How Nicki Minaj employs sexism to attack Megan Thee Stallion
OPINION: Many of the attacks on Megan in Minaj's diss track "Bigfoot" are rooted in the patriarchy. If you're the so-called "queen of rap" shouldn't you be pro-woman?
Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
There’s so much to hate about Nicki Minaj’s “Bigfoot.” Yes, it’s a terrible song where Minaj rhymes “foot” with “foot.” It’s a song where she spends what feels like 20 minutes talking like an evil Disney villainess who’s taken a break from chasing Dalmatian puppies. She also sounds like Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest” screaming, “No wire hangers ever!” But worse than the aesthetic mess she’s made with this song is this: In “Bigfoot,” Minaj repeatedly relies on misogyny to attack Megan Thee Stallion. It’s bizarre to me to hear a woman use sexism to attack another woman but as @travelingnurse said on TikTok, “Yes [rape] culture and the patriarchy are perpetrated by men but they are upheld and protected by women.” Let’s get into it.
Minaj’s big attack point in the song is to say Meg lied about the Tory Lanez incident. A jury heard her testimony and decided he was guilty so I’m not sure what room Minaj has to question Meg’s integrity. But when women speak up about domestic violence, men often challenge the woman’s credibility and try to destroy her reputation. That’s exactly what Minaj is trying to do in this song. Just like the patriarchy taught her to do.
Minaj also makes a big deal out of the idea that Meg will never be loved by a man, which, she suggests, is because Meg is tall for a woman, as opposed to the petite Minaj. This line of attack is body shaming as well as an attempt to reduce Meg’s worth to whether or not she can keep a man. It dismisses Meg’s numerous professional achievements and places her value solely on whether or not a man has validated her romantically. To judge Meg, or any woman, based on having a man is patriarchal culture. But Minaj is a soldier for the boys.
Minaj also spends a lot of the song trying to shame Meg over sleeping with various men — this is also known as slut-shaming. Of course, Minaj offers not a shred of proof, so who knows if any of these stories are real. But what’s even more heinous in this line of attack is Minaj’s repeated assertions that Meg has used sexual favors to make her way through the music business. I bet most or all of these stories are untrue, but even if they’re not, Minaj should know better. She knows how dangerous the music industry can be for women so to try to turn that culture against Meg is disgusting. It also potentially puts Meg in a tenuous position — what if some egotistical producers or executives believe Minaj and think maybe they can push Meg to do the same for them?
I have learned to expect that whoever is called the queen of rap is a pro-woman MC. Long ago, Roxanne Shante was the queen of rap. Her song “Roxanne’s Revenge,” showed her standing up to the guys which, in a way, felt like her standing up for women all over who were being approached by men on the street in ways they didn’t appreciate. Years after her, Queen Latifah was widely considered the queen of rap. She made what could be the most pro-woman anthem hip-hop has ever had in “Ladies First.” In the ’90s, Lauryn Hill became the undisputed queen of rap. She was by far the best female MC anyone had ever seen, and she emanated pro-woman vibes in everything she did.
No one ever doubted that Shante, Latifah or Hill were allies to women. No one would ever imagine that any of them would make a sexist song attacking another woman. But after watching Minaj pick fights with Meg, Cardi, Latto and other younger women, some people are saying maybe Minaj feels like she’s at war with the younger generation of women rappers. Is she trying to guard against them? Does she think of these younger women as a threat because she’s imbibed the patriarchal notion that there can’t be more than one or two women at the top?
@mishamusings on TikTok said, “For years, young Black women have said that in the workplace their greatest adversary is often older Black women.” She says that Minaj is like the older Black woman in the company, attacking Meg and others because she feels attacked by their very presence. Instead of welcoming them and looking out for them as a woman’s woman would do, she’s dissing them to protect herself. It’s almost like Minaj is a soldier for the patriarchy. Is that how a real queen of rap gets down?
Touré is a host and Creative Director at theGrio. He is the host of Masters of the Game on theGrioTV. He is also the host and creator of the docuseries podcast “Being Black: The ’80s” and the animated show “Star Stories with Toure” which you can find at TheGrio.com/starstories. He is also the host of the podcast “Toure Show” and the podcast docuseries “Who Was Prince?” He is the author of eight books including the Prince biography Nothing Compares 2 U and the ebook The Ivy League Counterfeiter.
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