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Kanye West and his sexy, dead bitches in “Monster” video

Date: January 5, 2011 | Posted By:
Kanye crosses the line in his "Monster" video.

Kanye crosses the line in his "Monster" video.

So first of all, Kanye West, I want to tell you that I have spent so many hours defending your terrible behavior and your douchebag antics because your music is fantastic and creative and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy totally deserved the 10.0 it got from Pitchfork.

But after seeing your video for Monster, I am completely, totally, 150% done defending you.

Everyone else: not seen it yet? It hasn’t officially dropped. But it leaked to YouTube and the Internet is forever, so I, and probably hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of others, have now borne witness to this groundbreaking piece of music cinema.

If you haven’t seen it, check out this preview that dropped a while back and do a quick YouTube search for the full version. It’s rough and unfinished and will probably be pulled soon, but the official will be out soon enough.

Here’s a breakdown: the video opens by slowly panning down a dead, hanged body of a woman decked in lingerie and heels while Bon Iver warbles on in the background.

SEXY, YEAH?

It pans down and there’s Rick Ross sitting in a chair, smoking a cigar menacingly, surrounded by these hanging corpses.

EVEN SEXIER, RIGHT?

It goes on to show Kanye sitting in a bed with two young women who are either dead or extremely drugged. Neither is moving but one appears to be breathing, and Kanye picks up their arms and hands and makes them touch themselves and each other.

Let’s just be absolutely clear about what’s going on here: Kanye West is sexually assaulting two drugged women, or sexually violating two corpses.

And then there’s another dead woman lying bloody on a dining room table, and Rick Ross has a chainsaw in his hand and closes the door with the implication that he’s about to chainsaw the hell out of that sexy corpse.

Is this just like, the hottest thing you’ve ever seen or what?

I can envision the first producer’s meeting for this video: Kanye sitting at the head of a big conference table saying, “Nah, man, it’s gonna be hot! Dead bitches everywhere! Sexy dead bitches!”

Everyone else at the meeting surely must have said, “Well I certainly like my bitches sexy and dead,” and BOOM: the Monster video was born.

And somehow, not a single person has gone, “Hey, Kanye, have you ever considered that maybe this video is making violence against women seem appealing and is conflating sex and violence in a way that suggests that the sexiest woman is the DEADEST woman? No? OK, well then carry on.”

There are two places in the video where this “sexy” violence seems to fall apart. The first is Jay-Z’s verse which sees him looking quite the boss in a black suit and black sunglasses, rapping into the camera, while on the couch behind him lays a dead, barely clothed young woman.

He doesn’t interact with her at all. He doesn’t even look at her until the end of the verse. It’s like she’s not even there, except she definitely is, because the camera is panning slowly up and down her body and once in a while zooms in on her various dead body parts—shoes in high heels, mouth open in a pucker.

It’s like Jay is doing everything he can to not be involved in this and the video is like, “BUT WAIT! DEAD WOMEN! SEXY, RIGHT?!”

The whole scene just screams how unnecessary imagery like this is, because Monster is an amazing song and it stands on its own without needing to kill a bunch of women in the process, and Jay seems like maybe the only person in this entire production who’s aware of that.

Nicki Minaj gets in on the violence in Kanye's "Monster" video.

Nicki Minaj gets in on the violence in Kanye's "Monster" video.

And then. THEN. Nicki Minaj!

I love Nicki Minaj and think she’s doing really interesting things with sexuality, gender, and performativity, and it’s disappointing to see her participating in such a terrible production as this, although her performance is the most ambiguous.

Her verse finds her in a dungeon dancing around a girl tied to a chair wearing a frilly white dress and a bag over her head. Nicki threatens her a little with a whip and grinds on her lap and then takes off the hood to reveal — Nicki Minaj in a pink wig.

Nicki’s whole verse is her threatening and grinding on herself in an implicitly violent way, suggesting some kind of inner violence or turmoil or maybe just that we are all our own worst enemy.

I’m tempted to read the video generously and say that it’s pointing to an industry and a culture that pits women against themselves and makes (emotional and physical) violence against the self necessary for success.

But when the next verse shows Kanye leaning against the wall holding a woman’s severed head, well, let’s just say I’m not particularly interested in giving anyone involved in this video the benefit of the doubt.

Nicki is not her own worst enemy; the house full of dudes playing around with dead female bodies is.

This video feels like a slap in the face. It’s a reminder that women are ultimately seen as expendable, decorative objects and really what’s the big deal in killing us as long as we’re sexy when we die? And if we do it to ourselves, well that’s just like, doubly hot, right?

So, bye Kanye. It’s been real, but I can’t do this anymore. You will definitely not be seeing my hands at any of your concerts.

And Nicki, Jay, Rick, Bon Iver? You are on the thinnest of ice.
– Melissa




What Do You Think?

16 Responses to Kanye West and his sexy, dead bitches in “Monster” video

  1. PM on 01-05-2011

    I love your blog posts! You write so engagingly and eloquently on a very important subject, without ever sounding preachy. Keep up the good work :)
  2. Melanie on 01-05-2011

    Awesome post! I completely agree!
  3. Kellisa on 01-05-2011

    I found your post of the FeministFatale facebook page, and I'm SO GLAD I did! You are so spot on regarding this video! Brilliant post.
  4. Gwen on 01-05-2011

    As soon as I saw this video the other day I KNEW you guys would have a blog post about it shortly. Awesome work, I couldn't agree more. It's upsetting that Kanye had to ruin such an amazing song with this.
  5. Tweets that mention A B O U T – F A C E — blog » Kanye West and his sexy, dead bitches in “Monster” video -- Topsy.com on 01-05-2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CathElliott, Caroline Darya. Caroline Darya said: Currently reading: "@KanyeWest and His Sexy, Dead Bitches in 'Monster'" from @pluralisms http://bit.ly/hxDqjN [...]
  6. lucia on 01-05-2011

    vigilantcitizen.com or henrymakow.com brilliant studies and research into the subliminal and occultic meaning of music and movies..... Kanye serves the illuminati. Its the same ol' same ol'...sell your soul for rock and roll or to just to rise to the top with fame, no matter how it is acheived!

    Satan is the prince of the world..choose this day who you will serve!
    Do your research... : )
  7. Ginnie on 01-05-2011

    As the mother of a young daughter, this kind of thing makes me feel physically sick.

    Dear Kanye,

    You don't deserve the company of ANY woman. May you suddenly find every single door slamming shut in your sick, misogynist face. "But it's art?" I am an artist and musician, Kanye. This is NOT art. Go fuck yourself.
  8. Denise on 01-05-2011

    Thank you for writing this. It makes me feel better that somebody took the time to publicly reject this video.
  9. jock horror aero grow – Grow Herbs Indoors on 01-06-2011

    [...] A B O U T – F A C E — blog » Kanye West and his sexy, dead bitches in “Monst... Tags: horror, Herbs, Indoors, Grow, jock, Aero Tags: Aero, Grow, Herbs, horror, Indoors, jock Posted in Aero Garden [...]
  10. Jackie on 01-06-2011

    I just saw the video, and what a massive fail it is! It not only is degrading by showing dead women as if they're decoration pieces, it also plays into the myth of women being evil and animalistic. The theme of the video seems to be Kanye act like "Poor me, look at all these crazy b***hes coming after me!" While he's playing with dead women.

    While Nicki shows objectifying yourself dies hard, by portraying a animalistic woman attacking herself in a white dress. I'm sure she must think this is some seriously clever commentary about being a woman or something, but it's just fail.

    This video in my opinion as someone being of the Goth scene, makes Marilyn Manson look tame. This is just pointless misogynistic garbage, I hope MTV bans it.
  11. Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth on 01-06-2011

    Tell it, Melissa! Now give me your two cents from a youth perspective on this Vogue absurdity, 'k? Thx, Amy
    p.s. Did you ever finish Robyn's GGDGF book from the Spark Summit? Still want you to do a guest post for me! :-)
  12. Stephanie on 01-07-2011

    Kanye always bothered me, and I never thought his music was good enough to excuse his behavior. But this is disgusting, and it thoroughly confirms my opinion of him. The president was right; he's a jackass.
  13. Austin Criminal Lawyers on 01-08-2011

    You got a really useful blog I have been here reading for about an hour. I am a newbie and your success is very much an inspiration for me.
  14. Schmüdde on 01-11-2011

    The only thing that makes this worse than popular horror exploitation films is Kayne's dull monotone self-aggrandizing. It is a shame that cartoonish sexuality and violence is packaged as consumable popular culture.

    Our gender roles and how they impact our sexual experiences are worth exploring, but not in popular exploitation.

    Schmüdde
    www.schmudde.net
    www.earthcirclefilms.com
  15. Sharon Haywood on 01-15-2011

    Thank you so much for blogging about this. It is beyond horrific and that's why Adios Barbie, Melinda Tankard Reist, Collective Shout, and Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia have started a petition against the promotion of this video.

    We'd love to have your support in spreading the word:

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/prevent-official-release-of-kanye-wests-women-hating-monster-video/#

    Thanks again!
  16. Lauren on 02-06-2011

    Absolutely LOVE your post on his video.
    It couldn't be more true, and you're witty and quick remarks makes a serious situation easily understandable to masses. Great job
    :)