Albeit, Iggy Azalea’s fame is also contingent on her vagina being wrapped in a package that is regarded as “exceptionally attractive” in this society.
Iggy recently told Vanity Fair, that the reason she’s criticized so often “has 100,000 percent to do with the fact that I have a vagina.”
While some of the criticism about her does tend to be littered with problematic, gendered insults and threats, there is also far more tolerance of her in-authenticity and inferior rap dexterity because her sex appeal is marketable.
Similarly, Elvis’ success with a black American-dominated genre can be attributed to those pretty boy looks (and charm), appealing mostly to white teenage girls. Bill Haley, although also white, didn’t have those looks. He “looked more like a math teacher than a rock ’n’ roller,” as Todd “Stereo” Williams points out.
For some young men, Iggy’s looks trump whether or not she has talent, but her largest markets are teens who want to be similarly fetishized by boys (and man-children), and white women who think “being a ‘basic bitch’ is the best thing ever.”
“Iggy IS TRASH I’d still fuck though”
“Iggy Azalea sucks at rapping lmfao. Id still fuck her though.”
“Iggy azalea music sucks but Idc what none of ya’ll say I’ll still fuck her”
“How do people listen to Iggy Azealia? The bitch sucks, I’ll still fuck, though.”
Though Nicki Minaj’s basic-ness, curves and hyper-sexuality are also easier to peddle than the contrary, over the years we have witnessed her being slammed for her sexuality by both white media and music fans alike.
Both Iggy and Nicki use their womanhood to their advantage in a male-dominated, sexist genre but only the former is allowed the cover of “Omg, stop slut shaming!” Why? Per American tradition, white women are exoticized and celebrated when they add characteristics seen as typical or expected in non-white women, e.g.: “Bo Derek braids.”
Along with elevated praise, they receive undue credit, wider reach and financial gains for being “black-ish,” white with “black attributes” in this instance. Oddly, however, those same cultural characteristics on the women of color from which they originated are less attractive, rejected, seen as a nuisance and penalized, e.g. the Williams’ sister’s “noisey” hair beads.
Even by “black-ish” Western beauty standards, being a white, “attractive” person with a vagina makes Iggy the standard of beauty, as well as the preferred display of female sexuality. Those same attributes, with the presumption that she was born with that vagina, makes her more valuable, and thus more worthy of protection.
While we know of at least one black female rapper being gang-raped, murdered and set on fire by black men for out-performing them, there seems to be more vocalized interest in safeguarding Iggy Azalea. This phenomenon was seen in a brighter light when rapper Snoop Dogg made Iggy the butt of his jokes via Instagram.
Her “Hip-hop Damsel-in-Distress” act led to an immediate response from white women like TMZ’s Charlie Neff, who said that Snoop’s behaviour should be taken more seriously because Iggy is “a blonde white woman!”
Ah, the innocent, angelic and pure blonde white woman. Protect her while laughing at T.I.’s physical threats toward Azealia Banks. Protect her while she disrespects hip-hop legend Q-Tip, who genuinely attempted to reach out with a history on the genre that she, T.I. and white media, so badly want to see her accepted into and “dominate.”
White media couldn’t wait to project Iggy’s “hip-hop takeover” as her single “Fancy” had just hit the charts. Why is it needed that she dominate in hip-hop, a genre she cares nothing about, instead of pop?
Conversely, we don’t see the same coddling for white male rappers. Eminem, Aesop Rock, Yelawolf, and MGK are not allowed to have sub-par rap skills while disrespecting a culture they want to be respected in. Whether you like them or not these men tell their stories in their own unique ways, not mimicking someone else. And as with everyone else in hip-hop, they aren’t allowed to whine about being criticized within a genre that requires artists show and prove.
However in her Vanity Fair interview, Iggy also stated that fellow white rapper Macklemore does not receive criticism. Where was she when shit was hitting the fan over his Hip-hop Album Grammy nomination and win? How did she miss the backlash over Macklemore, a straight cis-gendered white male, getting accolades for “Same Love,” as if LGBT artists haven’t projected the same sentiments into their music for years?
As someone who enjoyed Macklemore’s 2012 album The Heist, I appreciated hearing his truth, as I do with any other artist. However, I also noticed that white media was applauding him as the only artist expressing that kind of honesty in a sea of misogyny and materialism.
Macklemore does not stand out because he raps about something that no one else does; he stands out because he is being allowed to rise to the top. This alone is enough to enrage hip-hop fans, who don’t need white-owned “mainstream” media telling us which artists are worth listening to or supporting. These same gatekeepers ignore the plethora of artists who speak on social issues, seek to uplift, and reject bashing of women. But Macklemore is “saving hip-hop”?
Hip-hop does not need Macklemore, who, by the way, recognizes his white privilege as a factor in his advancement.
“This is a culture that came from pain, it came from oppression, it came from white oppression… you cannot disregard where this culture came from and our place in it as white people.”
The genre certainly doesn’t need him more than it needs Black Thought (of The Roots), Kendrick Lamar, Wu-Tang, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T., Andre 3000, Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def), CunninLynguists, Danny Brown, Murs, Joey Bada$$, Pharoahe Monch, J. Cole, Common, Tech N9ne, Jean Grae, etc.
The last name on that list happens to have a vagina just like Iggy, but there’s no room for her in white-dominated pop culture or hyper-sexualized, mediocre pop rap… not that she’d want to be included in either. Jean finds herself among fierce, yet under-appreciated minorities within a minority in hip-hop.
This group includes Minneapolis lyricist Dessa, Canadian rapper Eternia, or Portland, Maine emcee Lady Essence: all three of which are white with vaginas. All four of the aforementioned women also have actual rap skills unlike Iggy Azalea, who will probably earn a rap Grammy this year despite refusing to drop a freestyle over a “hood ass beat.” And unlike her, these women will remain obscure.
There’s also Nitty Scott MC, Angel Haze, Snow Da Product, M.I.A., Rapsody, MC Melodee, Lil Mama, Azealia, and many more whose successes have less to do with their “attitudes” and more to do with how marketable they are for predominantly white audiences.
These women rappers, like those before them, also deal with issues of sexism, racism, sexual preferences, politics, falling on either side of the “beauty spectrum” and genre classification. Yet each of these women is a scorching wall of natural flames compared to Iggy Azalea’s artificial spark.
She is not criticized because she is a woman, she is criticized for being a modern-day Jim Crow era-inspired minstrel without the blackened face.