Whats Sex Got To Do With… Anacondas?

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.

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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.

Nicki-Minaj-2012

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?

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4 thoughts on “Whats Sex Got To Do With… Anacondas?

  1. Minaj’s “Anaconda” fascinates me in the way it samples (and in the video, visually nods to) Sir Mix-a-Lot’s 1992 “Baby Got Back,” which was reeeaalllly scandalous when it came out. (For instance, it was banned from playing at my middle school when it first came out.) In her sampling, is Minaj creating a parody (or, an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect or social critique)? I wonder, if we take into account *how* Minaj cites Sir Mix-a-Lot, what social critiques emerge? Here’s a link to the video for Sir Mix-a-Lot’s video:

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  2. Whoah! I never knew that her strange faces were for the purpose of being in charge of her own sexuality. I have always wondered why she did that. Because I have read a few of these What’s Sex Got to do With… that have Nicki Minaj in them, I have done some reading on her and watched some interviews. I have come to the conclusion that she she does do what she does for the sole purpose of empowering herself. Like you said, the lap dance was for her not for Drake and she had control to do as she pleases. Though the lines between exploiting ones sexuality and empowering it are blurred, i think that Nicki is on the right track to being in charge of herself and showing girls that they don’t have to be subversive to men. I liked the way this was written, it was very interesting to think about and I agree that Nicki is a lot more of a beneficial role model than the other “feminist” entertainers.

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  3. @ Prof C…. I think the ‘citing’ Anaconda does isn’t for the sake of social critique so much as social statement. I think Baby Got Back effectively works as the national anthem of the “to hell with the skinny bitches” attitude, and it also goes to lengths to call attention to the female butt. To me, it seems like Anaconda borrows from the original video only insofar as it’s interested in doing those same two things. Personally I don’t see anything more sophisticated than that going on with the sample.

    In response to the original post, I definitely agree that Minaj seems more in control of her sexuality than other female pop stars, but I’m still bothered by the fact that she’s boasting about a sense of heightened validity she draws from the fact that men are spending money on her. I don’t think the video is all bad or all good, more of a grey zone. It seems like pop music videos will always be thorny for feminism. It’s so hard to draw a line to mark where liberated sexual expression becomes exploitation or objectification.

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  4. Why does it always have to be “F*** them skinny b******”? Really though, what did any skinny person ever do to the rest of the world? Why does it have to be some kind of fight between “thick chicks” and “skinny b******”? I have so many negative feelings about this song. I hate when people are reduced to and defined by sexual body parts. I don’t think butts, penises, and vaginas are even close to the sum total of sexuality and I find the intense focus on those sex characteristics disturbing. Why does the video include so many gross visuals to refer to sexual acts? Then scene where she puts whipped cream on her breasts for no apparent reason was confusing, gross, and I felt had very little to do with furthering her “feminist” position. I think, overall, this video and song are not trying to break from the mainstream male/female dynamics found in our heteronormative society. To me, it looked like she was objectifying herself as an object by reducing her value to the size of her butt and her sexuality to how coveted she is by men who don’t want anything to do with a woman unless she has a large butt. That’s a problem. As a woman, I am worth significantly more than the sum total of my body parts.

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