sexual and objectified women, but it also acknowledged a body type outside of mainstream standards of beauty that was desirable;" saying its was objectifying but its OK, then please give every hip hop artist that created a space for women to demonstrate their sexuality without restraint their accolades, and recant the criticism that was directed at them. Its a slippery slope this article, and I am disappointed that a media outlet such as yours decided to write such an one sided perspective that seems not to be informed by the cultural implications or culture that is truly being expressed in this video.

Not my Feminism

It was Charles Mills in the Racial Contract that stated that "the black body is paradigmatically A BODY." This is the distinction between the scopic regimes of white and black female sexuality.

The use of the Sports Illustrated Models was meant to show that when white women are objectified, it is codified as "angelic," "sexy," "tasteful," etc but when the image is of a black woman it is codified as "pornographic," "distasteful," "amoral," etc. While white women do indeed have their bodies and sexualities policed, I do think there are noticeable distinctions to be made in how this comes to be. Mills is a good place to start. More often than not, the objectification of white women in neoliberal culture is from subject to object, and for black women it is from body to object and back.

I also do not think that feminism and commodification can co-exist amicably, and this applies to both Minaj and Beyonce. It is a very neoliberal "feminist subject" whose so-called "agency" is expressed by willingly seizing the means of self-objectification for the sake of money and power, and in the case of Beyonce, oh so dutifully balancing the demands of mother, wife, entertainer, sexual being, and good Christian (see criticisms of "Lean In" culture). If Beyonce's "feminism" is recognized as branding then I don't understand how we can possibly say that female self-commodification is a form of agency or empowerment. Neither Minaj's video nor Beyonce's set during the VMAs does anything to dismantle the system of patriarchy and exploitation that comprises the dominant social order. This doesn't mean they have an obligation to do so, and Minaj and Beyonce can do whatever they want with their music and their bodies. But that doesn't necessarily make them beacons of feminism.

This isn't to say that Beyonce or Minaj cannot make a contribution to feminist theory, encourage female empowerment, etc. But their star-images (which we must remember, are completely manufactured) certainly do not go outside commodity logic or go beyond a male dominated society.

Nicki Minaj

Degrading yourself is not owning your sexuality, it is a behavioral expression that you are damaged.

Okay, let's unpack some stuff

Okay, let's unpack some stuff in this short, somewhat thoughtless sentence.

Who decides what the degrading behavior is? Do I get to decide? Do you decide for me? Perhaps the degradation line should be drawn by some group with social sway, say a church of some kind.

Is it any sexual act? Certain types of sex/sex acts? Is this a public versus private question? What set of values are we using to draw the degradation line? Will the way I dress be part of degrading myself, or is it only actions? Does what I say matter?

Now let's talk about damaged? Damaged how? Unchaste, impure, no one will buy the cow damaged? Could use some love ans support and resources damaged? In which case the word damaged in of course useless and offensive, women are not commodities or pretty objects that cannot be sold if they are scratched or chipped.

Your short and offensive statement is an excellent example of policing other people's sexuality, using shame to force people to conform to whatever values you prefer, no matter how irrelevant they are to the rest of us.


If this is the new feminism, you can count me out. And this is not about hating black bodies, those are freaking butt implants filled with helium or something. No one should glorify that.

Wow, girl, seriously? So if

Wow, girl, seriously?

So if Minaj's body was perceived, by you, to be natural and not gross, would you feel okay about glorifying her sexual expression? And if so, how is it that you came to the privileged position of deciding whose body is natural and acceptable?

You claim not to hate black bodies, but honestly, starting a sentence by saying you don't hate black bodies and ending it by saying something hateful about a black woman's body doesn't make a very strong case.

Out of curiosity, do you also think that Beyonce's sexual expression is gross? Is it female sexual expression more generally, or is it just your perception that Minaj's ass is fake that makes her sexual expression so abhorrent to you?

For my part, if body shaming and thinly veiled racism continues to be part of some people's feminism, I'm going to start counting them out.

You're defending a woman who

You're defending a woman who is packaging and selling herself into the slavery of the music industry. Men don't have to objectify women anymore, women do it themselves. She is a disgrace. All she shows is that a woman's body should be on display and oogled over because parts (her butt) are "unusually" large. This woman depends on her looks and public sexuality to move ahead, not her talent or expertise or knowledge. Feminism is not about just doing whatever men do, even if it is morally and ethically wrong/suspect. It's about being treated like a human being and law abiding citizen. You won't be treated like a human if you present yourself as an object. Now, don't get me wrong and twist my words like you did in your reply to the person above, Minaj can shake her ass as she pleases, and so can Beyonce.

Just don't fucking call that shit feminism. And why are black women fucking around with this type of pop-culture-infused, petty, empty, superficial, trite feminism any way? So we can be seen as Sarah Baartman all over again and all the countless black women who were seen as sexually promiscuous deviants for the white man's viewing pleasure and violent sexual appetite? And please, spare me the slut-shaming, body shaming, and all the other shaming buzzwords. This is one black woman's body that is not even representative of the majority of black women. In fact, women of other races have the same body type, too--whether naturally or by surgery. Remember that black women are not a fucking monolithic group (I don't care if you're black or not, just reminding you because it seems like you forgot) and we don't all think and look the same.

Whoa, you are so off

Whoa, you are so off point.

1) Your diatribe just defended a commenter who accused Minaj's body of being unnatural in pretty hateful language. Really, you are on board with women's bodies being attacked and scrutinized the way Gertrude scrutinizes Minaj's ass?

2) I am not defending Minaj's public actions, necessarily, I am calling Gertrude out for her body shaming nonsense about Minaj's supposedly fake ass and how gross it is that she shakes it. And since I busted it out, body shaming is not a buzz word, it is a form of patriarchal oppression that teaches women to feel a sense of shame and defensiveness surrounding our bodies and sexuality, and it is a form of patriarchal oppression that is racially coded. It's not a buzz word, it's a thing that happens to women throughout our lives.

3) Slaves don't get paid and can't walk away, Minaj does and can. In a world where there is still actual slavery, let's watch the rhetoric that confuses trade and labor for slavery. Also, let's not insult Minaj's intelligence and agency by assuming she's trapped in some horribly exploitative condition from which escape would be difficult to impossible.

4) She is a disgrace to what/whom? How you think she should behave? To some sort of idealized notion of acceptable sexuality? To feminism, which she may not even ascribe to? You think her actions are disgraceful, that is your OPINION, not one shared by everyone, and certainly not one that should define Minaj, i.e. your assertion she IS a disgrace, not that she BEHAVES disgracefully.

5) You and Gertrude are doing a lot of equating Minaj to her ass, as though this were her defining feature, her most, if not her only, important feature. You claim she has no talent, just a big butt. That's not just offensive and sexist, it's wrong.

6) I don't have to twist your words, you just straight up said that people (women) who objectify themselves won't be treated like human beings. Women who dare to express sexuality in a way that you disapprove of don't get to be treated like human beings eh? That's the kind of shit you want to call feminist?

7) I never said or in any way implied that Minaj's body is representative of all black women's bodies. I pointed out that starting a sentence saying this isn't about hating black bodies and finishing it with saying something hateful about A black woman's body - A, SINGULAR, the ONE black woman who is being discussed, Nicki Minaj, individual black woman - is not convincing. To me it smacks of saying, I'm not racist but... How you interpret that as me "forgetting" that black women aren't a monolith is beyond me. My critique is that Gertrude attacks Minaj's body as unnatural and disgusting, which derails any reasonable discussion as to whether or not female expressions of sexuality can be feminist, ever, at all. Not to mention that her comments were definitely sexist and smacked of some racism too.

There IS a reasonable conversation to be had about public expressions of sexuality, how those expressions interact with the male gaze, to what extent they can be untainted by patriarchal society, and to what, if any degree they can be thought of as feminist. Calling Nicki Minaj a disgrace and talking only about her ass and whether or not it is real is not that reasonable conversation. Further, neither my comment, nor this article imply that Nick Minaj's actions are definitively feminist, or inherently feminist, but that her expressions of her own sexuality are not, to quote the headline, a crisis. Nicki Minaj's ass shaking may not stand up to a feminist rigor test, but policing Minaj's sexuality and disparaging her physical form most certainly do not pass as feminist acts.

Look, you don't need to tell

Look, you don't need to tell me how to think or how to view things. When I see bullshit, I call it what it is. You once again, add shit that’s not fucking there. I am not agreeing with putting down or objectifying women’s bodies. I didn’t say all women who have this body type. What did I say? I said Nicki Minaj. One specific person. I liked Nicki Minaj's music when she first came out. I saw that she was a talented woman and wasn't afraid to speak her mind. Now that still might be there somewhere, but now all I see is her putting focus on her body parts. I don't have to focus on what she is already putting focus on. She makes her body her image, so I’m not sexist or wrong, you’re just silly. We complain about men objectifying us, which is wrong, and then we objectify ourselves. None of what she is doing is progressive for herself or for any of the people who look up to her. Her sexuality is her business, and instead of her actually trying to make a statement about the control and responsibility she takes over her sexuality, she puts out the same recycled tripe that every other male rapper has that we are all sick and tired of.
The patriarchy this, the patriarchy that. I'm not shaming anyone's body. Just look at the TV. Look in the magazines. Check out the internet since you are well aware of how to use it already. The media acts as the biggest shamer of all time. The plastic surgery industry is booming because of women like Minaj and others who can't just be proud of their bodies and be done with it, they have to tie their whole persona and career around it which clearly communicates you have to change your entire physical body in order to succeed in that business. Women do this to each other. Her being her wasn't enough, and she wanted fame so bad, she sold her soul (in a figurative sense) for it. If you want to applaud mediocrity and her being inauthentic, be my guest, it just doesn't help your cause. Also, how can you, in your ignorance, determine that calling out the fake nature of an individual's body means that they are criticizing black women's bodies as a whole? By your own logic, you disproved your own argument. Her body IS unnatural; there are countless pictures of her before her ass injections. Why do women defend bullshit just because a woman does it? I’m not going to defend idiocy just because someone is a black woman and I happen to be one.
Indentured servitude a better term for you?

Listen, I'm not interested in

Listen, I'm not interested in telling you what to think, I also think there's some bullshit flying around in here. And while I'm getting bored with talking about Minaj's ass, I'm gonna take another stab at this.

First of all, in none of my comments do I state that Minaj is a bad-ass feminist role model because of her expressions of her sexuality. Nowhere. My comments are in response to a blatantly sexist and bullshit attack on Minaj's body in the comments section. And to break it down again, here's why that's sexist:

Before even getting to the conversation about whether or not public expressions of sexuality can even be feminist, Gertrude, and to a lesser extent you, force a conversation about whether or not Minaj's body is appropriate/attractive/acceptable. Not the way in which she uses it, how she might perceive it, if this is an honest expression, a character, thoughtless pandering to the male gaze, no, we have to talk about Minaj's ass, and whether or not her body is acceptable.

The scrutiny Minaj and other famous women face over their figures and looks before their talents and contributions are acknowledged is sexist. And repeating that dynamic by talking about how awful/fake yall think her ass is is the same form of sexism.

I'm not applauding Minaj, I don't really have an opinion on her, or on any other famous person I don't know the first thing about. I am repeating the idea that scrutinizing and attacking women's bodies is an act of sexism, and one that professed feminists should knock the fuck off already. Minaj is more than her ass. And I do think her pointing out racist beauty standards is on point.

And here's a little more about the patriarchy for you: It's not Minaj's fault that the plastic industry business is booming, it's actually, um, patriarchal society's fault: youth obsession and the ludicrous amount of pressure put on women, by a patriarchal society, to look a certain way. Saying that "Women do this to each other." misses a crucial point of feminist theory about the oppression of women. Some women have always been complicate in patriarchal oppression. Maybe Minaj is one of them, if we can EVER stop talking about her fucking ass then maybe that conversation can happen, but the larger system of oppression is at fault, not simply the women who succumb to its pressures.

Further, you know what pictures on the internet don't conclusively prove? Plastic surgery. Not to mention lots of other things. Maybe Minaj did have implants put in her butt. I don't think the "evidence" proves it beyond a reasonable doubt. But the obsession with Minaj's ass and if it is real is hugely problematic, for the reason's already stated.

And here is how my ignorant ass comes to the racism bit. And where exactly does my ignorance lie, by the way, is it in my disagrement with you about the relevance of Minaj's ass to feminism? Some quotes:
"Minaj’s message: women with bigger, curvier bodies get punished for wearing the same outfits as women who are thinner, smaller, flatter. Who adhere to a very particular beauty standard, one that is celebrated by institutions like Sports Illustrated and, not coincidentally, is more commonly [attributed to] white women than in women of color."
- also, a curvier woman's ass is called out as a thing that should not be glorified by Gertrude in her comment. Yep, Mina's big ol booty is not something that should be glorified, in part because it doesn't not fit into an idealized white beauty standard. I.e. her butt is too big, and thus read as too black to be beautiful, it's instead gross.

"People of colour have been aggressively categorized as Other in a multitude of ways for centuries, and having body types that [don't match] idealized white bodies continues to be a massive part of that."
- and saying Minaj's butt is gross and unacceptable because it is too big buys into racially coded beauty standards

And finally, nope, not indentured servitude either. Nicki Minaj gets paid, and pretty well. You may disagree with how she does it, but she does get paid, she's not in some debt bondage forced work situation, and she clearly makes her own decisions about her image.

There are lots and lots of

There are lots and lots of more talented, more creative black female artists than Nicki Minaj, and making her some kind of a symbol for black female empowerment seems really off to me. Media outlets and consumers choose the kind of artists they give exposure to, and when there's mostly artists like Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus featured it's really alarming.

When artists choose to present themselves as sexual objects over artistically talented individuals, I do think it should be critiqued. When we glorify surgically enchanced and photoshopped female bodies over natural ones, we're leading a culture that shames girls and women for their natural body. I have not said anything about hating curvy women. I just think it's sick how the media outlets are now obsessed with women who act stupid for attention and objectify themselves, and I see young girls imitating that behavior. It's "post-feminism" so it's suddenly okay to just throw away all self-respect and compete on who makes the most obscene music videos.

And that's all fine, and

And that's all fine, and there are some valid arguments in this comment, but your original comment was an attack on Minaj's body without any relevant critique of her actions. And that is a sexist act: focusing on and scrutinizing women's bodies before you talk about what they say/do/think/etc. Your comment makes you part of the problem of objectifying Minaj, as you reduce her to a body part. You can have a problem with female artists acting in ways that you deem obscene all you want, but when your response is to just say hateful things about those women's bodies, you are out of line.

Anonymous Owned This Thread

Anon, you deconstructed their bullshit masterfully. Well done!

I <3 anonymous.

I <3 anonymous.

Thank you all who disagree with the article

Thank you all who disagreed a little bit or a lot with the article. I was already thinking that there was something wrong with my reaction to the video (and to the song lyrics that inevitably go with it). I was also scared that I was completly wrong about what I thought feminism was.

I am not slut-shaming Nicki and I do think a woman is allowed to express her sexuality as she pleases (we feminists fight for that). But I cannot deny that in the lyrics, she is not appealing to women's sexual freedom, but emphasizing women's need of a male gaze and approval: "My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun." It is a MALE voice singing that. It is not a woman talking about what she wants and what she likes. What matters in that song is what the MALE likes. Besides, she is demeaning other women who do not have her body type and that's not a very feminist move either: "F*** those skinny bitches, f*** those skinny bitches in the club." I could also comment on how the voice rapping in this song is basically telling us she uses man because they give her clothes and drugs... Well... If you think that helps us woman in our fight for equality...

In the video, inspite of the fact there are only women (except for Drake), we cannot deny how the camera functions as the male gaze. I don't think those particular images of her bootie are made for other women to feel better about their non-mainstream body (AKA big butts). I'm a pear-shaped woman and I didn't think having her bottom on my face was empowering. Maybe I'm just too conservative. I don't know.

And since the issue of race came up, I don't think Nicki's case is suddenly "bad" because she is black. ANY woman that hypersexualizes and sells fragmented and fetishized images of females are doing more bad than good, in my opinion.

Thank you for this post - you

Thank you for this post - you put the exact words on my feelings. I think Nicki Minaj is awesome and a strong icon, but I cannot relate to the video from a feminist perspective, too many things are wrong with it.

Here's something to

Here's something to ponder:

Why is something an artistic does sexually "automatically" for the male gaze? Did you ever think Minaj is performing like this FOR HERSELF (masturbatory)? Did you ever think Minaj is performing like this for OTHER WOMEN (queer)?

Sure, her intent may get lost as the art becomes part of the public conversation. But I get so sick of the male gaze argument. It erases that some artists might be trying to give their queer fans a nod. Because the way Minaj celebrates a woman's body in many of her videos is gorgeously queer as fuck.

First of all, as the original

First of all, as the original commentator said the lines "my anaconda don't want none if you don't have buns" is sung by a man and she is also giving Drake (a man) a lap dance, you have to stretch pretty hard to say that this is intended for queer audiences.

Secondly, I don't see how queer women objectifying other women's bodies is any better than men objectifying women's bodies. I don't want my body to be objectified anyone.

Lastly, if she made this fer herself as like a masturbatory thing, I feel like she would have kept it private. This is something she released to the public and made to be released the public and she probably took certain considerations, as all good artists do, in doing that.

I feel like you are stretching to make this not problematic.

My only criticism, for

My only criticism, for whatever that's worth, is that Miley was totally also called a pornographic slut. Otherwise this is just spot on.

so much wrong here and, sadly

so much wrong here and, sadly also indicative of how a lot of feminist writing works these days. yet another article that cherry-picks a few examples and spins them any way it likes.
a) the only part I would remotely call feminist and "owning her body" is the ending, while the part where she shakes her bum to a line that basically says she's proud of her round butt, because a guy will want to have intercourse with her is just greeeaaat! you go girl!

b) comparing her to swimsuit models is way off. these women are paid to display their bodies. that is literally ALL they do and it is an industry that openly has a certain body standard. it may be a wrong one, but it is what it is. since when is the music industry about exposing your great behind?
and seriously, "miley didn't get any flack for wrecking ball"?!?! seriously?! that woman has been criticised SO MUCH! really, do you just write anything that fits your agenda? then at least pick more obscure references to get wrong and steer away from things that everyone knows to be false.
also, comparing her to J. Aniston... she was an ACTRESS who played a stripper. actors are ... you know... paid to act. so they take on characters that aren't real. it's not

she is using her body and scandalous videos to make money. simple as that...
she wouldn't make as much money staying in her oversized sweats and going "oh, underneath I have an amazing, fit body, I'm really proud of it, but you don't get to touch it"

Does anyone know what this

Does anyone know what this song actually sounds like? I watched the video for it and I honestly do not even remember what the song sounded like because there was SO MUCH ASS. I'm all for feminine expression and whatever, but how is it a sign of your "art" and "talent" when people can't even remember what your song sounds like because they were so distracted by what they were watching? I'm not even a dude!

Also, regarding the comparison between a reaction to white womens' bodies and black womens' bodies, DOES ANYONE REMEMBER MARILYN MONROE? Or Mae West? Both white women, before anything was even actually close to as vulgar as it is now, both received plenty of "flack" for basically everything they did. And there are plenty of other examples from every decade. It has nothing to do with race, and the only reason people react differently to things black women do is because generally they do things way more over the top! Case in point: the "Anaconda" video.

This whole "controversy" is kind of ridiculous to be honest.

All of that sexuality stuff

All of that sexuality stuff and double standards between white and black women within the music industry, yall can keep....bold, courageous, whatever....Just wake me up when you have identified her talent

This is not feminism for Black women, it's exploitation!

Black female entertainers exploiting their sexuality is not feminism. Who cares what the white girls get away with, it's the young Black girls that I care about. Nicki and her ilk are turning young girls into future hoes.

Author “The Art of Debt Guerrilla Warfare, how to beat debt
collectors when your back is against the wall.”

Nicki Minaj

Whilst she is a positive role model in that she helps people embrace alternative body shapes, she is also a dangerous advert for the limited parameters under which women can achieve success, and is certainly not a feminist:

In what culture do mature

In what culture do mature responsible women raise their boys to mature into teens and men who characterize their sisters, moms, daughters, grandmas and wives as witches and bhores?

Could that be the culture of damaged females Tupac Shakur and other rappers write about?

The culture of damaged, immature, irresponsible females who neglect, maltreat, emotionally and physically abuse their children, who develop into depressed damaged children often sharing their anger and frustrations with their mom/caregiver/parent by committing anti-social acts against their peaceful neighbors?

Is this the same culture that looks at me and says I dislike them because of the pigment of their flesh while ignoring their major flaw that makes me question their good judgment as well as fear them for raising unstable children suffering from child abuse?

People who demean each other, calling them witches and bhores, please do not expect me to respect or embrace you, and when I do not, call me names like racist or bigot.

Another way to lose my respect is to raise men who view females as less than human, as Iggy and her rap culture friends often do.



Two thoughts: 1.) What's

Two thoughts:
1.) What's funny (and racist and politically incorrect and all that) is the opening script to Sir-Mix-a-Lot's song. I have never heard any white person have a conversation with another person sounding anything like this. It's a funny fiction. I wonder why it was even added, maybe just for comedy. With the exaggerated valley girl accent, that's plausible. What's NOT plausible is the idea that white women act as spectatators of black women's exchanges with men in the street often enough to develop an opinion about it or feel compelled to share that non-existent opinion with their friend "Becky" lol. Well, until Nicki Minaj came along, I'm sure.
2.) I agree with the many comments objecting to the acceptance of hyper-sexuality as "fierce" feminism. You know which musical artist I like in terms of self presentation? Monet. The daughter of working class parents with work uniforms, she chooses to wear black and white suits as her work uniform. She recently tweeted in response to someone encouraging her to show some more "fierce feminism" (not in those words) in public. She gently corrected them, saying she does not exist for male consumption. Unlike Sir-Mix-a-Lot's script implies, she knows such images satisfy the curiosity of only one segment of viewers: straight men. And I find it hard to picture lesbians being hard core fans of strip clubs and pornographic art, but I could be wrong. So far we haven't seen a lot of evidence to support that. Generally, it's men not women (not including the empowered artist enjoying the amazing boost to her self-esteem and freedom of self-expression) who benefit from this extreme reactionary version of feminism. And frankly, are we really holding up Nicki Minaj in front of young girls as a worthy role model? Most of the music I've heard from her seems to show she has talent, but I was surprised when I saw two pre-teen girls with a dad singing along with Nicki about doing cocaine. He didn't seem to notice.
And, in keeping with the theme of black female artists, lyrically India.Arie ("I am not my hair, I am not this skin. I am the soul that lives within." And "Video Girl") is outstanding.