F*ck those skinny bitches in the club: Nicki Minaj vs Taylor Anne Swift Part 3

Orange is the New Black
Orange is the New Black

Female body image is only superficial in that once natural universe free of social constructs and European domination, but few live there anymore.

We live in a social reality that has made female body image as personal as it is public, and as spiritual as it is political.

So that’s why “skinny shaming” is a mainstream topic of discussion.

It’s a sensitive subject, but it’s also a conversation everyone wants to keep having.

It’s why when I wrote my response to the 2013 Victoria Secret Fashion Show it became the most read post on my blog, and stayed that way for nearly a year.

That was, of course, before Nicki Minaj declared war on skinny bitches.

At least, you would’ve thought she declared war after witnessing the media blacklash.

Nicki was quick to call out the media’s hypocrisy that praises white female provocativeness as liberating, progressive art and that of nonwhite females as offensive and disempowering.

nicki minaj tweet

Months later, when Nicki furthers the conversation about racism in the entertainment industry, Taylor Anne Swift & Co. felt attacked.

 

“I   F E L T    A T T A C K E D!”

I’m sure we’re all familiar with that phrase. It’s most often heard out of contexts of actual attacks, say when peaceful protestors are attacked by militarized police forces, and mostly heard in contexts of fragile, privilege-blind feelings.

Such examples include:

The white student who thinks affirmative action is “reverse racism” (go to 20:30) lectured on the accurate statistics of poc enrollment – might feel attacked.

The black guy critiqued about excluding black girls in the black student activist group’s leadership positions – might feel attacked.

The latina with more Eurocentric features being called out for societal privilege over latinas with more Afrocentric features  – might feel attacked.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling attacked. In fact, I think it’s impossible to reverse privileged ways of thinking without getting in ya feelings first. The problem is when the conversation shifts to alleviating your pain versus alleviating the actual issue at hand.

As Kat Blaque once said (and when I lost my sh*t) “If you catch feelings, then I’m talking about you.”

Of course Taylor Anne would feel attacked! She has three privileged ways of thinking to unravel.

  1. Possessing a tall, slim body that is most approved of and sought after in the entertainment and fashion world, but because it is (sometimes) shamed in the domestic world (i.e. finding a husband, birthing children) she can call out “skinny shaming” when slim bodies are critiqued.
  2. Following a white feminist ideology that refuses to see intersectionality, specifically the intersection of race and gender.
  3. Having both these qualities, believes everything is always about her because why wouldn’t it be! She’s America’s sweetheart!

This is why Nicki was so frustrated by the whole Twitter “debacle”. Her tweets were never for Taylor Anne, and “skinny shaming” should never be confused with – quite accurately – calling out an industry the prefers Eurocentric images, in this case a slim figure void of any curves that suggest aggressive (black) sexuality.

Remember how literally everything is racialized?

Well, everything is literally racialized.

There’s a reason why slim actresses going nude in front of the camera are seen as deserving Oscar nods and larger actresses going nude in front of the camera are thought of as porn stars/video vixens/full-figured inspirations.

There is an innocence to “TV titties”. It’s sexual without being explicit. It’s provocative but still artistic. Innocence, as it pertains to femininity and female sexuality, is color coded. It is fair. It is white.

On the other hand, women of color automatically face hypersexualization due to their race. We do not have the opportunity to be considered art. We’re immediately and primarily sexual. On top of that label that we haven’t even asked for, it’s also considered bad.

Terribly bad, in fact. We’re setting a bad example for women! For feminists! For other women of color who don’t want to be seen as hypersexual!

And, as with all racism, black women sit at the far end of that spectrum.

So when Nicki Minaj created a music video that challenged the male, Eurocentric gaze, many people freaked out. And it’s very possible she got the MTV VMA nomination snub because of it.

What I find interesting is the same women who are crying “skinny shaming” aren’t addressing that even though Nicki is celebrating the “fat ass”, all the women in the video have small waists.

Societal norms can still win out in even the media that aims to challenge them.

I ugly cackled the first time I watched “Anaconda” and heard Nicki say “f*ck those skinny bitches in the club”.  I’m a huge defender of cathartic release for marginalized groups. I understood and appreciated what she was saying.

But I could still acknowledge that Nicki and the women in her video subscribe to a beauty status quo, especially as it pertains to “thick women”: you can have the biggest tits, the biggest ass, even as many stretch marks as you want – but the waist better be small, and the stomach, flat.

It’s very possible to have dialogue that applaud and critique media images. It’s also possible to understand “skinny shaming” as it relates to personal feelings and to respect those emotions while still critiquing and challenging the societal norms that put slim women on a pedestal.

This isn’t about “pitting women against each other”. It’s about calling out a system that privileges some women over other women. It’s about addressing that some women are blind to those privileges.

Now, let’s discuss something more difficult, like how I’ve never listened to Taylor Swift yet I know all the melodies to every one of her singles?

Like if you said “romeo”, “22”, “bad blood”, or “shake it off”, that song would be stuck in my head all day.

Let’s talk about that because I have no idea what’s happening but I’d like to do something about it. I’d like to get involved.

This is,

MAB

 

 

 

 

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