Nicki Minaj is not a woman who easily slides into the roles assigned to women in her industry or elsewhere. She’s not polished, she’s not concerned with her reputation, and she’s certainly not fighting for equality among mainstream second-wave feminists. She’s something else, and she’s something equally worth giving credence to: a boundary-breaker, a nasty bitch, a self-proclaimed queen, a self-determined and self-made artist. She’s one of the boys, and she does it with the intent to subvert what it means. She sings about sexy women, about fucking around with different men. She raps about racing ahead in the game, imagines up her own strings of accolades, and rolls with a rap family notorious for dirty rhymes, foul mouths, and disregard for authority and hegemony.
While Beyoncé has expanded feminist discourse by reveling in her role as a mother and wife while also fighting for women’s rights, Minaj has been showing her teeth in her climb to the top of a male-dominated genre. Both, in the process, have expanded our society’s idea of what an empowered women looks like — but Minaj’s feminist credentials still frequently come under fire. To me, it seems like a clear-cut case of respectability politics and mainstreaming of the feminist movement: while feminist writers raved over Beyoncé’s latest album and the undertones of sexuality and empowerment that came with it, many have questioned Minaj’s decisions over the years to subvert beauty norms using her own body, graphically talk dirty in her work, and occasionally declare herself dominant in discourse about other women. (All of these areas of concern, however, didn’t seem to come into play when Queen Bey did the same.)"
"Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It’s always there, though."
I carefully avoided the car commercial aesthetics or the army recruitment video aesthetics. I avoided making a movie about an army with ranks. I avoided making any kind of message that says war is good. We have enough firepower in the world. I was very careful how I built the movie.
One of the other things I decided was that I wanted a female lead (Babel’s Rinko Kikuchi) who has the equal force as the male leads. She’s not going to be a sex kitten, she’s not going to come out in cutoff shorts and a tank top, and it’s going to be a real earnestly drawn character. One of the decisions we made as we went along in the process of the movie was, let’s not have a love story. Let’s have a story about two people…
I have been offered movies that have huge budgets that have war at its centre and I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ I have two daughters and I wanted to make this movie for kids. It’s my lightest movie and yet it’s one of the most precise, adult exercises in world design I’ve ever made. It has the craft of a 48-year-old (del Toro’s age) and the heart of a 12-year-old.
What I wanted was for kids to see a movie where they don’t need to aspire to be in an army to aspire for an adventure. And I used very deliberate language that is a reference to westerns. I don’t have captains, majors, generals. I have a marshal, rangers…it has the language of an adventure movie. I want kids to come out of the movie and say, I want to be a Jaeger pilot! I really think that would be my dream come true."
"I’m going to tell you what a demon once told me: It is okay to want your own happiness. It’s okay to care about yourself the most. It’s okay to do what’s healthy for YOU. When someone hits you, it’s okay to hit back and then ask them what the hell they expected. It’s okay. You are not obligated to sit there and smile and swallow every bit of shit everyone heaps on you. You are more than furniture, you’re more than window dressing, you’re not their shiny toy. You’re human, and you have the right to say “That was shitty of you”. You have a right to say “Let me feed that back to you; tell me, how does it taste?” You have a right to protest your own mistreatment and set boundaries for respectful interactions. The rest of the world doesn’t realize you have this right, and they will act offended and appalled when you exercise it, but it is yours."