Three days ago Nicki Minaj poured some hot tea and Taylor Anne Swift ran underneath it.
Just yesterday Taylor Anne finally apologized for thinking the tea was about her.
Taylor Anne Swift & Co. were wise to publicly apologize, and I’d like to believe that Taylor Anne felt ashamed enough to personally apologize to Nicki as well.
***Twitter healing vibes***
Well, there’s several aspects to the entire Nicki Minaj/Taylor Anne Swift & Co./MTV situation.
- MTV’s VMA nomination process
- Music/Entertainment industry’s treatment of black female artists
- Cultural appropriation and exploitation of black female artistry by white female artists
- The media’s treatment of the Nicki Minaj/Taylor Anne/MTV situation
- Feminism and intersectionality
I can’t speak to the first because I don’t know what MTV’s VMA nomination process is. Apparently Miley Cyrus, most relevant appropriating white female artist today, is hosting the show. That’s all I know.
For the second point, Nicki Minaj tweeted about that already.
For the third, bell hooks wrote an entire essay on the definition of cultural appropriation and the full work, Black Looks, further explores race representation in the media, black female bodies, and gaze.
For the fifth, to my pleasant surprise, much of the public discourse is critiquing mainstream feminism for its history of marginalizing, ignoring, and at times condemning intersectionality – that is – where race, sexuality, and gender meet womanhood.
Taylor Anne Swift & Co. have been heavily checked in Tumblr spaces for defining and promoting feminism as simply women fighting for women, and avoiding the complexities of racial politics, which not only means addressing the presence of women of color who cannot separate themselves from race, but also addressing the political power and privilege of white women over women of color in society and in mainstream feminist spaces.
An article on Huffington Post covered the Twitter incident, highlighting the importance of Nicki’s critique of racism and the erasure of black female artists in the industry over who was right or wrong.
“Swift tried to deflect Minaj’s criticisms of the music industry (again, not about Swift personally) by pointing out that “one of the men” might have taken Minaj’s nomination spot. This was irrelevant to Minaj’s argument, and a classic example of the way White Feminism works to undermine women of color — trying to make things solely about gender in order to not have to talk about race, while perpetuating the idea that white women and women of color experience the same kinds of sexism and oppression.”
An article on Blavity was more critical of the situation, reading “the Co.” in Taylor Anne Swift & Co. for promoting problematic ideas of feminism.
“After Taylor Swift attempted to “defend herself” from what she saw as an attack on her nomination, she utilized her recently learned feminism to criticize Minaj for what she assumed to be divisive tactics. Those who have been curious as to whether or not Swift’s feminism was spoonfed to her by problematic white feminists have their theories confirmed — it was. Her condescending response and quickness to center herself in a struggle black women are facing exemplifies the biggest problem with white feminism — the lack of intersectionality.”
“The “isms” affecting black women are, at minimum, dual: sexism and racism.”
“So often, black feminists are urged by white feminists to check their race at the door, with white feminists insisting that sexism trumps racism. They are told that because of that, black women should direct most of their energy to fighting the patriarchy. However, black women are unable to physically divorce their identities. When we walk down the street, people don’t just see a woman, they see a black woman. Because of that, we must fight against white supremacy and the patriarchy, two systems affecting both our pay and the stereotypes surrounding us.”
It’s important that the author highlighted both white supremacy and patriarchy. This is what makes white feminism problematic, and where it gets its name:
White Feminism centers itself in a social reality void of white supremacy and solely of patriarchy.
This was highlighted at this years Academy Awards, where actor Patricia Arquette basically told people of color and the LGBT community that they already won their social/political battles and it was time to fight for (white) women.
In case you weren’t aware, people of color and the LGBT community have not won their social/political battles, and at a time that both communities are witnessing their own murdered under “mysterious” circumstances and then receiving no justice – or barely any media attention whatsoever – it’s an extremely insensitive time to even suggest such a thing.
However, I’ll take the Blavity article a step further.
White Supremacy and Patriarchy aren’t separate worlds. They live under the same roof. They depend on one another to survive.
The modern day politics of race, sex, gender, and class that we know today have been created and/or heavily influenced by European colonialism/globalization.
This is truly why white feminism is a problem:
Beyond isolating other communities of women, white feminism does nothing to defeat the patriarchy because the patriarchy is grounded in white supremacy. White feminists can attack solely patriarchy, and some political changes may take place, but it will not be defeated. Why? Because good ol white supremacy keeps it alive.
Logically, it all makes sense. Together we stand. Divided we fall.
Arquette was correct in the idea that women do need the support of others, but she forgot about the women that also belong to and are fighting for other marginalized communities.
Taylor Anne Swift & Co. did the same.
Can you understand now why black women clapped back so hard??
Oh! I forgot the sixth aspect of this whole public debacle!
6. Those skinny bitches in the club
That’s part 3.