One of the delights of living in our modern media age, swept with the equalizing brush of feminism, is that when female public figures say things that are stupid and wrong and immoral, we can freely and vociferously call them on their bullshit. After all, they are full humans who are responsible for their thoughts, and that’s what Mary Wollstonecraft would have wanted.
And yet, one of the accompanying ironies is that many people, particularly men, still cannot take down a woman’s abhorrent beliefs without resorting to juvenile public sexism (think of all the male liberal pundits who can’t stop their attacks on Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter from devolving into misogyny).
For another example of this trend, take the latest stage of the Iggy Azalea vs. Azealia Banks “debate” or beef, in which some faction of Anonymous threatened to release Iggy Azalea’s supposed sex tape because she has made, as we have noted, legitimately awful statements.
According to E! News, here are some of the now-removed tweets:
“MESSAGE: @IGGYAZALEA, you have exactly 48 hours from now to release a statement apologizing to @AzealiaBanks and the protesters in NYC…” one of the tweets captured by Vulture read. “You are guilty of misappropriating black culture, insulting peaceful protesters, and making light of Eric Garner’s death. @IGGYAZALEA” Another tweet read, “There’s an X rated tape of you, we bet you’d certainly don’t want public, are we right? @IGGYAZALEA….and this is nothing. Comply or else.” The account has since been suspended by Twitter.
Yes, the blonde rapper from Down Under may be guilty of misappropriating culture and minimizing the tragedy of Garner’s death, as these hackers alleged, but must she be sexually humiliated as punishment? Isn’t there a more creative, less sexist way to show her up? Can’t someone just explain to the world why she’s being clueless and offending others?
But take heart, dear readers, because in fact, this wiser diss actually occurred! Indeed, this was the very weekend Q-Tip came online and endeavored to explain — no, not mansplain — to Azalea the racial history she was entering as an artist and the context of the blow-up between her and Banks.
“Hip-hop is fun,” Q-Tip said in the series of Twitter posts. “It’s vile. It’s dance. It’s traditional. It’s light-hearted, but one thing it can never detach itself from is being a socio-political movement. You may ask, ‘Why?’ Well, once you are born black, your existence, I believe, is joined with socio-political epitaph and philos[ophy]. “Based on the tangled and treacherous history, slavery alone, this is the case. It never leaves our conversation…Ever,” he continued. “Whether in our universities, our dinner tables, our studios or jail cells, the effects still resonate with us. It hurts… We get emotional and angry and melancholy.” Before ending his posts, Q-Tip explained why he was sending these updates directly to Iggy Azalea. “You are a hip-hop artist who has the right to express herself however she wishes,” Q-Tip said. “This is not a chastisement. This is not admonishment at all. This is just one artist reaching to another hoping to spark insight into the field you are in. I say this in the spirit of a hopeful healthy dialogue that maybe one day we can continue.”
This coda was perhaps more gracious than Azalea deserved, but Q-Tip’s stream of tweets certainly did its job of educating the audience eagerly watching the “beef” unfold — while making Azalea look ignorant, and giving her a chance to consider her comments that she will likely not take (especially given T.I’s somewhat confused defense of his protégé).
As a final thought, let’s not forget that Azealia Banks herself came up with the most potent comeback of all for her rival’s foolishness.
The fact that she called Iggy “Igloo Australia,” and that it has stuck in many a mind to become the pop star’s de facto nickname on this and other blogs, is proof that wit and humor and even silliness can get us a lot further in these arguments than dull, garden variety slut-shaming.