OPINION: The double standard for female feuds

This award season has been filled not only with drama, but the backlash on Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Enews.com | The most recent bout of drama has come from Cardi B and Nicki Minaj during NYFW, prompting questions about female artists. 

Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) recently released a diss track aimed at Eminem. Facebook exploded with memes the second it happened. I was apathetic – I prefer Kendrick Lamar – but I noticed a stark parallel between this feud and the ongoing Nicki Minaj and Cardi B feud that recently exploded.

Some backstory before we start: Nicki and Cardi were allegedly at each other’s throats for the last year and a half. The key word here is “allegedly,” because the two women spent far more time denying any beef between them than actually participating in said beef.

Fans analyzed their tracks to locate anything that could be slightly interpreted as a diss. Every single time, Cardi and Nicki denied any hostility. Then, suddenly, as if out of nowhere, Cardi threw a shoe at Nicki during New York Fashion Week. Where did this sudden escalation come from? According to a post on Cardi’s Instagram, Nicki had been making backhanded comments for ages. The straw that broke Cardi’s heel was when Nicki made a comment about Cardi’s child and allegedly said that Cardi wasn’t a good parent.

In a somewhat similar vein, the beef between MGK and Eminem stems from a comment MGK made in 2012 about Eminem’s daughter being “hot as f***.” Jump forward to 2018, Eminem’s “Not Alike” disses MGK by name. MGK responded with “Rap Devil,” calling out Eminem for reigniting a feud from six years ago. Since then, Eminem has fired back with “Kill Shot” and the feud has grown.

My interest lies not in the feuds themselves but the reactions to them. I can acknowledge that the majority of people don’t care about celebrity feuds, so I ignored their reactions. However, I noticed that people communicated their stance on both feuds in starkly different ways.

Nicki and Cardi’s feud was, up until this point, largely speculatory throughout the course of a year. The women took every opportunity to deny a feud, yet people still assumed they were feuding (even when Nicki was spotted enjoying “Bodak Yellow” and tweeted praise at Cardi for the successful track). The start of this feud was even based on a sketchy rumor that Nicki liked an Instagram comment that insulted Cardi’s rapping ability. Despite their protesting, fans constantly speculated that the two were feuding with each other.

It seems people were ready to pit an up-and-coming female rapper against one of the most well-seasoned female rappers of the time. Fans’ constant speculation hid a desire for one of the rappers to be number one, as if there needed to be competition between the two because they were women in an industry teeming to the brim with male performers. Few people stopped to consider that the two could support each other as women in an industry that is not only lacking women but is also incredibly disrespectful toward them.

The worst part of their fight was that it seemed to confirm this speculated competition, when the fight was really over the alleged comments Nicki made about Cardi’s child.

Once the fight happened, I started reading tons of comments calling for either Nicki to retire or for Cardi to stop being so “hood” (a completely different set of racist implications on their own that I won’t be examining in this article).

MGK and Eminem received nowhere near the same amount of criticism or speculated competition. Sure, people have called Eminem “old” and MGK “naïve,” but I’ve never seen someone use any racial stereotypes or tell them to quit rap just because they have a feud. It’s mostly fans taking their favorite rapper’s side. The criticisms levelled at Nicki and Cardi rarely stop to look at objective truths from an unbiased viewpoint.

In the entire time I’ve been keeping track of the music industry, I’ve noticed that female-female feuds are not portrayed as legitimate, especially in the context of male-male feuds. There are always accusations of jealousy, pettiness and unnecessary drama. Even Katy Perry and Taylor Swift were accused of being jealous of each other despite their feud being based on some legitimate accusations of stealing performers during stadium tours. That’s not to mention that many people are saying that Cardi’s husband, Offset, is involved somehow. Even more people are speculating that the feud is entirely fabricated for attention, an accusation that is overwhelmingly thrown at female artists.

Why do female-female feuds always get written off as drama or competition? Meanwhile, male celebrities can fight about anything and not get accused of such things. Let’s not even start on male-female feuds – I rarely see people take the woman’s side (see: Kesha).

These attitudes continue to feed a belief that celeb drama between women isn’t important. Ignoring arguments between two women contributes to a culture that inhibits women from supporting each other and flourishing in this especially sexist industry. We need to stop perpetuating the culture of surface disrespect and pay attention to the real reasons behind why women feud with each other.

By: Trever McKenzie | Online Editor