What’s up with Nicki Minaj?

Posted on July 18, 2011

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For Nicki Minaj, Being A Victim Of Domestic Violence Is Bad For Business | TheLoop21.com. I don’t know. and I’m glad i’m not one of those people who feels like there absolutely has to be a direct answer with no room for nuances… because I don’t claim to understand the appeal of this superstar… I have questioned repeatedly on this blog, on facebook and twitter, and to my poor friends who have to listen to me ramble about the ills (mostly) of pop culture.. is she a positive role model? Is she a “feminist” (not a card carrying self identified one, necessarily.. those are few and far between in celebrity anyway):

I’m not here to debate what happened in that hotel room but I do want to address what happened publicly as a result of what took place in that hotel room. Nicki Minaj’s persona has influenced millions of young women to call themselves “Barbies”. It’s a woman empowerment movement in it’s own right. Yet, it seems like there is no place for domestic violence to be addressed in this movement either. Minaj took what easily could have been, as Oprah would say, “a teachable moment” and went completely left.

I’m not sure when influencing millions of young women to call themselves barbies is a woman’s empowerment campaign.. it sounds like what Mattel has been trying to do since the invention of barbie.  It smacks of patriarchy and women as objects and capitalistic white supremacist beauty standards and the false power women get in society for playing the part. At the same time she has a very masculinized persona (personality?), which is a very understandable demeanor to adopt if you’re trying to get anywhere in life. It’s as if she has, quite wonderfully, woven two dichotomized compulsory versions of gendered being into her identity.  That’s kinda cool from a theoretical perspective, though in practice both identities perpetuate an inherently misogynistic attitude.  As far as her being a positive role model… i just can’t agree. Though the lady has mad skills and i respect the hard work it takes to make it as a respected female artist.

This domestic violence thing really highlights the fact to me that Niki Minaj, just like the majority of people, are products of this society.  Here’s the scoops:

Last week, reports surfaced that rapper Nicki Minaj was in a domestic dispute at a hotel in Dallas, TX. Almost as soon as the allegations went public, the fiery rapper took to her twitter account to shoot down the claims.

Now obviously this article says the usual “violence is bad” stuff, which i totally agree with.  But just because she is a celebrity doesn’t mean she has to be some sort of inspirational role model all of the time.. she’s a human being, she was raised in this culture as well.  Now of course her response also distances herself from “real” victims of intimate partner violence… that only happens to women who are inferior.  This victim-blaming (and also macho) stance is a very common tactic for women to adopt in order to have a sense that they are safe.. that nothing like that could happen to them.  Obviously if these allegations are true she knows that it can happen to anyone (because it CAN happen to anyone. and it does. and 3-4 women are killed a day in our country).. and instead of speaking the truth she is covering it up which is exactly what systemic oppression is all about: keeping these voices silent.

I don’t know what I think about Nicki Minaj.. it’s nuanced and fluxuates. I’m interested and confused that a lot of my kick ass lady friends like her (though a lot of them like beyonce too.. sooo…).  It all just makes me realize why my job, stressful as it is, is important. Dynamics and realities about domestic violence are still pretty unknown, and myths and victim blaming permeate our social and personal lives.

If you want to educate yourself a little on Domestic Violence (DV) this is a great starting point: http://www.nnedv.org/resources.html