COLUMN: Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' and its blurred lines
Though I would not go as far as using the term 'prostitutes' to describe the ways in which Nicki Minaj decides to present herself in her latest video 'Anaconda', I must admit that this video definitely has the lines between fun, playful and sexy music video to 'amateur', 'hardcore' pornography, blurred. We see Nicki Minaj in the video doing what she does best - rapping, then crawling, giving Drake a lap dance (one he can't believe he's had the 'privilege' to receive) twerking, ass-smacking and jingling her (unnatural) derrière and that of her dancers over the repurposed legendary though objectifying and fun hit: 'Baby Got Back' by Sir-Mix-Alot.
Though I am (worryingly so) not shocked nor outraged by each scene in the video (I attribute this to a desensitisation of a pervading hypersexuality in society), I couldn't help but be concerned by the harmful, demeaning and body-shaming lyrics the rapper seems to proudly spit almost knowingly that although she'd probably get a lot of criticism about her comments, she'll ultimately fulfil her aim of having these lyrics co-signed by others who blindly and share the thought that the bodies of 'skinny bitches' are to be disregarded and demeaned as being beautiful or sexy and that curves and round butts are the only images possible that could get a man's 'anaconda' saluting.
Pictures are worth a thousand words, thoughts and opinions and whilst those sentiments will always be subjective to the individual because of external, different cultural factors and beauty standards, I acknowledge that Nicki assumes a position of power which sees her invite and consent to the (male) gazes directed at her body - it is consented, not imposed as it should be!
However, her selective body glorification and shaming reinforces and causes more insecurities than it creates or arouses sentiments of pride within women with fat derrières, but then again this song isn't for all women. It's strictly for the 'fat ass big bitches in the club'. Her attempt to celebrate the black female body of those with big butts dilutes the efforts and advancements made by women collectively to desexualise, most importantly decolonise our bodies.
Position of power? Reclaiming of her sexuality and her body?
Nicki campaigned upon the release of her single's cover, making and exploiting the argument that black women's bodies are treated differently, by posting pictures of herself next to that of other white models in selected campaigns and editorials, captioning their uncensored display or their butts as being socially 'acceptable' whilst hers as is judged as being socially 'unacceptable' - comprehensively so, but I am inclined to call 'bs' on her excusing observations. Her justifications alludes to her standing up and speaking out against the patriarchal forces that be - forces she is undoubtedly contributing to. If Nicki Minaj is campaigning against the patriarchal forces indeed, then what a failed campaign this has been.
In an environment where physical appearance reigns, it is important that the message that be taken from this is that, we assert control of how we present our individual bodies. We must be the ones who police it and not allow those with a warped and non-accepting and changeable perceptions of beauty standards, to do so. If we are going to run around naked or covered up, it should be because we want and feel to, not because we are trying to 'sock it up' to the man. A 'sock it up to the man' approach may be appropriate and effective for other causes but not in revolutionising how the female body should be perceived and treated.
Photo Source: radio.com