My Anaconda Don't: Nicki Minaj's Ass And Feminism

With the debut of Nicki Minaj's third album The Pinkprint this week, I wondered where feminism and the star's overt sexuality meet. Can a woman objectify herself? Is that feminist? What is the meaning of life with a vagina, anyway?


In a time where gender equality—or rather the discussion around gender equality—is so popular, I wrangled a few smart folks including Roxane Gay, Minya "Miss Info" Oh, Brittney C. Cooper, Treva B. Lindsey and Uri McMillan to weigh in on Nicki Minaj, feminism and America's infatuation with a big black butt. Enjoy!



You guys are doing videos now?!?!?! This is GREAT. Hillary, you're a hero.

This has always mystified me—so many feminists seem unwilling to distinguish between analyzing how the media consistently portrays women as sexual playthings, and looking at how individual women can consciously take on those portrayals in ways that can be problematic or transgressive or, often, both. It's really hard to reclaim your own sexuality when it's used, at the same time, as a tool to oppress you, but it's important. To deny women's agency in reclaiming their sexuality for themselves, to cede it to sexism, is another way of narrowing down the spectrum of human experience and expression that is available to women. And that's the whole problem of sexism to begin with—it disallows women from having access to the full spectrum of human experience. The problem with media portrayals of women as sex objects is not that women should not be seen expressing their own sexuality—it's that women are portrayed ONLY as sexual objects, and that female sexuality is something presented as existing purely for the benefit of those who behold it (rather than for the woman herself).