“To the beanpole dames in the magazines, you ain’t it Miss Thing.” 1
Nicki Minaj is not a “beanpole dame.”
But she is a woman “in the magazines,” a woman whose artistic contributions have a pivotal role in our culture, a woman whose identity and body are often objectified to appease a patriarchal, male gaze.
She is made into a thing— she is Miss Thing.
What glorifies the female body versus commodifies it? Who gets to do so? What was Nicki’s specific role as a performer and producer, and how does that knowledge impact our opinion of her construction of her own image as self-objectification or sexual empowerment? This is the conversation we hope to start (and, *spoiler alert*, questions that we do not definitively answer).
With an emphasis on digital humanities and creative engagement, we also have creatively explored these questions through making a 360° music video. 360° technology allows for the viewer to navigate their own literal gaze of the video–a subverting of the male gaze, which has been a fundamental theory in informing our perceptions of “Anaconda.”
Thus, 360ing Miss Thing.
Begin by watching the original video if you haven’t already–then, read some of our critical “conversation,” watch our video(s)–and, hopefully, leave with a more informed, nuanced view of Nicki, of the construction of the male gaze in pop culture, and of the agency of women in either capitulating to their own objectification or subverting it in a powerful, critical way.
- (GIF): Thorpe, Isha. “Here Are 20 Levels We Hope To Find In Nicki Minaj’s Upcoming Video Game.” VH1 News. Viacon International Inc., 6 Aug. 2015. Web.