WAP: Women Admiring Their Sexual Power
WAP by Cardi B featuring Meg Thee Stallion, one of the VMA nominees for ‘Song of the Summer’, has stirred controversy over the sexually explicit song lyrics and music video. It seems to have upset people even though male artists have been singing/rapping in a similar manner for ages, often reinforcing stereotypes, specifically the archetype of Black women as the “Black Jezebel.” The Black Jezebel is a racist caricature that dates back to slavery and depicts Black women as sex-hungry predators.
Hip-hop artists, particularly male artists, in songs and music videos describe women as sexual objects, “bitches,” and detail sexual actions being done to women - often non-consensually. Yet people take issue when two Black female artists create media to reclaim their own bodies and sexuality and push back against others sexualizing them in a degrading manner. While there are some women who dislike the song for its 'vulgarity', the majority of people who have an issue with it - you guessed it - are men. A bit hypocritical when male rappers gain fame and accolades from lyrics and images that describe women in a derogatory manner.
In an interview with Far Out Magazine, rapper/singer-songwriter CeeLo Green shared his views about how music from newer, young female artists like that of Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, and Meg Thee Stallion is distasteful. In the interview, Green says, “Attention is also a drug and competition is around...Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they are all more or less doing similar salacious gesturing to kinda get into position.” He goes on to say that women in their positions should be more mindful of what they are saying and embodying as role models.
Women talking about their sexual pleasure and sexuality is clearly still taboo, as demonstrated by the backlash over WAP. Both artists took to social media to point out the hypocrisy. For example, Meg Thee Stallion tweeted, “@theestallion: Lol dude will scream ‘slob on my knob’ word for word and crying abt WAP [laughing face emoji] bye lil boy.” In the tweet, Meg references a popular 1999 song by Three 6 Mafia, which vividly describes a woman giving oral sex. Some of the lyrics include, “Check in with me, and do your job/ Lay on the bed, and give me head.” It is an alarmingly misogynistic song and one of many released over the course of decades; some are still on the Billboard’s Top Hits chart. WAP has rightfully caused a disturbance in the status quo. Let’s continue the conversation about the hypocrisy and double standards female artists face in society and under the patriarchy.
Author/Written by: Valerie Pereyra