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Music industry divided over feminism

Feminism has become the newest buzzword among young, famous women in various industries. The music industry in particular has a few of the most iconic feminists of our time, including Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and in not so many words, Nicki Minaj. Minaj prefers not to “box herself in” with the term “feminist,” but agrees with most aspects of the culture. For the purposes of this article, I am using the word feminist in the most flexible sense that can be applied to three of the most prominent voices in the music industry.

To clarify, the three women listed represent some of the more vocal feminists in the music industry in terms of their views . Miley Cyrus is a known brand for her transformation from Disney Channel phenomenon to obscure stoner, who was so provocative she was chosen as the host, and therefore a spokesperson, for the Video Music Awards (VMAs) on MTV this year. Taylor Swift has become an utter sensation by amassing an incredible following of fans, like those that will take 8 months to make her a sweater with her face on it (!). Die-hard is a fairly accurate term to describe Swift’s fan-base, as well as her influential reach. She has made her stance as a feminist clear, and also created the ultimate girl-group of friends that include successful women from many industries, including fashion and television. She advocates for the advancement of women, and believes that “other women who are killing it should motivate you.”

Nicki Minaj, while not an outspoken feminist, does do a fair job of speaking out against people who insult her for being sexual in a public way. Her main point, which she made in an interview with Vogue, is that women should be able to act however they want and should be respected and praised for their accomplishments. All of these women have worked to fight the judgment placed on females by outsiders, and yet they are each other’s greatest enemies in this fight for equality.

The most recent event portraying the chaos in the music industry among women is the now famous altercation between Minaj and Cyrus on stage at the VMAs on August 30. It is believed by some that this was an elaborate prank for more publicity, but the circumstances surrounding the event are far too controversial and those rumors have never been verified. The backstory appears to trace back to June after the award nominations were announced. Nicki Minaj took to Twitter after her iconic video for “Anaconda,” which broke Vevo video services viewing record within 24 hours, was snubbed for Video of the Year.

She expressed her discontent quite publicly, inciting a small altercation with Swift in the process about unfairness in the industry about the traditional woman’s body type. Eventually the argument was deemed a miscommunication, but the tweets rippled through the industry. Weeks later, before her VMA hosting appearance, Cyrus was asked about Minaj’s outrage over her snub at the nomination. She answered that Minaj responded typically, and was “not very polite.” After these comments, the day of the VMAs came, as did Cyrus’ reckoning. While on stage, Nicki took a moment to call out Cyrus about this with the now infamous “Miley, what’s good?” However, aside from all of that, the fact still remains that this tension between female artists exists and must be acknowledged. From the beginning, it is evident that Taylor Swift immediately took Minaj’s tweets as direct offense to herself, because that is the state of the industry. These women are used to attacks from all sides at all times, which makes for a hostile industry and often times terrible public figures.

Our music industry has created these women with incredible reaches of influence that have opportunities that most people could never dream of. They rush to describe themselves in a positive light, such as feminists, that make them positive role models, in theory. However, if these women continue to talk the talk without walking the walk, the women and young girls who look up to them and idolize them will receive the wrong message, which is that in order to succeed, women need to tear each other down and claw their way to the top, as seen in the Minaj and Swift feud. Minaj took to a defensive stance and Swift took it as a personal attack as she has apparently become accustomed to them. This should never be a gut reaction among females, as is calling out another artist in front of millions of viewers. That type of confrontation is going to be the standard for women, unless these artists wise up and live to the title of “feminists.”

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Music industry divided over feminism