September 14, 2010
I have been thoroughly enjoying all of your post-Postrel posts, and figured that perhaps I should join in on these meditations on “attractive wrappings.”
Minaj is a Queens native, and one of few women associated with Lil’ Wayne’s Young Money. But, what does this have to do with “Surface and Substance”? Postrel writes, “we judge people, places, and things at least in part by how they look. We care about surfaces.” (458) Hip hop (as is the case with many music/media/art forms) is often associated with the objectification of women, “sex sells,” and a place where “image is everything” and in this case the image of women comes with cleavage, bling, and seductive dancing. As Postrel points out, “we’re simply attracted to anything that helps us compete for recognition and dominance.” (459) In this case, it appears that “recognition” and “dominance” is achieved through money, fame, and girls.
But, then we have Minaj. A woman who refers to herself as “Barbie” and as a “bad bitch.” And, it seems like people (the public) do not know what to do with such proclamations.
In a recent interview, Minaj said, “I started making it my business to say things that would empower women, like, ‘Where my bad bitches at?’ to let them know I’m here for you.”
Minaj puts hip hop first (“substance”) and decidedly takes the “road less traveled” approach to “surface.” Do you think that Minaj’s real appeal is that she has changed the stakes for the hip hop industry? Is it possible to really change gender roles and the way “aesthetic value” is affixed to different sexes?
Why can’t I stop listening?
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