An in-depth look at Nicki Minaj’s discography, as well as behind-the-scenes interviews with the artist, reveals that feminist ideas are present throughout her work.
When Vogue asked Minaj the celebrity question du jour — whether or not she identifies as a feminist — her rather answer, though astute, revealed a degree of hesitation to adopting the label.
Critics picked up on feminist themes on Pinkprint. What’s your relationship with feminism at the moment?
You know, I feel like certain words can box you in. I think of myself as a woman who wants other women to be bosses and to be strong and to be go-getters. I’ve always said that, since I came in the game, even when I was doing mixtapes. I don’t know. There are things that I do that feminists don’t like, and there are things that I do that they do like. I don’t label myself. I just say the truth about what I feel: I feel like women can do anything that they put their minds to. That’s really the truth—I started off with just a dream.
There are sexual things that I do that aren’t for a man. I feel empowered sometimes by being sexy and being comfortable enough to be sexy on camera—a lot of woman struggle with that. But there are some days that I don’t want anyone to see me. I’m just a regular girl. Some days I’m super strong; some days I’m super insecure. But I don’t really identify with any particular label. I just speak my truth and if people like it, they like it, and if they bash it, they bash it.
Her answer seemed like a response targeted at White Feminist™ critiques that don’t leave room for women like Nicki Minaj in the realm of sex positivity. These critiques often insist that everything she does is performance and nothing more, therefore it can’t be positive, essentially defining her by the “Anaconda” video.
But Nicki Minaj is person, not just a character in a song. To say she’s not feminist is reductive. Even though she’s ditched the bright wigs and opened up more about her past, it’s obvious she’s still the same, old Nicki, feminism and all.