Feminism has become a popularized fundament of the music industry. Iconic figures in pop-culture, including Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé, have woven this philosophy into their music. In particular, Nicki Minaj is someone who I believe hasn’t received as much credit as she should for exemplifying this. In her latest music video, Anaconda, Minaj performs a lap-dance on Drake. While feminists criticize her for being exploited by the music industry, I disagree. In this scene, Minaj embraces her sexuality. In Anaconda, it may seem as if Minaj is performing a sexual act on Drake for his pleasure. However, it is clear in the video that Minaj is in control and performs this act for her own sexual gratification. Therefore, she does more than just express her sexuality in this music video. Minaj shows self-empowerment through her sexuality. She is comfortable and in control.
Furthermore, Minaj speaks about her role in this patriarchal music industry. Scroll through some of her music videos on YouTube. After a while, you’ll begin to notice that, Minaj makes a bunch of strange facial expressions throughout these videos. In an interview, Minaj states that her strange facial expressions are done so that she is not turned into a sex symbol. This makes it so that her body does not define her, but instead, it is her music that does. Minaj is in control of her sexuality, not large corporations who want to take advantage of her body. She utilizes her music videos to prove that she is the one in charge of her own sexuality. Yes, she does use sex to sell. But the difference between Nicki Minaj ‘s music videos and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video is that Minaj and female dancers and extras are empowered. She uses her sexuality to show that women do not have to be submissive in music and music videos in order to be successful. So, lets diverge away from Miley Cyrus and Beyoncé for one moment when we’re talking about the role of feminism in the music industry. Yes, they have popularized feminism. However, Minaj, I believe, has exemplified feminism in a very radical, but very effective way.
Sex sells, especially in the music industry. But the question is, how can women in this industry express their sexuality without having large corporations attempt to exploit it?