The Divine Feminine: Mac Miller
The recent passing of Mac Miller devastated many, leaving his music as an eternal reminder of the artist's talents. Today, January 19th, marks his 27th birthday. As a creative, Miller has crafted his albums under different surnames and personas, showcasing the various sides of the artist. One album, The Divine Feminine, particularly stands out and exemplifies a more vulnerable side to Miller. The smooth tones of the album coupled with his personal lyrics centered around his feminine muse shine light on the power of this feminine source as well as the femininity within himself. Miller steps away from customary masculine portrayals and showcases that femininity transcends sex as music celebrates the spectrum of gender. The Divine Feminine was a deliberate attempt by Miller to undermine the industry’s gender norms and seeks to normalize and celebrate expressions of femininity. Miller’s effort within the male dominated rap industry is greatly recognized, setting his work apart from his male predecessors. In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne asks Miller the meaning of his album as he poses the question, “The Divine Feminine? What does that mean, the woman is God?” Hearing this statement, my mind immediately flashed forward to Ariana Grande’s current wildly successful song “God is a Woman”, released three years after The Divine Feminine. Grande, a longtime girlfriend of Miller, released the track on her album Sweetener––an album centered around women empowerment and femininity––undeniably reminiscent of The Divine Feminine. Contemporarily, feminism is not determined by female superiority; rather, it preaches the equality of men and women, evident in Miller and Grande’s professional and personal relationships.
2018 proved a difficult year for Grande within her personal life. In response, she released work that demonstrated both her immense strength and vulnerability. The repeated hit songs and acclaimed music videos exemplifies that art may be free from the patriarchal bureaucracy of the music industry. Historically, women who have unabashedly owned their femininity have been enabled to succeed in male dominated fields. Showcasing femininity from the minds of women allows for an unsexualized rendition of female within art. Currently and historically, women are reclaiming their femininity through their own independent art. This form of femininity departs from the traditional male gaze, capitalizing off women’s bodies. This emphasis on the body of women belittles their talents and capabilities. In contrast with this conception, artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe portray femininity disguised within nature. The female anatomy is rendered in an organic manner, shifting from its traditional sexualization. In O’Keeffe’s work, women and their bodies are inherently tied to the mysticism and divinity of life as bearers and nurturers. Female expression is to be celebrated as within the works of Miller, Grande, and O’Keeffe, who share a profound and divine appreciation for the femininity in all of us.
Written in collaboration with Apolline Arnaud