When Nicki Minaj & Taylor Swift Fight Over Feminism, We All Win

Yesterday MTV announced its list of nominees for its 2015 Video of the Year. Among the list was Taylor Swift's celebrity superhero fantasy "Bad Blood." Notably absent from the list was Nicki Minaj’s ultimate ode to big, fat booties, "Anaconda." As these things go, Nicki got pissed, Taylor got a little too defensive, and the result has been a messy, real, and beautiful conversation about sexism in the media.

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What's not to love about that?

Nicki, never one to take a slight of any kind quietly, took to Twitter to air her grievance.

 

Inexplicably, Taylor Swift made the assumption Nicki was throwing shade directly her way and fired back.

And then Taylor did something so condescending you could practically hear Nicki's spit take when she read Tweet.

Oh hell no. That might be cool for Lorde, but Nicki Minaj is no Lorde. Frist of all, let's just agree neither video is really all that great. Nicki and her squad of curvy beauties do nothing but Twerk in "Anaconda." Tay-Tay's "Bad Blood" gets a pass based on the sheer number of ill-conceived "it girl" cameos. Face it, you jam that many boldface names into a 4-minute video and you're gonna get attention. And maybe even an MTV nom or two. But what's thrilling and so exciting is that both videos really are a take on each artist's personal brand of feminism.

The point of "Anaconda" and its video featuring thick ladies shaking what their mama gave 'em is to give it up to the girls who "aren't missing any meals" and take the time to tell them they're desirable too.

And that’s important.

"I wanted to reinstate something," Minaj said in an interview about her "Anaconda" video in 2014. "Because of the shift in pop culture, even hip-hop men are really glorifying the less curvy body. I wanted to say, 'Hey ladies, you're beautiful.' Hopefully this changes things, and maybe it won't change things, but I love it." So if Minaj's aim was to glorify the curvy body, it makes sense that she felt like the entire curvy body aesthetic was rejected when the video was overlooked by MTV for the Video of the Year. Why in the world Taylor Swift felt compelled to defend that is a little crazy and self-important. Taylor Swift in "Bad Blood," with her recent feminist conversion, put her most famous, pin-thin, and pretty much all-white cast of besties in skintight, post-apocalyptic outfits, and had them run around and act tough.

 And that’s cool too.

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But what's lame is Taylor Swift trying to claim some sort of feminist high ground here. The real feminist point of contention that should piss both of them off is that there isn't enough room at the MTV Video Awards both for skinny white girls with flat asses and big, luscious women of color. How about short, fat white women and tall, skinny black girls too? And don't talk about Queen Bey because Mrs. Carter is in a class all her own. Her nomination for Video of the Year was for "7-11," a video that looks like it was made in a hotel room as an afterthought. Not that I haven't watched that sucker like 100 times … but that's beside the point and so is Beyoncé.

Hey Taylor, it's not Nicki that's pitting women against each other -- it's our society that says there's only so much room for a token chick or two and it's up to us to claw and scratch at each other while the men determine a winner.

So Ms. Swift, consider this your next feminist lesson. Feminism is about one very simple principle: expanding the generally accepted definition of what it is to be a woman.

You, Taylor, as a thin, gorgeous, white, enormously talented young woman, already win. You already check every single box that society has laid out for little girls across the world that tells them what it takes to be "pretty" and "good." On top of that you've achieved international acclaim and success. SHUT UP ALREADY.

On the other hand you've got Nicki, who was sore she was snubbed. With her wicked tough talk, Barbie-pink hair, and glorious, enormous derriere, Nicki really is taking a shot at redefining what a "pretty" girl is in American popular culture. That's risky and hard to do. Nicki got in that ridiculous thong and did those dumbbell curves and she put herself out there. Props to her. What would be really cool and feminist of you both is to get together and empower girls beyond flexing their sexual and romantic feelings.

Maybe instead of Taylor's tired tropes about lost love and Nicki's raunchy raps about getting dudes to buy her Balmain after sex could be expanded a bit to include other aspects of a girl's personality. Just a thought. But what's most encouraging and exciting is two high-profile influencers of little girls getting into and sparking discussions about feminism. When that happens, everyone wins something way more valuable than some goofy moon man.

Now get back to work, ladies, you've got empires to run.

 

Becky Bracken is a news and views writer who serves it up with a sassy side of girl power. If you don't have anything nice to say, you should probably sit next to her. Get more at NerdieGaga.com.



Image via © MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters/Corbis


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