By: Lisa Coxon
When she first hit the rap scene, it was easy to believe she might be on women’s side, but female hip-hop artist Nicki Minaj has injected far too much pro-male lexicon and attitude into her songs to make that possible anymore.
Minaj began as an underground rapper and in 2009, she signed with Lil Wayne’s record label Young Money,notorious for producing songs that focus on drugs, money, and women. Three years later, we’re seeing the effects of a capitalist patriarchy as she lyrically assaults women.
Her latest single Stupid Hoe, which broke a viewing record on Vevo with 4.8 million views within 24 hours of its premiere, expresses explicit female hatred with lyrics like “I piss on bitches,” and “stupid hoes is my enemy.” (The video for the first track off her sophomore album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, apparently got the axe from BET for being too explicit.)
Conveyed here is the same message women have been getting from most male hip-hop artists for years: you are less valuable of a human being because you are a woman.
The danger in assuming that when Minaj uses “bitches” and “hoes,” she’s referring to “those other women,” not us and the women we know, is that we too become perpetrators of this misogyny.
It doesn’t make it any less anti-female because a woman is saying it. This pits women against other women, also evident in her ongoing feud with Lil’ Kim, where sisterhood is completely absent.
Her latest slogan, “I am the female Weezy,” referring to Lil Wayne, first appeared in the song Y.U. Mad with Birdman and Lil Wayne, and shows up again at the end of Stupid Hoe.
Talk about apologizing for being (a talented) female. She won’t even call herself a female rapper; she refers to herself as the female version of a (sexist) male rapper. Her use of “king” to describe herself and “sons” to describe women doesn’t exactly scream proud female either.
Her main gimmick, the Barbie persona, clings to a very narrow concept of female beauty and femininity. The Barbie diamond necklace, her Pink Friday album, and the media’s obsession with the size of her rear, are all symptoms of a threatening woman who has been neutralized.
The Barbie persona, the little-girl voice, the obsession with pink, and the “Nicki blink” where she bats her eyelashes rapidly, all part of Minaj’s gimmick, promote a stereotypical image of female childhood. Minaj presents herself as being in a state of perpetual girlhood, but dresses up this damaging concept in colourful wigs and makeup, and sells it back to us as adult female empowerment.
If you look closely though, Minaj is merely a product of the backlash against feminism. She could have changed the landscape for aspiring female hip-hop artists and fans, and instead she is a stark reminder of how powerful the patriarchy is when motivated by capitalism.