There’s been a lot of controversy brewing on the internet surrounding Nicki Minaj’s new wax figure at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. If you haven’t already checked it out online, it’s basically a wax still from Minaj’s now-famous Anaconda music video. [If you haven’t checked out the music video, you might want to do that now to get some context].
If I’m being completely honest, I find myself torn as to how I feel about the issue. I absolutely understand why many black folks are upset that she is put on all fours, but at the same time, Anaconda is an iconic music video [regardless if you found it distasteful or not]. I think many folks are forgetting that Minaj is known for showing her body and also supported the decisions made about her wax figure. I mean, I could understand the rage if Minaj objected to the figure, or if they showed a celebrity like Venus Williams in this way, but neither occured. Therefore, I can’t help but feel like this is a case of respectability politics, where being on all fours is evidently “offensive” [despite the fact that Minaj WAS on all fours in the video]. It’s odd to me that people who are fans of her music and overall visual aesthetic are surprised that she would be represented in this way at the museum.
On the other hand, I do understand how fatiguing it is to constantly see women’s sexuality represented in the exact same trite, almost pornographic ways. I’m not saying women shouldn’t do this, or can’t do this, I’m just personally exhausted when it comes to the exact same type of imagery being pumped into our culture [especially when we rarely get to see men’s bodies on display].
As Azealia Banks said on twitter:
“As much as that woman has accomplished, they had to put her on all fours… Why not standing up with a mic in her hand ???Martha Stewart’s most iconic moment was when she went to jail but they didn’t put her wax figure in a jail uniform… Come on y’all…”
However, for me, what was shocking wasn’t the fact that Minaj was on all fours, but how the public responded to her body…even in wax form.
I think Nicki Minaj’s wax figure accidentally became a performance art piece that demonstrated how violent white supremacist patriarchy is. Not only was a white woman touching Nicki’s butt, but a man was emulating sex with her figure. The fact that a one-dimensional wax figure of a black woman was violated in such public ways demonstrates how even a representation of a black woman’s body isn’t safe from being violated.
Theoretically, as feminists have been purporting for a while, women should be allowed to stylize themselves however they want. But, the violation of Minaj’s wax figure is proof for quite the opposite. This is the crux of the post-feminist struggle: women are represented as sexually liberated, yet are situated in a rape culture where they are routinely violated.
The museum is going to add more staff and security to ensure that people stop violating her wax figure. Some folks on twitter state that the figure should just be removed because the violations won’t stop.
They might as well just remove that Nicki Minaj wax figure. That’s the only way people will stop posing with it, lmao.
— K a r i o. (@karrry_) August 19, 2015
How pathetic [and scary] is it that people can’t be around a black woman’s sexualized image without violating it?
This should concern us more than Minaj being on her hands and knees.