“Shakespeare’s name, you may depend on it, stands absurdly too high and will go down. He had no invention as to stories, none whatever. He took all his plots from old novels, and threw their stories into a dramatic shape, at as little expense of thought as you or I could turn his plays back again into prose tales. That he threw over whatever he did write some flashes of genius, nobody can deny: but this was all. Suppose any one to have the dramatic handling for the first time of such ready – made stories as Lear, Macbeth, &c. and he would be a sad fellow, indeed, if he did not make something very grand of them. [As] for his historical plays, properly historical, I mean, they were mere redressings of former plays on the same subjects, and in twenty cases out of twenty-one, the finest, the very finest things, are taken all but verbatim out of the old affairs. You think, no doubt, that A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse! is Shakespeare’s. Not a syllable of it. You will find it all in the old nameless dramatist. Could not one takeup Tom Jones and improve it, without being a greater genius than Fielding? I, for my part, think Shakespeare’s plays might be improved, and the public seem, and have seemed for to think so too, for not one of his is or ever has been acted as he wrote it; and what the pit applauded three hundred years past, is five times out of ten not Shakespeare’s, but Cibber’s.”
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.)”