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A Woman Slut-Shames, in Verse

35u7yq[1]By Rebecca Gardner

I’m always surprised at how women can foster sexism, themselves. I heard Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe” the other day and thought of the problem. She uses tough-girl guises, but she is far from modeling powerful womanhood.

The title, itself, says men may do as they please. Women may not.

Or how about these lines:

ice my wrists’ and I piss on bitches
you can suck my diz-nik,
if you take this jizz-ez.

Seeing through sexist eyes, she asserts that one woman might be superior to another, but she will never equal a man. And “piss(ing) on bitches” hardly promotes female solidarity or empowerment. The jab puts other women down just to raise Minaj up.

Meanwhile, she raps-idizes on male pleasure and the “diz-nik” as a symbol of male supremacy while the genitalia of “stupid hoes” fall short.

“Pretty bitches can only get in my posse”

In her video, Minaj wears several wigs, mostly blonde and coupled with big breasts, a big butt, and a fit body. She transforms herself into viewing pleasure – pleasure for men. And unless a woman is “beautiful,” she cannot be Minaj’s friend. She’s just a “stupid hoe.”

Beauty norms are unquestioned, eliminating room for individuality and self-expression while the camera pans from her butt to her bust, like that’s all she is, like that’s all sex is, and as if her power emerges only sexually.

And then she imprisons herself in a cage – not so powerful, after all. The camera flashes between images of her head and a leopard’s, creating a sense of Minaj as animal, sub-human.

“Stupid Hoe” cries out “hoe” nearly 50 times, and the n-word more than once. This sexist racism paints a clear picture: Minaj identifies with privileged white males.

Bitches play the back cause they know I’m the front man

Why does Minaj exalt white men — and herself — at black women’s expense?

She may have simply internalized racist and sexist norms so that these “isms” now live, unquestioned, in her head.

Or she shrewdly plays a game. She gains whatever power and status she can wrest from powerful men, while leaving a system that oppresses women intact. She gains even as she loses in this patriarchal bargain.

Underneath it all lies an illusion of power. 

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