(If you want a prelude to this, go and read that, and if you already read that let me just unpack this latest situation for you real quick.)
Last night, Onika Maraj – more commonly known as the Greatest Living Rapper Yes Even Greater Than Hov Lately, more commonly commonly known as Nicki Minaj – laid out some home truths about award shows and officials, the treatment of black bodies compared to white bodies and the very real actuality that while black women are making the culture, white women are borrowing (okay, call a spade a spade – stealing) it and taking all the due credit. To anyone who isn’t a complete arsehole, not only are these arguments familiar (tediously familiar!) but it was fairly obvious that the tweets weren’t an attack on any artist particularly, but directed at MTV and other organisations that perpetuate this inequality. On a level – Nicki was hating the game not the player, even if she had to mention a player to illustrate the point.
And before we move on, let’s be clear about who Nicki was talking about when she was indirecting. The ‘Anaconda’ video, which Nicki felt was deserving of a Video Of The Year nomination, snatched the VEVO record from Miley’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ (which did earn a VOTY nom) and reclaimed black women’s bodies for black women… after Miley spent the whole of 2013 building an adult career on the back of strapping on a fake booty and twerking her way to stratospheric success. If you rundown Nicki’s tweets and retweets, she was drawing parallels, not suggesting any of this year’s nominees had taken her spot. Her argument was specifically about the difference in the way white bodies and black bodies are portrayed. It’s an argument she’s made before, when she compared “acceptable” white girls in bikinis to her “unacceptable” ‘Anaconda’ cover art.
The thing is, if you’re an ignorant white girl who obsessively reads about yourself on tumblr and truly truly believes that bleating “don’t pit women against each other!” at intermittent intervals makes you a standard bearer for feminism, all these valid, intersectional points are not going to register with you. If you’re a tyrant drunk on your own fucking kool aid and think everything in the world revolves around you, you’ll definitely have the audacity to insert yourself into conversations that are not and never were about you. And if your whole entire schtick is that you’re just the pretty princess and people are always mean to you (even when you try to be nice!!)… well then derailing a situation, centering yourself as the victim and completely reconstructing the media narrative shouldn’t be much of a reach for you.
Enter, Taylor Swift.
I can’t believe I didn’t even have to wait a week before Taylor Swift proved my exact point about show and tell feminism. And in such a spectacularly unambiguous and public way! There’s Nicki, wryly pointing out the systematic wrongs of award shows on her own platform, in her own space. And here’s Taylor, making it all about her because she’s so marinaded in her privilege she can’t detect the bullshit tinge of her own behaviour.
The initial tweet was a complete fucking misfire, but it was also fairly standard Taylor Swift fare. “Why are you pitting women against each other? Why are you being mean to me? I’ve been nothing but supportive of you! Don’t forget that I fucking made you with that cutesy, off-cadence rendition of ‘Super Bass’ and you fucking owe me, know your place, bitch.” Okay, the last bit wasn’t said. But it was implied and you know it.
To anyone who has stayed woke on Taylor Swift – even when everyone else believed her previous track record, which is absolutely rancid with issues-with-other-women, was just the follies of youth – the first tweet was unsurprising. Of course Taylor Swift thinks that way. Her feminism is an illusion. Her feminism is activated only when it serves in the interest of Taylor Swift. She’s been using it as a shield to deflect criticism (both warranted, and unfair) ever since she realised how powerful it is to paint MISOGYNY in big red letters on anything she can’t engage with because she’s not clever enough. She doesn’t ever speak on anything related to feminism other than how it means you better not say anything to her that isn’t praise or genuflection, because otherwise you hate women. Not just this specific woman who deserves it. ALL OF THEM. You woman hater.
Yeah, the first tweet was unsurprising. But the second tweet?
The second tweet is ugly. Real fucking ugly. The smug entitlement in every syllable clogs my throat and my pores and clings to my hair and makes it stink of Eau de Faux Feminism. There was no apology, no acceptance that Taylor had dipped her feet into a pool she has no business swimming in, no real acknowledgement that Nicki had just dared to do what so many others will not, and challenged her to start putting her money where her mouth is. Just a condescending offer to “share” Taylor’s stage, as though Nicki doesn’t have stages of her own, as though a black woman can only speak when invited to by a white woman.
I honestly don’t have time to go through the race element tied up in this, because my hair is wet and I have to be on a bus in 25 minutes, but hear me when I say this: Taylor doesn’t care about Nicki’s concerns, because she doesn’t care about other women. If it wasn’t obvious enough to you when she wrote ‘Bad Blood’, then rounded up her army of girl props that support this sham feminism to film a video quite literally about pitting women against each other, please tell me it is abundantly clear to you now. Taylor Swift is not a fucking feminist. Stop letting her invoke the sisterhood when it suits her.