Female celebrity musicians generally look as though they get along, but last night there was a rift. They seemed to sense a threat. Rhianna, Katy Perry, and Ke$ha all reportedly acted like they were friends with rap artist Nicki Minaj, and then started taunting her. Each groped her butt and then laughed about how fake it was. This was Nicki’s first time at the American Music Awards, and I doubt she expected such a two-faced welcome from her fellow female artists. According to the source: “You could see the hurt on Nicki’s face.” I’d be hurt too. I can’t imagine being ganged up on by women I respect and even molested—actually, I was once 13, so never mind, I guess I can.
In the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Naomi Wolf wrote a piece called “girl vs. girl” in which she analyzes female rivalries. It starts out with her own relation on the playground, in which she was rejected from a clique of girls who used to be her “friends.” She writes how common this experience is: “What was your earliest heartbreak? Was your first devastation caused by a guy? Unlikely. If you are a woman, chances are your first experience of emotional treachery was at the hands of another girl.” She explains that “women mix up love and longing with hostility” and are “attracted to what they wish to condemn or destroy.” Take heed, Nicki: “When women are in groups, often the jockeying for position, the alliance forming, the exclusion, and the power politics can be so savage that one starts looking around desperately for a whiff of testosterone just to calm things down.”
I wonder what would have happened if Drake had been there. Chances are they would have kept their hands to themselves and acted the way they’d like a man to see them. Left to their own devices, with a newcomer as an easy target, they let the playground impulse takeover. They tried to bring down what they were attracted to, or what they feared. I doubt Ke$ha will be able to silence Nicki Minaj. There is a question of talent at stake. Say what you will, but I am very impressed by Ms. Minaj. Her rhymes are so different and recognizable, in my opinion she saves tracks. I feel like she beats the boys at their own game and they treat her like a queen. Ke$ha does not have this power behind her belt, and Katy Perry is a pop star in a long chain of pop stars. Her merit is questionable and her marriage has made her famous. I like Rhianna, but then there’s always the good girl who gives in to peer pressure. Imagine Nicki staring up at Rhianna, a sort of confused “Et tu, Brute?” look on her face.
I finished “The Bell Jar” last night. One of the best quotes from the book about depression, suicide, and the build-up to a nervous breakdown was this:
“I don’t see what women see in other women,” I told Doctor Nolan in my interview that noon. “What does a woman see in a woman that she can’t see in a man?”
Doctor Nolan paused. Then she said, “Tenderness.”
I think it comes down to tenderness. Wolf resolves her argument in a similar vein, saying we should understand attraction is at the height of rivalry. If the tendency is to repress a dark emotion, we should recognize it and bring it to the light. We should also make friends with people worthy of our trust: “Perhaps we should better learn which women around us are true friends and true allies and which women we should recognize for their alluring, socially cruel edge. And having recognized it, turn our backs and flee.”
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