At this point, you’d pretty much have to be living under a rock to have never heard Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, or seen the video. In less than 24 hours after its release, the video had millions and millions of views on YouTube, which isn’t really surprising, considering all the teasing and coverage that had been done in the weeks leading up to its debut. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the video is full of scantily clad women. The song itself is um… a tad raunchy – and that’s the most demure way that I can put it.
Since we wouldn’t be humans if we didn’t spend almost every waking moment judging the life out of other humans, the song and video for Anaconda has been met with quite a bit of criticism. Actually, that isn’t true. The criticism has been levelled directly at Nicki Minaj. There are countless commenters who have apparently felt it their civic and moral duty to call her a “slut”, “whore”, and I even saw one claim that she is “a disgrace to women.” Let’s get something straight: a whore is someone (male or female) who engages in sexual intercourse in exchange for money; a “slut” (as disgusting as this term is) is someone who engages in sexual intercourse with multiple partners during the same time frame. Wearing revealing clothing or discussing an appreciation for sex does not make a woman a whore or a slut… and even if it does, so the hell what?!
If you personally think that a woman should behave in a certain “ladylike” or “demure” manner, that’s absolutely fine. You have every right to believe that, and if you follow your own beliefs, then all the more power to you. But you should really consider limiting this opinion to your own behaviour and not using it as a weapon for insulting and shaming women who don’t conform to the same mentality. This slut-shaming that we do to any woman who doesn’t fit this Stepford-Wife image really needs to stop. And the worst part is that the majority of this slut-shaming is aimed at women by other women!
We have been so conditioned to accept this “women ought to be seen and not heard” idea that any woman who doesn’t conform to this is immediately held to a set of completely unfair, sexist and inferior standards, especially in relation to men. Allow me to demonstrate my point through a set of lyrics of Anaconda:
Pussy put his ass to sleep
Now he calling me “Nyquil”
Let’s change this lyric to the following:
Dick put her ass to sleep
Now she calling me “Nyquil”
Had these lyrics been sung by someone like Lil Wayne or Drake, I assure you that he would have been lauded as “a lyrical genius”, “pimp”, “boss”, or simply “a man”. But because it was sung Nicki Minaj, it makes her a “slut” and a “disgrace to women”. Considering our society’s vehement protest against anything homosexually related (particularly within the African American culture), these same men who go about rapping about all the pussy they get and sex they have are obviously expected to do their business with women (who either clearly aren’t they wives, or enjoy sex as much as they do). So the issue really isn’t so much that women enjoy sex… the issue seems to be when women admit to enjoying sex. Do we not realise how completely tragic and ridiculous this double standard is? To make matters worse, it doesn’t even stop at sex.
I’m sure you’ve realised that any man (regardless of age, size or physique) can walk down almost any street shirtless and no one would bat an eyelash. Yet, if a woman were to do it, she could literally be arrested for “indecent exposure”. Why? Because we have deemed it perfectly acceptable for a man’s nipples to be visible (again, regardless of size) while women’s nipples (regardless of size) are something obscene and/or sexual. Therefore, while a man is at perfect liberty to expose his chest to his heart’s content, a woman must always ensure that no piece, shadow or hue of her nipple is exposed, lest she be “asking” to get raped – ps, you have no idea how much this particular argument makes my skin crawl… but that’s another topic entirely, so let’s stick with the nipples for now. It is the exact same anatomical feature, but its image and connotation vary with the gender to which it is attached… and this is entirely our fault. It is the Western version of the Middle Eastern burqa: while Muslim men are tethered by no restrictions to show their faces, a proper woman of Allah cannot allow anything but her eyes to be seen in public. We scoff at this mentality and deem it ridiculous and sexist, but aren’t we doing the same thing – just with another part of the body?
We need to stop making women feel like they’re unclean or morally damaged whenever they’re in the least bit vocal about their sexuality, appreciation of sex or awareness of their body. And we need to start with ourselves. Does calling someone a slut make you any more of a saint? Does calling someone a slut make them more of one? Does it make you happier… sleep better at night? Honestly, there’s really no benefit to it (at least none that I can think of). It’s just an awful and unnecessary means of creating a negative atmosphere and negative energies, and it ultimately makes you unhappier. It also significantly hinders any advancement of a changing and improved perception of women, especially in the march for equality. Let’s be positive, folks. Let’s be compassionate and sympathetic and kind. After all, isn’t that what we’d want for ourselves?