Thanks, TSwift -- I'm Even More Excited to See Nicki Minaj


When it comes to choosing which concerts to attend, I am very deliberate. There's a lot to contend with when it comes to investing time and money into live music: paying absurd ticketing fees, finding someone with similar music taste to serve as a partner in concert crime, schlepping to an (often) inconvenient location and then struggling with the inevitable mob of other fans.

So, if I can't get no satisfaction from the various terrors of concert going, I need to be 1000 percent sure that the artist I'm paying (financially, physically, emotionally) to see is worth it.

Who makes the cut this week? Nicki Minaj. Who doesn't? Taylor Swift.

I have had to endure hearing people -- namely mothers of children I used to babysit -- rave about Taylor's live performances, but I refuse to be fooled by her high-waisted short theatrics.

I'm much more interested in her failed feminist twitter theatrics from Tuesday night, in which she took Nicki Minaj's thoughtful -- and actually feminist -- comments on the VMA nominations and made them all about her.

It was to the third tweet that TSwift responded:

So much for "shaking it off." Let's break down all the problems in this character-constrained misfire:
  1. There is no evidence Nicki was targeting Taylor in any of those tweets.
  2. Even if Nicki was targeting Taylor, the "let's not pit women against each other" trope is rather antiquated and uninformed, because, as Nicki is attempting to point out, not all women are equal, whether it's because of race, body type, religion or myriad other reasons. Unfortunate, but true.
  3. Men? Who was talking about men? Nicki surely wasn't.
  4. As Taylor says herself, "Haters gonna hate" Even though she's expressing "love" and "support," Taylor seems to be hating, if not on Nicki herself, at least on her tweets.
Naturally, this tweet frustrates me to no end, but I also find it validating.

Ever since Taylor's "feminist awakening," I've grown increasingly frustrated with her and the devotees who insist she is a shining beacon of feminism ("OK -- But have you seen the 'Bad Blood' video? She is such a feminist!" -- my male cousin).

I am also fed up with how often I find myself defending Nicki Minaj as a feminist. The mere fact that anyone would suggest that a woman who has said, "Women should be allowed to be as hardcore and sexual as we want, because men do it all the time," (V Magazine) isn't a feminist is simply absurd.

It is even more preposterous how often I have encountered people pointing to the sexuality in her songs and videos as reasons why she isn't a feminist. To those people: The train to the 1950s is leaving in five minutes, thank you.

This little Twitter feud sums up that cauldron of frustration. But now I finally have hard (digital) evidence of Taylor's not-quite-up-to-snuff feminism. I was not a fan of Taylor before her crossover to the feminist light side because I didn't like the fairy-tale messages of her songs.

But even now that she has struck a different chord, I can't help but be irritated by the general population's tendency to celebrate this mainstream feminist neophyte and ignore, or worse, lambaste, Nicki Minaj, who has proven herself a well-informed feminist and articulate representative for women of color and (as Taylor would want it) women in general.

I am not criticizing Taylor Swift for being a feminist. That would be very non-feminist of me. I am instead critiquing her feminism because, as this tweet proves, she (and pretty much all feminists) have a lot to learn. Her second tweet to Nicki demonstrates this fact again:

Taylor's sentiments are lovely, but they are idealistic. Nicki was not looking for an invitation to the stage. Her tweets were not a cry for sisterhood, but instead a succinct and pointed set of comments on the music industry's (and society's) deep-seated biases against the type of woman Nicki Minaj is and the women she represents.

The fact of the matter is, Nicki is not invited to any stage Taylor is on, because Taylor enjoys a specific set of privileges that have helped propel her to those platforms. Nicki is not hating on Taylor in her tweets -- She is hating on those privileges and the absurdity of their continued existence in 2015.

That woman, that feminist -- the one who uses her high-profile status to put the spotlight on real contemporary issues in feminism like prejudices against women of color -- is the one I'm paying good money to see this week. Having witnessed this feud, I am even more excited to see Nicki Minaj take to the stage, for it is her own, well-earned stage, and it is one she uses for the greater feminist good. She doesn't need Taylor Swift up there with her to do that.

Image credit: By Jhonnnnnnnnnnnnnn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons