Earlier this month, a Madame Tussauds wax figure of Nicki Minaj was revealed, featuring a version of Minaj from her "Anaconda" video, frozen in time on all fours. Azealia Banks called out the obvious objectification, pointing out, "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???"
Minaj is a six-time Grammy nominated artist who is constantly belittled in the media, portrayed as a crazy person with a big butt. Last month when Minaj and Swift had the brief Twitter feud, Entertainment Weekly was called out when they tweeted about the conflict with a smiling photo of Swift and one of Minaj that made the singer look unhinged. Though EW apologized, they were just the latest to unconsciously put Minaj down. Minaj is an unapologetic feminist who isn't afraid to call out sexism in the music industry and assert her own power. She explained in her MTV documentary My Time Now, that she isn't afraid to demand the best from people, but realizes the double standards she and other women face, saying, "When I am assertive, I'm a bitch, and when a man is assertive, he's a boss." Minaj is all about leaning way, way in. She recognizes the undeserved rep she courts by being aggressive, but she doesn't let that stop her from demanding excellence.
At a recent visit to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia she spoke again about the importance of women speaking up for themselves and for their work, saying, "I think it's important for girls to be very hands-on with whatever they do, be in charge, take control, and lead your own destiny." Those words are just as meaningful for a young girl to hear as any of Swift's pieces of advice, but Minaj is rarely lauded as a role model like Swift is.
"Anaconda" has become an iconic video, and Minaj looks amazing in it. But by capturing her on all fours, the wax figure and those behind it are taking away her power, her agency over the video and her career. She isn't an object: she's a smart, talented artist who performed a song that has more than 490 million views on YouTube and was certified double platinum. She deserves more than being reduced to a singer with a big butt— she deserves respect.